House Republicans call on White House to revoke non-profit status of Palestine Chronicle

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House Republicans are calling on the Biden administration to revoke the tax exempt status of the non-profit media organization that employed a Palestinian journalist who held three Israeli hostages captive in Gaza on behalf of Hamas.

Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sent a letter to Daniel Werfel, the Internal Revenue Service commissioner, on Monday urging him to rescind the 501(c)3 non-profit status of the People Media Project. The non-profit is also known as The Palestine Chronicle, a news outlet that employed Abdallah Aljamal, who the Israeli Defense Forces accused of harboring Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv following their rescue this weekend.

“The facts suggest that the People Media Project is not being operated exclusively for its charitable purpose, as required under section 501(c)(3) of the IRC and is instead circumventing its tax-exempt charitable purpose by supporting the terrorist organization, Hamas,” Smith wrote.

Smith referenced “reports from a hostage rescue mission carried out over the weekend by Israeli Defense Forces,” which he said “show that the People Media Project is not being operated exclusively for its charitable, tax-exempt purpose. The information obtained during the hostage rescue mission is shocking.”

Smith was joined by a number of his GOP colleagues in calling on the Biden administration and Congress to take action.

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) wrote on X that Aljamal “was holding three Israeli citizens hostage in his home while he and his outlet were writing articles slamming Israel. No US organizations should have tax exempt status while simultaneously having terrorists on payroll.”

“The Biden Admin must investigate this immediately and revoke the Chronicles 501(c)(3) status,” he added.

Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN) reacted to the news by urging the Senate to take up his bipartisan legislation, which passed the House in April by a 382-11 vote, to strip tax exempt status from any group providing “material support or resources” to Hamas or other designated terrorist groups.

“Three of the Israeli hostages freed over the weekend were held by a contributor to The Palestine Chronicle, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the U.S.,” Kustoff wrote on X. “Under no circumstances should an organization supporting Hamas have tax-exempt status. My bill, H.R. 6408, which already passed in the House, would revoke their tax-exempt status.”

“Now more than ever, it is imperative we make this bill law,” he added of the legislation, cosponsored by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), which would not apply to organizations expressing rhetorical support for Hamas.

Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced companion legislation in the upper chamber in April, though it remains unclear if or when it will receive a vote.

It is also unclear how The Palestine Chronicle would be impacted by the bill becoming law. Aljamal, his father and wife were killed during the IDF operation, in which an Israeli officer, Arnon Zamora, was also injured. Zamora later died from his wounds.

The Washington Free Beacon reported on Monday that the organization had links to a foreign network of anti-Israel and pro-terrorism outlets. The outlet alleges that “at least six of the outlets published writers have also appeared on Iranian state-controlled propaganda sites that the U.S. government seized in 2020 for being part of an influence operation run by Tehrans Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC).”

Jewish Insider’s Executive Editor Melissa Weiss contributed to this report.