Israel Dismisses FATCA Case

AGGGH!

The Israeli Supreme Court dismissed the case against FATCA.

It seems the Supreme Court of Israel thinks privacy is dead in today’s world:

“What can be done? In the modern world the right to privacy is very limited,” Supreme Court Justice Mazuz said. “The alternative to privacy is criminal acts of every kind. This is nothing new, except for the fact that it is regulated now under law and other mechanisms. It’s like the infringement on the right to freedom of occupation. There is always a need for licensing, regulation, and supervision. There are many infringements on freedom of occupation, right to property and privacy, because without it modern society cannot function.”

Scary stuff. Sounds like Justice Mazuz is an ally of the likes of Carl Levin and Gerald Keddy.

By Israel Court approving law targeting “Americans living in Israel,” the Israeli Supreme Court also seems to think U.S. law dictates constitutions of the world:

Justice Hanan Meltzer in part justified the law by noting its acceptance by the United States, saying this created a presumption of constitutionality.

“As long as the US law is in force, there is a presumption of constitutionality in regards to its purposes.”

In other words, U.S, “Congress has spoken” for Israel.

Proposal to Repeal FATCA in U.S. Congress

Republican U.S. Congressman Mark Meadows is proposing to repeal “the heart of FATCA” according to Bloomberg.

In the article FATCA Reporting Under Assault in U.S. House Legislation, Bloomberg says:

The law “goes well beyond what is appropriate” and violates U.S. citizens’ constitutional right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment, Meadows said in a news release Sept. 7. FATCA also creates “unnecessary burdens,” he said.

The actual bill begins:

“To repeal the violation of sovereign nations’ laws and privacy matters”

The rest is legalese. Any legal minds out there who can decipher this for us?

I’m not certain from reading this article if the bill has actually be introduced in Congress or if it is just proposed. I suspect this will never be passed.

But someone is listening. I would love to have a new version of “Congress has spoken.”

FATCA Injunction in Israel

Yesterday, a court in Israel did what Justice Martineau in Canada failed to do last year.

The Israeli High Court of Justice Bars Preparations to Share Tax Data with U.S.

The article in Haaretz says

The High Court of Justice on Wednesday threw a wrench into the government’s plans for sharing information with the United States about taxpayers after Justice Hanan Meltzer ordered officials to suspend preparatory work.

A day before it was due to go into operation, Meltzer told the state to suspend work in the mechanism it had developed for sharing information on the accounts of U.S. citizens with banks or other financial accounts in Israel.

Finally, someone somewhere had the courage to stand up to the bullies. This is only a temporary injunction until a full hearing no later than September 15. But, it’s a start.

The arguments against FATCA in Israel sound similar to those in Canada.

The plaintiffs told the court that the law violates Israel’s Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty, asserting that it contradicts rights to privacy, property and equal treatment. Nor does the law have a compelling public purpose, they said.

It also sounds like the Israeli government’s defense was similar t what the Government of Canada is likely to claim:

In response, the state argued that Israel’s failure to comply with FATCA by the deadline could create severe problems for Israeli banks and others.

One of the lawyers in this case is Mark Zell–who is a co-plaintiff in the U.S. FATCA lawsuit. Many thanks to Mr. Zell and others for their efforts. I hope they succeed in getting a permanent order against the transfer of information.