Ex-Nazi hunter goes after Whitney Museum over protests against tear gas supplier

Neal Sher asks IRS to strip museum of tax-exempt status over ‘smear campaign’ against board member who supplies crowd-dispersal method used by IDF and on migrants at US border

Cnaan Liphshiz is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

The Whitney Museum in New York, Nov. 18, 2019. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)
The Whitney Museum in New York, Nov. 18, 2019. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

JTA — A former Nazi hunter has asked the Internal Revenue Service to strip the Whitney Museum of American Art of its tax-exempt status over its handling of protests connected to Israel.

Neal Sher, who had headed the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations in the 1980s and ’90s, requested the change in a letter he sent the IRS earlier this month about the New York museum’s response to pressure that eventually forced the resignation of its former board member, a producer of tear gas who sells to Israel’s Defense Ministry, among other clients.

In the letter, Sher argued that the museum had “orchestrated and acquiesced in a concerted smear campaign against Warren Kanders,” the law enforcement supplier’s owner, who is Jewish.

Activists for months have protested Kanders’ involvement in the museum, citing how his products have been used to disperse migrants attempting to cross the US-Mexican border and by Israel in the Palestinian territories, the Financial Times reported Monday. Kanders resigned last year over the protests.

Illustrative — Tear gas is fired at Palestinians taking part in clashes and burning tires along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, east of Gaza City, on June 22, 2018. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

Spokesmen for the Whitney and Kanders declined to comment when approached by the Financial Times for a reaction.

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