Your twin accusations that I accused the advocacy group KAIROS of anti-Semitism and that this is why the Canada International Development Agency did not approve a cost-sharing program with the group are false.
I did not accuse KAIROS of being anti-Semitic. What I said was that KAIROS has taken “a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (against Israel).” In fact, Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno’s own research led her to the same conclusion. She wrote that KAIROS has taken “a leading role in divestment, sanctions and targeted boycotts of Israel,” and said those who deny that are “disingenuous and dissembling.”
While I disagree with the nature of KAIROS’s militant stance toward the Jewish homeland, that is not the reason their request for taxpayer funding was denied. International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda – not me – is responsible for the Canada International Development Agency. And she has been clear that a cost-sharing program with KAIROS was not approved because it did not meet CIDA’s current priorities, such as increased food aid.
Our government continues to support the many worthwhile charitable endeavours undertaken by churches and other organizations that are members of KAIROS, particularly those that make a real difference in the lives of those living in poverty in developing countries.
So what did Jason Kenney actually say at the Global Forum for Combating Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem?
From BigCityLib Strikes Back:
What Prime Minister Harper witnessed in Mumbai, what happened at the same time in Calgary, were practical expressions of the new anti-Semitism. Even though Canada is celebrated around the world as being a successful model of mutual coexistence and tolerance, we too have seen a troubling increase in incidents of anti-Semitism. B’Nai Brith Canada publishes the authoritative registry of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada. In 2008, they received reports of 1,135 incidents of anti-Semitic instances, the highest number recorded in 28 years of the study, an increase of 8.9% over 2007.
So how have we addressed these growing incidents of anti-Semitism? Well first of all, on the domestic level, our government has worked with the Jewish community to begin a program of recognizing our own history of official anti-Semitism.
We have articulated and implemented a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism. What does this mean? It means that we eliminated the government funding relationship with organizations like for example, the Canadian Arab Federation, whose leadership apologized for terrorism or extremism, or who promote hatred, in particular anti-Semitism.
We have ended government contact with like-minded organizations like the Canadian Islamic Congress, whose President notoriously said that all Israelis over the age of 18 are legitimate targets for assassination. We have defunded organizations, most recently like KAIROS, who are taking a leadership role in the boycott. And we’re receiving a lot of criticism for these decisions. I can’t recall how many times I’ve been sued for some of the decisions that we have taken, but we believe that we’ve done these things for the right reasons and we stand by these decisions.
The full text of the speech can be found at MP Rick Rick Dykstra’s site.
The funding would have been 40% of a four year project which effects KAIROS work in six countries. The objection is more about politicalizing aid work and not honouring government legislation. You may chose to interpret Kenney’s remarks any way you want. Bev Oda’s decision flies in the face of Bill C-393. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada:
If you wanted to tick off the Roman Catholic Church, the mainline Protestant denominations and Evangelicals while undoing a longstanding relationship that has fostered improved human rights and strengthened sustainable development opportunities around the world, what single step could you take as the Government of Canada? Until Monday of this week, that was a question that hadn’t occurred to anyone. But on Monday, Bev Oda, Minister for International Cooperation, delivered the answer by ending a 35 year relationship with KAIROS with a phone call.
The core groups of KAIROS are:
KAIROS Member Churches are:
The Anglican Church of Canada
The Christian Reformed Church in North America
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
The United Church of Canada
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Canadian Religious Conference
The Mennonite Central Committee of Canada
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)
I have never seen Canadian protestant denominations, other faith groups, partners and citizens join together to take such a strong stand against this pathetic behavior by the Canadian Government and it’s ministers.