Friday, December 25, 2009

Canada's Likud Government

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.

-- Conservative Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Dec. 16, 2009, text from the Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee

And so it continues . . . Not content with its boycott of the Canadian Arab Federation for its criticism of the government's policies (a move that mainly hurt people looking for ESL training), or its banning of British anti-Occupation firebrand George Galloway from entering the country, Harper's government is at it again. As usual his henchman Jason Kenney is at the forefront, this time crowing to an overwhelmingly Jewish, 100% Zionist audience at having once again moved to stifle criticism of Israel using the oldest trick in the book - scream anti-Semitism.

Even one blogger for the National Post, that insolvent anti-Canadian CanWest rag, sees some inconsistencies in the Kenney's position, as the Honourable Minister attempted to straighten out his story in the Toronto Star:
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)." 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.
He didn't accuse them of anti-Semitism, he just mentioned them in the same breath as other organizations whom he had accused of the same thing.

I don't see anything wrong with an international boycott of Israeli goods - that was what ended the apartheid in South Africa, and Israel is no less dependent on international trade. Is, however, KAIROS even advocating that? A 2002 document released by the group answers the question explicitly:
The final step of the Board-mandated process is this paper, which sets out a range of options to enable the members of KAIROS to contribute, each out of their own faith tradition, to their common quest for a just peace in Israel and Palestine. The paper also contains recommendations for KAIROS actions that would support member initiatives. Finally, section 6 of the paper also makes clear that KAIROS is not advocating sanctions against Israel nor a boycott of products from Israel.
(emphasis from KAIROS)
A further reading of the document shows that KAIROS supports "Morally Responsible Investment" and not the more forthright "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions" campaign. Their "economic advocacy" is ill-defined, but examples provided include moves from other Church groups to divest from companies providing equipment for the construction of infrastruction used by the Occupation, such as the Wall, and requiring the labelling of products made in Jewish colonies in the West Bank.

None of this, however, actually matters to Jason Kenney, or to Stephen Harper. What matters to them is that God gave the Holy Land to the Jewish people in the Bible, and the nasty infidel Muslim Arabs (and in the minds of Mssrs Harper and Kenney, there is no other kind) are standing in the way.

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