Why the Tories defunded Kairos....
One of the best decisions of the Harper government...and Rosie Dimanno of the Toronto Star explains why....
It is rather presumptuous for a non-Jew to define anti-Semitism. That's not something a Gentile can feel in the bones, especially in its nuanced rather than overt form.There's more....
Stating the parameters of anti-Semitism – for many that means making a contorted distinction between Jews and the Jewish state of Israel – is akin to whites telling blacks what constitutes racial bigotry. There's an inherent condescension.
Let's try to be fair on one point. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney didn't explicitly accuse KAIROS – the Toronto-based ecumenical activist group – of being anti-Semitic in remarks last week at the Jerusalem-hosted Global Forum for combatting anti-Semitism.
What he said was: "We have defunded organizations, most recently, like KAIROS, who are taking a leadership role in the boycott, divestment and sanctions against (Israel)."
KAIROS, stunned to learn it will be losing $7 million for projects slotted over the next few years, immediately shot back, claiming Kenney had been misinformed about the organization's positions and fretting over the politicization of the aid process by the Conservative government.
Executive director Mary Corkery argues that criticizing the actions of Israel's government is not anti-Semitic, which may or may not be true. Certainly it's a convenient polemic for anti-Semites to hide behind, a means for burying the flagrant Jew-hating beneath less toxic rhetoric, although the truth often outs itself, as occurred at Durban I and Durban II.
KAIROS is an umbrella outfit that includes 11 mainstream religious denominations in Canada. It has for decades been active in promoting "liberation theology," sponsoring and facilitating social, economic and ecological justice around the world, including the Middle East.
Corkery and other KAIROS officials outright deny that the agency favours a boycott of Israel or advocates divesting funds from Israeli corporations.
This is, at the very least, disingenuous and dissembling. While KAIROS has a more narrowly focused activist agenda, it has launched highly partisan attacks on the government in the past. The Tories, with their long memory and punitive trigger finger, are now pushing back.
KAIROS slammed Canada for putting radically Islamist Hamas and Hezbollah on this country's terrorist group list, lamenting that Canada was the first country to cut off aid when Hamas won the Palestinian elections. Of course, before that election, KAIROS claimed the majority of Palestinians didn't support Hamas, a ballot-disproven contention that was later recast to fit the Hamas sweep.
As Corkery co-wrote in a 2006 letter to the editor published in the Globe and Mail: "People living in Gaza and the West Bank voted ... not to destroy Israel, nor do they want this. Palestinians voted against corruption and impoverishment and for local candidates who offered honesty, jobs and social services."
As recent history has shown, both Palestinian voters and KAIROS got that benign, proactive, humanitarian assessment of Hamas wrong.
KAIROS is intimately aligned with other groups, internationally, that have aggressively called for economic and academic boycotts against Israel. The most notable of these is the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Center of Jerusalem, a Palestinian Christian organization dismissed by its critics as a "fraudulent peace group" with a "racist road show."
Indeed, in 2005 KAIROS was among the co-sponsors that hosted a controversial Sabeel conference in Toronto on "Morally Responsible Investment" (MRI), which is another way of saying disinvestment, which is another way of saying targeted boycott.