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Under the guise of “human rights”, Canadian taxpayers are funding anti-Israel NGOs

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Canada funded the first Durban hatefest, and continues to fund antisemitic and anti-Israel propagandists (Photo: UN/Ron Silva)

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Twenty years ago, in September 2001, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights held a week-long event under the grandiose name of the World Conference on the Elimination of Racism, in Durban, South Africa. Officially, its purpose was to mark the end of the apartheid regime, but in reality, it became a platform for a virulent display of anti-Israel hate and antisemitism. The campaigns launched at Durban continue to exact major costs today.

The government of Canada at the time shared responsibility for this travesty, following the lead of the European Union and other countries with lofty objectives. Canadian funds were central in bringing 5000 delegates from 1500 groups to the NGO Forum, which launched the soft-war strategy to demonize Israel.

Reviving the language of the notorious 1975 UN resolution that labeled Zionism as racism, the Forum’s final declaration (drafted by a UN preparatory conference held in Teheran), condemned “Israeli systematic perpetration of racist crimes, including war crimes, acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing.” They called for the “complete international isolation of Israel as an apartheid state.”

This strategy is manifested through the BDS movement and in lawfare campaigns which continue to demonize Israel and promote antisemitism.

Repeating Durban’s false accusations of “war crimes” and apartheid at every opportunity, and often echoed without fact checking by journalists, activists on university campuses promote boycott resolutions that contribute to the atmosphere of hate reported by many Jewish students.

In some cases, the propaganda is translated into physical violence against Jewish institutions, such as the vandalism at the Shaar Hashomayim synagogue in Montreal.

In parallel, the recent announcement by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that she was opening investigations against Israel for alleged war crimes is another direct consequence of Durban.

The same powerful non-governmental organisations from the NGO Forum, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, joined by tens of Palestinian groups, many of which are linked to recognized terrorist groups such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, continue to lead these “soft power” attacks.

To its credit, in 2009, when the UN held a follow-up mini-conference (Durban 2) in Geneva, the Canadian government, under the leadership of Stephen Harper, was among the first to announce it would not participate. Learning the lessons from 2001, government-funded NGOs were prohibited from supporting this event. When Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressed the event, a number of participants walked-out in protest.

However, the anti-Israel Durban strategy continues, and in recent years, the Canadian government has again followed European countries in funding the anti-Israel NGOs that participate in this process under the façade of promoting human rights and international law.

In 2018, Global Affairs Canada approved a five-year $4.8 million grant to United Church of Canada: Kairos Initiatives for a project on “Women of Courage – Women, Peace and Security”. Twenty percent (almost $1 million) is earmarked for the “Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution and Transformation Center”.

This group supports BDS and antisemitic demonization – for example: “The Palestinian people are dying on the Cross…Palestinians are taken from the Cross-to hide the Israeli Crimes. In an attempt to silence our voice, the Israeli occupation imposes sanction and siege on our people…”

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In addition, millions in Canadian funds are transferred to the UN every year, and significant parts of this money is used for anti-Israel propaganda, including by UNRWA, UNICEF-Palestinian and UN-Women.

In replying to questions about these issues, officials from Global Affairs Canada reveal their lack of information and due diligence in distributing taxpayer funds.

Canada also continues to support the International Criminal Court, despite a formal position rejecting the prosecutor’s abuse of her role to single out Israel.

In these and other policies, it would appear that the lessons from the damage from Canada’s role in funding the original UN-sponsored Durban disaster have been forgotten.

The months leading up to the twentieth anniversary, which the UN Human Rights Council is planning to mark with yet another event, provide an opportunity for Ottawa to reassess the consequences of automatic support for organisations that use the façade of morality to promote hate.

Gerald M. Steinberg is a professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University and president of the Institute for NGO Research.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

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