FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Revoke Jewish National Fund of Canada’s Charitable Status

Imagine during Jim Crow a Canadian political party polled its members about pressing Ottawa to stop subsidizing US racism only to be smeared by an organization driving the discrimination. But, instead of relishing the attacks, party leaders sought to placate the racist group by inviting them to address their convention, which the said organization refused, claiming… discrimination.

This hard to fathom scenario mirrors the Jewish National Fund of Canada/Green Party scrimmage since members put forward a resolution calling for the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the JNF’s charitable status because it practices “institutional discrimination against non-Jewish citizens of Israel.” In the first round of a multipronged voting process, 62% of party members green lighted the JNF resolution, 24% yellow lighted it and 15% red lighted it. (A similar number green lighted a concurrent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution.)

So, in a last ditch bid to overturn these results and circumvent the party’s one member one vote structure, JNF President Josh Cooper penned a furious National Post op-ed last week. It began by stating, “among the various reasons I won’t be addressing the Green Party of Canada’s upcoming convention is the fact that I was invited by the party to do so on a Saturday — a surprising (and some would say insensitive) invitation for a Jewish organization.” It takes Chutzpah for the leader of an explicitly racist organization to claim an opportunity to defend his institution is discriminatory because the convention takes place on a weekend.

(I emailed and phoned Cooper to ask if he ever works between Friday and Saturday sundown. He failed to respond. A Green Party spokesperson said, “the GPC was first made aware of Mr. Cooper’s concerns regarding our Convention timing via his oped in the National Post. The Party subsequently reached out to Mr. Cooper and offered to discuss an alternative time in which he could attend; Mr. Cooper declined this invitation.”)

Unable to respond to charges it discriminates in land-use policies, Cooper all but accused the Greens of anti-Semitism. He claimed a Jewish Green official recently faced an “onslaught of hateful accusations”, cited a former Green candidate who denies the Nazi Holocaust and questioned whether the party is “inclusive”. Cooper also argued the JNF resolution would damage the Greens, “driving the party to the far margins of Canadian discourse” and turning it into “a marginal activist group”. “What’s ultimately at stake is the Green party’s future in Canadian politics”, warned Cooper. “Will the Greens reclaim their party from fringe anti-Israel ideologues and conspiracy theorists?”

But, Cooper’s “conspiracy theorists” include the US State Department, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Israeli Supreme Court and 70 British MPs. They are all on record regarding JNF, which controls 13% of Israel’s land and has significant influence over most of the rest, discrimination towards the 20% of Israelis who aren’t Jewish. (JNF racism is not the all too common ‘personal’ or even ‘structural’ variety, rather a legalistic discrimination largely outlawed in North America half a century ago. And today’s primary victims of JNF racism are not the Palestinian exiled, nor those locked up in Gaza or under military occupation in the West Bank, but the small number of ‘lucky’ Palestinians with Israeli citizenship.)

The strongest legal argument for rescinding JNF–Canada’s charitable status is its parent organization’s discriminatory land-use policies, which contravenes the Canadian Human Rights Act and a Canada Revenue Agency Policy Statement that calls racial equality an objective of charitable policy. But, the Green Party resolution also cites Canada Park, which JNF–Canada built on land Israel illegally occupied after the June 1967 War (three Palestinian villages were demolished to make way for the park). JNF Canada has also been directly complicit in at least two other important instances of Palestinian dispossession. In the late 1920s JNF Canada spearheaded a highly controversial land acquisition that drove a 1000 person Bedouin community from land it had tilled for centuries and in the 1980s JNF–Canada helped finance an Israeli government campaign to “Judaize” the Galilee, the largely Arab northern region of Israel.

Established internationally in 1901 and nine years later in Canada, the JNF was the principle tool of Zionist colonization before the creation of the state. In the early 1900s it bought land from absentee property owners and drove out the Palestinians tilling it. In 1940 the head of the JNF Settlement Department, Yossef Weitz, said, the only solution is to transfer the Arabs from here to neighbouring countries. Not a single village or a single tribe must be let off.” Much of the JNF’s land, on which most of Israel’s population now lives, was stolen from Palestinians during the 1947/48 war.

While Shabbat is the reason Cooper gives for bypassing the Green convention, the Jewish Defence League won’t be resting Friday to Saturday evening. Banned in the US and Israel for a series of killings, JDL – Canada announced on its website they would protest the convention because “the Green Party of Canada has been taken over by hard core Jew haters… The Jewish Defence League will always confront anti Jewish gangs whereever and whenever they appear.” In another post to fundraise for travel from Toronto to Ottawa, the group wrote, “JDL will not allow the Green Party of Canada to incite hatred.”

In the face of these wild attacks Elizabeth May and the Green leadership needs to stop equivocating on Palestinian rights. Past efforts to mollify the JNF, B’nai B’rith, JDL etc. have only emboldened these groups. It is time to show these bullies you won’t be intimidated by respecting the will of the membership and embracing the call for the Canada Revenue Agency to revoke the JNF’s charitable status.

More articles by:

Yves Engler’s latest book is ‪Canada in Africa: 300 years of Aid and Exploitation.

September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail