Summary: NGO Monitor's report, "Assessing Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Funding for Political NGOs", triggered significant discussion in Canada.

A November 7 article entitled "Canada's Unholy Alliance" in the conservative online Front Page Magazine called attention to CIDA funding for KAIROS, a pro-Palestinian Christian group promoting divestment: "This is the shame of the Government of Canada; extending financial support for an anti-Semitic, anti-Israel cabal which flies in the face of Canadian foreign policy."

An October 27 op-ed entitled "Taxpayer-funded church coalition calling for divestment of Israel", in the Canada Free Press quotes Dr. Charles McVety, President of Canada Christian College: "'It is outrageous that the Liberal government would support a group that would call for divesting from Israel with $2.9 million of Canadian taxpayers' money and side with the Palestinians.'"

MP Stockwell Day, Foreign Affairs Critic for the opposition Conservative party in the Canadian federal parliament, called on the government re-examine where CIDA funding is being directed. "It is inappropriate for taxpayer dollars that are supposed to be used for humanitarian aid to be directed at campaigns attacking Israel."

All three focused on CIDA funding for the divestment campaign involving KAIROS, the Mennonite Central Committee, and (via MCC) for Sabeel, which held a three-day conference promoting divestment in Toronto from October 26-29. Speakers included Sabeel founding director Naim Ateek and ICAHD director Jeff Halper. "Eleonora Karabatic, a spokesperson for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), said no tax dollars were spent on the Sabeel conference. … She said KAIROS, a coalition of church groups committed to social justice issues, receives funds from CIDA but that strict rules prohibit spending for partisan or political purposes. … She said the federal agency funds KAIROS 'but for other programs.'" NGO Monitor notes that the question was not whether CIDA funded this conference directly, but rather whether CIDA was providing support for NGOs that promote the divestment campaign.

 

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