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Alternatives (Canada)

Profile

Country/TerritoryCanada
Websitewww.alternatives.ca
Founded1994
In their own words“to create a world where international solidarity, environmental rights, democratic rights and human dignity are universally respected.”

Funding

  • 2015 reported revenue of $1.6 million (CAD, ~USD1.2 million); expenses of $1.7 million (CAD). According to its 2015 annual report, 40% of Alternatives’ revenue came from “European governments” and 24% from the Province of Quebec. Details on which European governments have donated to the organization are not provided.
  • Funding from the Canadian government ended in 2014. Previous grants were provided by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA): $2 million (CAD) in 2008-10, and $2.4 million (CAD) in 2007.
  • According to a report in the National Post in December 2009, CIDA rejected grant renewal applications and was “set to slash millions of dollars in funding to Alternatives.”

Activities

  • Alternatives Canada was founded in Montreal in 1994, and calls itself an “international solidarity organization.” Its stated aim is to “help the networking, building, and promoting of innovative initiatives in popular and social movements that are fighting for economic, social, political, cultural and environmental rights.”
  • Engages in highly politicized activities both within Canada and internationally. Alternatives claims to promote projects “centered on . . . democracy . . . good governance . . . civil, political, economic, and human rights . . . [and] civil society development, management, and autonomy.”
  • In 2011, Alternatives partnered with Turtle Island Humanitarian Aid, a registered Canadian non-profit organization, to raise money for the Canadian Boat to Gaza campaign. Alternatives collected the funds for the flotilla and proceeded to “transfer the required amounts to Turtle Island Humanitarian Aid, which will purchase the vessel and register it under Canadian law.”
    • In 2016, Turtle Island stated that it was accepting donations for the Women’s Boat to Gaza, under the banner of the “Freedom Flotilla Coalition.” In a post to its Facebook page, Alternatives denied any involvement with this flotilla.
  • In 2013, Alternatives Canada hosted an event alongside BDS Québec and Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine titled “Israel Guilty of Apartheid,” featuring BDS activist Frank Barat.

One-sided Narrative of the Conflict

  • Alternatives Canada engages in political advocacy against Israel, through its use of demonizing language such as “apartheid” rhetoric, and promoting a Palestinian “right of return” and BDS.
  • Le Journal des Alternatives is “a monthly compendium of international, national, and cultural news” published by Alternatives Canada and distributed in Québec’s widely-read Le Devoir. Among other ideological causes, this publication consistently presents a highly distorted depiction of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The journal features numerous opinion pieces with anti-Israel themes and arguments. No articles representing a pro-Israel or Zionist perspective are presented. Some such articles accuse Israel of apartheid and “ethnic cleansing,” and justify BDS campaigns against Israel.

Promotion of Politicized NGOs

  • Alternatives Canada is part of Alternatives International, a network of NGOs “struggling against neoliberalism, imperialism, social injustice and war.”
  • Alternatives Canada and Alternatives International support and enhance the credibility of radical anti-Israel NGOs such as the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO) and Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) by posting on its website their statements and advertising their events.
  • On July 4, 2016, Alternatives International published an interview with Ali Abunimah in which he expressed support for BDS and alleged that the “situation in Palestine is the last anti-colonial struggle of the 20th century… continuing into the 21st century.”
    • Abunimah, a leading Palestinian propagandist who supports BDS and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” is the co-founder and executive director of Electronic Intifada, a major online media outlet active in promoting the Palestinian agenda with news articles and commentary.
  • On November 20, 2014, Alternatives Canada published an article by Jeff Halper, the founder and director of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), alleging that “Israelis and Palestinians liv[e] under separate legal systems, the latter do not have any legal protection… By disconnecting laws and justice, and by allowing the government to violate with impunity international law, the Israeli legal system has become an instrument of oppression.”
  • On January 18, 2007, Alternatives International published a statement by the Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO), which supported “…Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (or BDS) against Israel, similar to the international community’s measures against apartheid South Africa in the past.”

Partners

  • The Alternatives International network includes the Alternative Information Center (based in Israel). Alternatives Canada claims that the “Alternative Information Center (AIC)…focus[es its] efforts on the fight against corruption to better combat poverty and the lack of access to essential services such as health care and education.”
  • According to Alternatives Canada’s website, Alternatives Canada is a member of the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP), a network of radical organizations that promote boycotts, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. On the CJPP website, which is no longer active, the organization called for boycotts of “Israeli products, e.g. oranges, wines, etc” and “companies which support Israel.”
    • CJPP also regularly levies accusations of “apartheid” against Israel by publishing documents referring to the separation barrier as the “apartheid wall” and issuing statements comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa. According to a flyer on its website, CJPP organized a “Palestine Day Celebration,” marking “40 years of Israeli Apartheid.”
  • Allies” based in Israel and the Palestinian Authority include Addameer and the Teacher Creativity Center, the Palestinian member of the Alternatives International Federation.

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