I. Funding Overview
KAIROS Initiatives is a “joint venture ecumenical program administered by the United Church of Canada” (UCC). In 2018, the Government of Canada began funding a global project by “United Church of Canada: KairosInitiatives,” under the heading “Women of Courage – Women, Peace and Security.” The project will run from March 2018 through March 2022, with the organization receiving $4,756,516 for work in South Sudan, the DRC, Colombia, the Philippines, and the West Bank and Gaza. Project funding for the West Bank and Gaza is 20% of the total grant (approximately $950,000).1
According to a KAIROS Canada press release, the program will “empower women to contribute to inclusive, equitable, and sustainable peace with justice in conflict zones where women are at particular risk.”
The long-standing and vigorous promotion of anti-Israel campaigns, including BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions), by UCC, KAIROS Canada, and Wi’am (their Palestinian NGO implementing partner) is clearly inconsistent with these objectives and Canadian policy.
II. BDS: Inconsistent with Canadian Policy
BDS, as articulated at the 2007 First Palestinian Conference for the Boycott of Israel, aims to “not only target Israel’s economy, but challenges Israel’s legitimacy, being a colonial and apartheid state, as part of the international community. Therefore, efforts are needed not only to promote wide consumer boycotts, but also boycotts in the fields of academia, culture and sports” (emphasis added).
BDS campaigns targeting Israel are considered antisemitic, according to the IHRA definition of antisemitism (officially recognized by Global Affairs Canada) as they attempt to deny “the Jewish people their right to self-determination” and apply “double standards.” Furthermore, BDS groups’ support of “anti-normalization” between Israelis and Palestinians is fundamentally inconsistent with promoting peaceful coexistence. As articulated by Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, BDS is “discrimination based on nationality, and it harms both Israelis and Palestinians alike by driving the two sides further apart.”
Prime Minister Trudeau has on a number of occasions expressed his personal opposition to BDS, in addition to clearly stating that BDS is contrary to Canadian government policy. PM Trudeau and the Liberal Party supported the 2016 Conservative motion formally denouncing BDS and calling on the Canadian government to “condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement, both here at home and abroad” (emphasis added). In a 2015 interview, PM Trudeau stated that “I’m opposed to the BDS movement. I think that it’s an example of the new form of anti-Semitism in the world, as Irwin Cotler points out, an example of the three ‘Ds’: demonization of Israel, delegitimization of Israel, and double standard applied toward Israel” (emphasis added). Speaking at the University of British Columbia in 2015, he furthered that “the BDS movement, like Israel apartheid week, has no place on Canadian campuses.” He reiterated this point on Twitter regarding BDS at McGill, where he included the hashtag “EnoughIsEnough.” During his St. Louis apology speech, PM Trudeau added that “Jewish students still feel unwelcomed and uncomfortable on some of our college and university campuses because of BDS related intimidations. And out of our entire community of nations it is Israel whose right to exist is most widely and wrongly questioned” (emphasis added). On January 15, 2019, speaking at Brock University, Trudeau stated that “You have movements like BDS that singles out Israel, that seeks to delegitimize and in some cases demonize. When you have students on campus dealing with things like Israel apartheid week that makes them fearful of attending campus events because of their religion in Canada. We have to recognize that there are things that are not acceptable not because of foreign policy concerns but because of Canadian values. It is not right to discriminate or make someone feel unsafe on campus because of their religion and unfortunately the BDS movement is often linked to those kinds of frames. So yes I will continue to condemn the BDS movement” (emphasis added).
III. Wi’am, UCC, and KAIROS Canada’s BDS Campaigns and Violations of IHRA Definition
- Wi’am, UCC, and KAIROS Canada support the 2009 Kairos Palestine Document, which repeatedly denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms; rationalizes and trivializes terrorism against Israelis; promotes BDS; and is considered by many to be antisemitic.2 Wi’am’s Women Coordinator Lucy Talgieh is one of the authors of the document. Select examples found in the text include:
- “We believe that the Word of God is a living Word, casting a particular light on each period of history, manifesting to Christian believers what God is saying to us here and now. For this reason, it is unacceptable to transform the Word of God into letters of stone that pervert the love of God and His providence in the life of both peoples and individuals. This is precisely the error in fundamentalist Biblical interpretation that brings us death and destruction when the word of God is petrified and transmitted from generation to generation as a dead letter. This dead letter is used as a weapon in our present history in order to deprive us of our rights in our own land” (2.2.2).3
- “Our presence in this land, as Christian and Muslim Palestinians, is not accidental but rather deeply rooted in the history and geography of this land, resonant with the connectedness of any other people to the land it lives in. It was an injustice when we were driven out. The West sought to make amends for what Jews had endured in the countries of Europe, but it made amends on our account and in our land. They tried to correct an injustice and the result was a new injustice” (2.3.2).
- “Some (Palestinian) political parties followed the way of armed resistance. Israel used this as a pretext to accuse the Palestinians of being terrorists and was able to distort the real nature of the conflict, presenting it as an Israeli war against terror, rather than an Israeli occupation faced by Palestinian legal resistance aiming at ending it” (1.5).
- “Palestinian civil organizations, as well as international organizations, NGOs and certain religious institutions call on individuals, companies and states to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the occupation. We understand this to integrate the logic of peaceful resistance. These advocacy campaigns must be carried out with courage, openly sincerely proclaiming that their object is not revenge but rather to put an end to the existing evil, liberating both the perpetrators and the victims of injustice” (4.2.6).
- In 2016, Wi’am signed the “Call for Worldwide Women’s Endorsement of BDS” calling upon “women and feminists of the world, as well as women’s organizations and collectives, to endorse the BDS Call issued by Palestinian civil society in 2005 and join to the BDS movement to support our struggle for freedom, justice and equality” (emphasis added).
- In August 2015, the UCC passed a divestment resolution during its 42nd General Assembly calling for “initiating and developing a program of education and advocacy in cooperation with our partners, related to divestment from and economic sanctions against all corporations and institutions complicit in and benefiting from the illegal occupation.”
- KAIROS Canada published a document in 2012 that details numerous “economic advocacy measures” (including various forms of divestment) that KAIROS members can take.
IV. Detailed Analysis of Wi’am, United Church of Canada, and KAIROS Canada’s BDS Campaigns
Wi’am: Palestinian Conflict Transformation Centre, Palestine/Israel
- According to KAIROS Canada’s profile of Wi’am, its sole listed partner in the West Bank, “The organization provides a space where Palestinian communities learn about reconciliation, discuss conflict resolution, and imagine a life that is not lived under occupation.” However, Wi’am’s support of BDS is antithetical to these objectives. (See below for details.)
- KAIROS Canada also states that “Global Affairs Canada’s recent announcement of $4.5 million over five years to five of KAIROS’ grassroots partners in the Global South, including Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center, signals the importance of women-led peace building.” Again, Wi’am’s support of BDS – including anti-normalization between Israelis and Palestinians – makes any such “peacebuilding” efforts between Israelis and Palestinians impossible.
- Wi’am is a signatory to the “Call for Worldwide Women’s Endorsement of BDS” (2016) calling upon “women and feminists of the world, as well as women’s organizations and collectives, to endorse the BDS Call issued by Palestinian civil society in 2005 and join to the BDS movement to support our struggle for freedom, justice and equality” (emphasis added).
- Lucy Talgieh, Women Coordinator at Wi’am, was a signatory on a call of Palestinian Feminists in Palestine and Diaspora declaring support in “stand[ing] with the struggle of the indigenous/native Palestinians against the colonial apparatuses used by the Israeli occupation regime” (2016). According to the call, “our duty is to engage in this struggle, in accordance with our respective circumstances, and to encourage international solidarity movements, the most effective of which is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement” (emphasis added). The call furthered an anti-normalization agenda, stating that “We deplore the colonial attitude inherent in some Israeli feminists’ request of us to sign a statement in favor of liberal ideals, ‘dialogue’ and ‘co-existence’ and against the effective solidary with the struggle for rights. The main problem here lies in the assumption that Palestinian and Israeli women stand on equal footing and can coexist despite the ongoing regime of occupation, colonization and apartheid” (emphasis added).
- In November-December 2018, Talgieh and Wi’am’s project manager Tareq Al Zoughbi participated in KAIROS Canada’s “Women of Courage: Women, Peace, and Security” events in Ottawa and Toronto.
Wi’am’s project manager Tareq Al Zoughbi presents at “Karios South/South Gathering 2018/Canada.” See here for issues regarding these maps.
Wi’am’s Women’s Coordinator Lucy Talgieh presents at “Kairos Canada global partners meeting.”
- Talgieh is one of the authors of the Kairos Palestine document (see above for details regarding the antisemitic and discriminatory nature of this document).
- On November 15, 2018, the BDS group Amos Trust interviewed Talgieh. In the interview, Talgieh expresses her support for the antisemitic Kairos Palestine document, stating that “It is why statements like the Kairos Palestine call are so important, as they call on the whole Christian world to help us to change our situation. It was such a privilege to be recommended to be the youngest author of Kairos Palestine and one of only a few women” (emphasis added).
- On May 18, 2018, Wi’am posted a letter in “solidarity with the Palestinians on Nakba Day” that calls for “joining the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) movement…” The letter also refers to “how Israel carried out a mass ethnic cleansing that led to the establishment of Israel…We see how the ethnic cleansing continues as Israel confiscates more land; build more settlements, carries out massacres and ethnic cleansing.”
- In a May 18, 2018 interview on the US embassy moved and the violence along the Gaza border, Talgieh fails to acknowledge the use of violence (including Molotov cocktails, stone throwing, IEDs, and other methods) and involvement of terror groups in orchestrating the violence along the Gaza border, stating that Palestinians were “killed in cold blood, although they posed no threat.” She furthered that the US embassy move was “in violation of international law. The offender is the superpower that supposedly calls for respect for this law…they move the embassy to Jerusalem on a bridge of Palestinian bodies…the act is considered an attack against the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people. It undermines the status of the United Nations and the rule of international law and thus constitutes a threat to international peace and security.”
- In the interview she refers to the founding of Israel and the celebration of its independence day as “the seventieth of the Nakba, Palestinian exodus,” that began to “distort the Holy Land, making it a land of war and death…It is a memory of death, and it is not even a reason for Israel’s celebration, as it continues to live in fear, refuses to implement UN resolutions, apprehends the demand for peace and peaceful marches by unarmed people, and continues to order its soldiers to kill unarmed people for demanding their freedom…This is the seventieth year of this bitter truth: that the Holy Land has become a land where man kills his human brother.”
- She also expressed her support for BDS campaigns, stating that “We call on them [international community] to join us in our resistance to the evil of occupation and pressure on Israel. We ask the international community to do its duty. We call upon it to exert pressure on Israel by all effective means and by imposing sanctions to intervene for peace and justice, and to lift the injustice of the people of Gaza and the entire Palestinian people. We call on it to treat Israel as an apartheid state until it submits to international legitimacy” (emphasis added).
- On May 18, 2018, Talgieh posted Kairos Palestine’s letter “calling for justice on the 70th anniversary of the Nakba.” The letter states that May 15 marks “70 years since Nakba, or catastrophe, the ethnic cleansing that led to the establishment of Israel” and that “Palestinians know for certain that Israel’s case is morally untenable and Israel, itself, will collapse under the weight of its own immoral political ways.” The letter Talgieh posted also calls for BDS in the form of ending “economic, cultural, academic and military” with Israel.
- On June 9, 2017, ICAN interviewed Talgieh about her work and politics. In the interview, she explained that Palestinian “non-violent methods since the beginning of the 1930’s” are “side by side with the armed struggle in their attempts to achieve their goals against extremism and Zionism.”
- In June 2017, Wi’am was a signatory to an “Open Letter” from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine to the World Council of Churches, accusing Israel of “Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression.” The letter calls upon the WCC to “recognize Israel as an apartheid state,” and “unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses” (emphasis added). The letter also defends “our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently,” through “economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation…in response to Israel’s war on BDS. We ask that you intensity those measures.”
- On November 12, 2015, Wi’am posted an International Solidarity Movement “urgent alert” on Facebook calling on civil society worldwide to “support the above demands and do all they can to pressure the Israeli government…including joining the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.”
- On October 20, 2014, posted about a meeting Wi’am Center hosted in cooperation with the Palestinian Foreign Ministry on its Facebook page. According to the post, the meeting concluded with a number of recommendations, including “boycotting Israeli products and enhancing the BDS movement.”
- In a March 2014 Facebook post, Wi’am shared images of its director Zoughbi Zoughbi at the Wi’am Centre with the caption “reflection and insights about BDS as a non-violent struggle with Ken from Church of England UK.”
- On February 10, 2014, posted an article by Hanan Ashrawi titled “The Boycott Is Our Palestinian Non-violent Resistance.”
- On February 2, 2014, posted a “Popular Struggle Coordination Committee Press Release,” which states “Based on our support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) we call upon our friends and international solidarity groups to stand with the demands of the Palestinian people and boycott all Israeli companies including Israeli factories and companies that work in the Jordan Valley and profit from Palestinian natural resources.”
- On February 19, 2013, Talgieh posted a video “Boycott Apartheid” on Facebook. The video calls on individuals to “boycott apartheid, boycott Israel,” and provides a link to the BDS Movement website.
- Wi’am’s 2011 “Christmas Message” states, “Your calls to adopt BDS are a blessed message of nonviolence, resisting the ugly violence of the Occupation to bring the occupiers to their senses. Christ is always struggling for restorative, not punitive Justice. Therefore we, as followers of Christ and the children of the Holy Land, look to redress injustice rather than avenge it” (emphasis added). This statement was also included in its 2010 Christmas Message.
- Wi’am’s Director Zoughbi Zoughbi has called for BDS, stating, “The world needs to be liberated from this guilty feeling that Israel has tried to instill in them and the world should be helping Israel shed its victim identity through BDS. And BDS is getting a very positive response, particularly from the Westerners. There is a growing movement among institutions, often religious or ideological, that are calling for divestment and academic, economic, and sports-related boycott. This is part of our struggle to achieve restorative justice, as BDS aims to address the problems rather than avenge them. With BDS, no one is taking an offensive approach and stating that we want to destroy Israel. Also the Palestinians must stop working in the settlements or on any project that belongs to the oppressive Israeli occupation, even if they must work out of necessity.”
- Zoughbi has also defended supporting BDS, stating “We are not trying to bring Israel to its knees, but to its senses.”
- On December 29, 2011, Talgieh posted “CODE PINK they are doing such a great Job, People I encourage you to watch it” and shared a BDS video about boycotting SodaStream and Ahava.
- On its website, Wi’am’s director Zoughbi Zoughbi states that “Let’s put the world in front of its political responsibility once more. They have held on to the guilt they had for the Jewish people, which resulted in the UN resolution of 1947 that created Israel, but what makes us a lesser nation? We are the victims of the victims of the holocaust, and thus its direct victims and we too need our home, our safe haven…” (emphasis added).
- Wiam also stated that “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…We are laid in the Tomb” (emphasis added).
- On February 5, 2019, Talgieh posted a letter that refers to the “daily Holocaust of his people in the occupied Palestinian Territory, and his city of occupied Jerusalem.” The letter also refers to the Western Wall as the Al Buraq Wall.
Support for a Palestinian Right of Return and One-State Framework
- In the statement, Zoughbi states that Israel should be held responsible for the Nakba of 1948 and supports a Palestinian right of return, explaining that “could amount to at least $100 billion that would help them settle into their homes- wherever they choose for those homes to be.” The statement does not support a two-state framework and instead describes the “the dream of one secular, democratic, bi-national state.”
United Church of Canada
- UCC is one of the main proponents of BDS campaigns in Canada. The group leads the “Unsettling Goods” campaign, a BDS campaign targeting businesses and companies that allegedly do business in Israeli settlements.
- The campaign asks the public to “get tweeting” to “engage directly and publicly with selected manufacturers (Ahava and Keter) and Canadian retailers (Walmart, Canadian Tire, The Bay, and Home Depot).” The campaign asks the public to “Connect with Unsettling Goods on Twitter and use the hashtag #UGchoosepeace to…label their products as ‘Made in the occupied Palestinian territories’… Engage with retailers that sell Ahava and Keter. Let them know you don’t want to see these products in their stores.”
- In May 2013, UCC released a press release stating that “Over the next several months, the United Church will engage in dialogue with these companies regarding their involvement in the settlements and request that they cease all production in the settlements.”
- UCC asks individuals to “follow partners on Twitter,” including the PFLP-linked organization Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P) and the BDS groups EAPPI, Sabeel Jerusalem, United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel (UNJPPI), KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, and Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA).4
- In August 2015, the UCC passed a divestment resolution during its 42nd General Council calling for “initiating and developing a program of education and advocacy in cooperation with our partners, related to divestment from and economic sanctions against all corporations and institutions complicit in and benefiting from the illegal occupation.” According to the UCC’s “Blueberry Commission Report,” “BC3 Toward a Just Peace in the Israel/Palestine” calls for:
- “Initiating and developing a program of education and advocacy, in cooperation with our partners, related to divestment from and economic sanctions against all corporations and institutions complicit in or benefitting from the illegal occupation. This would include education about tourism which bolsters the oppression of Palestinians;
- Developing and implementing an ethical divestment strategy from companies that derive substantial financial benefit or that contribute significantly to furthering the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and recommends to the United Church of Canada, its Pension Fund and Foundation and other related bodies including congregations to divest from companies that derive substantial financial benefit from the illegal Israeli occupation; and
- Encouraging all courts, bodies and members of The United Church of Canada to apply such divestment strategies and sanctions, until such time as the occupation of the Palestinian territories ends” (emphasis added).
- UCC “helped fund the creation of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), a small anti-Israel group that supports the BDS movement.” The “startup grant” from UCC to IJV caused significant uproar within the Jewish community, leading to a statement by UCC’s spokesperson that states “the church regretted doing it.” However, the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) CEO at the time pointed out that the UCC “continued to link to IJV’s website even after pronouncing is regret about funding it. In addition, the United Church co-sponsored with IJV a speaking engagement by an anti-Zionist lecturer.”
- CJC further described the significance of UCC’s funding of IJV as “there is, I suppose, an expectation we have that we will not make common cause with groups that disparage our partner groups, that are hostile to the mainstream of each other’s communities and gives them neither comfort nor support. Despite that, the [United Church] continues to have a relationship that is antithetical to the Jewish community… No one should be under the illusion that the relationship with IJV is without serious consequences.”
- UCC endorsed Apartheid Week campaigns on Canadian campuses in 2012 and 2010.
- UCC serves as a “sending organization” for EAPPI, a World Council of Churches program that brings volunteers to the West Bank for three months to “witness life under occupation.”5 Upon completion of the program, the volunteers return to their home countries and churches where many engage in anti-Israel advocacy, including advocating for BDS in churches, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and other delegitimization strategies.6
- In September 2017, Jan McIntyre, an EAPPI participant, wrote in an October 2015 blog post that “The 48 year Israeli occupation (illegal according to International Humanitarian Law) of Palestine, with even greater repression of human rights over the last several months, has led some young Palestinians to respond violently. Frustrated and desperate, and prohibited from carrying guns, they have resorted to the use of knives as a tool to stab Israeli soldiers and citizens” (emphasis added).
- During a September 2017 presentation on EAPPI given by Gordon Timbers of the Presbyterian Church of Canada, an audience member asked, “Excuse me; I have to make a comment at this point. I don’t know how many people here have seen the model of the gas chambers … and some of these things really remind me [unintelligible] and I often wondered if any Jewish people who go in to see that model ever think of what is set up here” (emphasis added). In his answer, Timbers did not dispute the false claim answering instead “…Thank you for that, because there are similarities. All these identity papers and restriction of movement and checkpoints and all of these things, yes, that does make people think” (emphasis added).
- As part of an ongoing campaign against PayPal, UCC created a form letter to send to PayPal’s President and CEO, stating that “As the Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are a violation of international law, I believe it is unethical and irresponsible for any company to provide services or operations that maintain and sustain the settlements.”
- In February 2016, UCC sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau expressing “strong concern” regarding a motion that would “condemn any and all attempts…to promote the BDS movement.” According to UCC, “The United Church of Canada stands in solidarity with groups and individuals exercising this right in nonviolent, peaceful ways. We urge you to stand firmly for democracy and defeat this motion” (emphasis added). The letter misleadingly states, “The United Church of Canada does not describe itself as being part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.”
- In 2012, “The General Council of The United Church of Canada joined others in the international community in supporting the end of Israel’s decades-old military occupation of Palestinian territories by approving a focused economic action against products made in illegal Israeli settlements.”
- The BDS Movement website features a 2011 statement by Rev. Brian McIntosh, the spokesperson for the Holy Land Awareness and Action Task Group, of the Social Justice and World Affairs Committee within South West Presbytery of the United Church of Canada. The statement explains that the group “launched Occupied with Peace in Palestine, a Boycott/Divestment Campaign” to encourage “individuals and organizations, particularly congregations of the United Church in its region, to use economic leverage to persuade six companies operating in Canada – Caterpillar, Motorola, Ahava, Veolia, Elbit Systems and Chapters/Indigo – currently involved in illegal activities in the Palestinian Occupied Territories – to stop supporting the Israeli occupation and uphold international law” (emphasis added).
- Member of the ACT Alliance, a coalition of 144 churches and church-related organizations. ACT Alliance promotes BDS.
Concerns Related to Terror Linked Groups
- UCC endorses and supports DCI-P’s “No Way to Treat a Child” campaign in Canada. DCI-P has ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist organization7 and supports BDS (see NGO Monitor’s report “Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Ties to the PFLP Terrorist Organization”). UCC serves as the pass through for DCI-P’s fundraising efforts in Canada.8 UCC refers to DCI-P as its “Mission and Service partner.”
- In April 2018, the UCC hosted DCI-P’s Brad Parker and UN Special Rapporteur on the “occupied Palestinian territories occupied since 1967” Michael Lynk to discuss the “No Way to Treat a Child” campaign in Ottawa (see NGO Monitor’s reports “No Way to Represent a Child: Defense for Children International – Palestine’s Distortions of the Israeli Justice System” and “Special Rapporteur on Israel: The UN’s Weakest Lynk.”)
- On November 26, 2016, UCC took part in sponsoring “Gaza Calls: Canada Answers,” featuring Raji Sourani.
- Raji Sourani, founder and director of the PCHR, served “a three-year sentence [1979-1982] imposed by an Israeli court which convicted him of membership in the illegal Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…” He was also denied a US entry visa in 2012. Sourani was imprisoned an additional three times “in 1985 and 1986…” In February 2014, the PFLP organized a ceremony in Gaza honoring Sourani for winning the “Alternative Noble Prize.” Rabah Muhana, a member of the PFLP Political Bureau, delivered a speech at the prize ceremony.
- KAIROS Canada is a “joint venture ecumenical program administered by the United Church of Canada.”
- In May 2013, issued a proclamation of support for the UCC’s call to members of the “ecumenical and justice community” to urge foreign affairs and trade ministers to impose “proper identification of Israeli settlement products in Canadian stores and an end to tax exemptions for products from the settlements.”
- In 2012, KAIROS Canada stated that it would “help our member churches with research if they choose to learn which products for sale in Canada are produced in Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories. This could allow for letter writing to corporations, meetings with distributors or suppliers of products, or help churchgoers and other Canadians make faithful, responsible choices about whether they wish to buy such products.”
- In December 2009, KAIROS Canada responded to the Canadian government’s accusations that it led “the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel,” stating “KAIROS agreed that divestment from a Canadian corporation invested in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza that is ‘contributing directly or indirectly to violence, occupation or other human rights abuses in the region’ is an action that its Member churches and organizations may choose” (emphasis added).
- In January 2008, KAIROS Canada published a “strategy paper” entitled “Economic Advocacy Measures: Options for KAIROS Members for the Promotion of Peace in Palestine and Israel.” This document promotes divestment from Israel, “on grounds that the company is complicit in violations of human rights and international law” and promotes the campaign led by the US Presbyterian Church, headed by the radical Palestinian NGO Sabeel. The text also describes KAIROS Canada’s plans to coordinate these activities among its member churches.
- Ruth Nicholl, from KAIROS Canada, was a signatory on a petition to “Stop Canada Pension Plan Investments in Israeli Apartheid.” According to Nicholls, “I do not want to profit from the arms industry, no matter where these instruments of death are to be used. I am more than willing to be a less well-off, if that is the result of Canada divesting from things that kill people. Israel is not innocent of the blood of innocents. Would that it was, but it is not. My government needs to stop deluding itself on that score.”
- On May 12, 2018, KAIROS Canada’s Victoria branch hosted an event “Just Peace in Palestine-Israel,” featuring a speaker from the anti-Israel BDS group Independent Jewish Voices (see above). The event also featured the “added attraction” of “The Promised Land Museum Travelling Exhibit,” which attempts to draw equivalence between Nazis during the Holocaust and Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
- In April 2018, KAIROS Canada promoted the “Canadian Book Tour with Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek.” Ateek utilizes inflammatory rhetoric, and has made statements such as “The establishment of Israel was a relapse to the most primitive concepts of an exclusive, tribal God.” In his book Justice and Only Justice, he writes, “It has taken me years to accept the establishment of the State of Israel and its need – although not its right – to exist.”
- Ateek serves as the director of Sabeel, an “ecumenical grassroots liberation theology movement among Palestinian Christians.” Sabeel argues that Palestinians represent a modern-day version of Jesus’ suffering and utilizes “liberation theology,” supercessionist rhetoric, and the concept of deicide to demonize Israel.
Given the three organizations’ clear involvement in discriminatory BDS campaigns against Israel, the 2018 grant to Wi’am, UCC, and KAIROS Canada is inconsistent with Canadian values and positions articulated by Prime Minister Trudeau, the Liberal Government, and the Official Opposition. The information in this document suggests that immediate action should be taken to address concerns about NGOs selected for this grant, and that a formal review of the approval processes for bilateral aid to NGOs take place.
- In 2009, Canada denied KARIOS’ application for a $7 million four-year grant following allegations that KAIROS took “a leadership in the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.” A CIDA spokesman explained that “[a]fter completing due diligence it was determined that the organization’s project does not meet CIDA’s current priorities.” See: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2009/12/03/ottawa_starves_climate_critics_of_cash_on_eve_of_ecosummit.html
- The Simon Wiesenthal Center describes the Kairos Palestine Document as “a revisionist document of hatred for Israel and contempt of Jews.” (See: The Simon Wiesenthal Center, “SWC Extremely Concerned by Flawed Presbyterian Palestinian ‘Kairos’ Study Guide,” June 24, 2011, http://www.wiesenthal.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=6478433&ct=10887407)The Central Conference of American Rabbis similarly “insists that the document’s explicit supercessionism and inherent anti-Semitism prevent Kairos from providing a legitimate framework for interfaith dialogue and understanding” (See: CIJA, “A Rebuttal to the Kairos Document,” https://cija.ca/a-rebuttal-to-the-kairos-document/)
- The Central Conference of American Rabbis explains that the Document “echoes supersessionist language of the Christian past, since rejected by most mainstream Christian denominations, referring to the Torah absent Christian revelation as, in the words of the Christian Scriptures, ‘a dead letter.’” (See: CIJA, “A Rebuttal to the Kairos Document,” https://cija.ca/a-rebuttal-to-the-kairos-document/)
- The Unsettling Goods Twitter account also regularly retweets BDS organizations, including CJPME, Jewish Voice for Peace, DCI-P, Sabeel, and the World Council of Churches (WCC).
- Dr. Zoughbi Zoughbi, W’iam’s founder and director (see above), has been the EAPPI Secretary and the Local Programme Coordinator since June 2017. See NGO Monitor’s report “EAPPI: The World Council of Churches’ Training Camp for Anti-Israel Advocacy” for details.
- In 2015, Global Affairs Canada provided UNICEF with $10 million, of which $1 million was allocated by UNICEF to the West Bank and Gaza for “Emergency Assistance – Education in Emergencies and Child Protection.” The activities that Canada claimed it funded differ significantly from the description provided by UNICEF. Canada stated that it provided funds to UNICEF for training teachers, counselling support, and reinforcing schools, among others. UNICEF however states it used the money to train EAPPI volunteers; record cases of intimidation, harassment, and excessive violence that allegedly impeded school attendance; and for “advocacy work.” See here for more details.
- The PFLP is listed as a “terrorist entity” by the Government of Canada.
- In June 2018, Citibank and Arab Bank PLC withdrew their services from DCI-P, due to concerns over the NGO’s links to the PFLP.