With updates from December 21, 2009
KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice is a coalition of church groups, including the Anglican and Presbyterian churches and the Mennonite Central Committee. It claims to affect “social change through advocacy, education and research programs in: Ecological Justice, Economic Justice, Energy and Extraction, Human Rights, Just and Sustainable Livelihoods, and Indigenous Peoples.” As shown below, KAIROS promotes a political agenda.
According to press reports, in November 2009, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) denied KAIROS’ application for a $7 million/four-year grant. A spokesperson for the International Development Minister explained that “[a]fter completing due diligence it was determined that the organization’s project does not meet CIDA’s current priorities.” According to KAIROS, “this decision terminates a 35-year history of cooperation between CIDA and KAIROS and its predecessor organizations.”
Campaigns against Israeli and Canadian policy on Gaza
- In December 2008, during the Gaza conflict, KAIROS wrote to Prime Minister Harper alleging that “[o]ne and a half million people living under illegal occupation…have no escape from being bombed as punishment for violent acts they did not commit.” Israel was blamed for Palestinian violence: “Mass killings turn youth growing up in despair and humiliation into fighters.”
- In another letter, the NGO claimed “Canada has an obligation to speak out against this collective punishment of the people in Gaza,” and expressed that it was “further disturbed” at Canada’s position that opposed one-sided UN Human Rights Council resolutions targeting Israel (and promoted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference).
- Further demonstrating its core political bias, KAIROS pressed the argument that thousands of Hamas’ “[rocket] attacks in no way justify this siege [of Gaza].”
- KAIROS frequently joins other anti-Israel NGOs in accusing Israel of “war crimes” and “collective punishment.”
Church divestment campaign in Canada
- KAIROS is a main supporter of the anti-Israel divestment movement in Canada, coordinating this agenda on behalf of member church groups. Divestment, as part of the wider BDS activity, is the primary form of political warfare adopted at the NGO Forum of the 2001 Durban Conference.
- This effort features a document from the Palestinian NGO Sabeel, which calls for divestment from companies that are complicit in Israel’s alleged “illegal and immoral behavior” and “apartheid practices.” Sabeel’s leader, Naim Atik, employs antisemitic themes and imagery in sermons promoting his “Palestinian Liberation Theology.”
Lawfare in Canada
- KAIROS endorsed the 2009 Bil’in “tour” of Canada which was advertised as opposing what was termed “illegal Israeli colonization and annexation of Palestinian land.” The tour focused on the village’s “legal action against Green Park International Inc. and Green Mount International Inc.” for “violating international law by building houses on occupied land.” This case is one of a series initiated by pro-Palestinian NGOs, including Al Haq, as part of its strategy to exploit Western courts for political goals (“lawfare”), and was dismissed with partial costs on September 18, 2009.
“Resources for education and action” on “Israel and Palestine”
The KAIROS “Resources for education and action” section includes material from:
- Sabeel. In 2007, KAIROS supported Sabeel with a grant of approximately $25,000.
- “The 5th International Sabeel Conference Statement”: “challenging Christian Zionism” and describing Zionism as an “ideology of empire, colonialism, and militarism.”
- Palestinian Environmental NGOs Network (PENGON)/Apartheid Wall Campaign
Palestinian Claims Regarding “Right of Return”
- This is a highly controversial issue, in which KAIROS has taken a position that generally conforms with the Palestinian demands. According to KAIROS, millions of Palestinian refugees are entitled to a “right to return” (KAIROS website, “Middle East policy”): “Given that Palestinian refugees now number in the millions, their return to Israel might seem an impossibility. Nevertheless, their right to return must be honoured, though its implementation could include alternatives for those refugees who would find them acceptable and fair.”
- This confused and one-sided political advocacy, on an extremely complex issue, is inconsistent with KAIROS’ status as a humanitarian aid organization funded by the Canadian government.
Palestinian Narrative on the Peace Process
- KAIROS claims that UN Security Council resolutions “require Israel to withdraw to its borders as they were on June 4, 1967. They also require Arab countries and other parties to accept Israel within those borders. Over the years there have been very substantial indications that the second requirement has been met. The first requirement has not been met.”
- This analysis is factually inaccurate, and tendentiously implies that Israel alone is responsible for continued conflict in the region. Additionally, KAIROS’ interpretations of the relevant UN resolutions are highly controversial.