In 2020-2027, Oxfam-Quebec is slated to receive up to CAD 50 million in funding from the Canadian government, of which 10% is earmarked for “volunteer placements” at NGOs based in the West Bank and Gaza. Therefore, it is disconcerting to see the organization advocate for BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) against Israel.
In July 2021, Guilia El Dardiry, Oxfam-Quebec’s Policy and Campaign Analyst, published an op-ed, “In Gaza, Canada’s Words Won’t Be Enough” (French). The article calls for Canada to suspend arms sales to Israel. El Dardiry, who blames Israel exclusively for the conflict, claims this will “reaffirm [Canada’s] reputation as a world leader in the defense of international law.”
Unsurprisingly, and reflecting Oxfam-Quebec’s repeated use of double standards against Israel, blatant violations perpetrated by Palestinian terror groups, are ignored. During the May conflict, Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired thousands of rockets – each one a war crime – at Israeli population centers. Yet, in contrast to its demands regarding Israel, Oxfam-Quebec advocates for the restrictions on Gaza to be lifted – a move that would certainly lead to more weapons being smuggled to murderous terror groups.
As documented by NGO Monitor, Oxfam’s support of BDS initiatives is hardly new. This destructive political advocacy directly contradict stated Canadian policy, which recognizes “Israel’s right to assure its own security” and to take the “necessary measures…to protect the security of its citizens from attacks by terrorist groups.” In 2019, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rightly condemned BDS as antisemitic and contrary to Canadian values. In other words, Oxfam-Quebec, which is receiving millions of dollars in Canadian government funding, is also undercutting Canadian policy.
It is imperative that the Canadian government carefully monitor all aspects of this Oxfam-Quebec project, including the local partners in the West Bank and Gaza. In particular, the government must ensure that Oxfam-Quebec does not place volunteers at NGOs that promote BDS or are linked to terror groups.