By Hanna Kawas
On March 18, 2009 the Canadian Minister of Multiculturalism and Immigration, Mr. Jason Kenney made good on his threats to cut funding for Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) programs that help settle newcomers to Canada. The Toronto Star reported that neither of the two LINC contracts with CAF “will be renewed, Alykhan Velshi, director of communications and parliamentary affairs, said in an email.” In the same article, Mr. Kenney also referenced this decision by stating that “he is an ‘unapologetic supporter’ of Israel”. http://www.thestar.com/News/Ontario/article/604720
A few days earlier, it was reported in the National Post on 3/14/2009:
“Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the Canadian Arab Federation will have to change its leadership and adopt a more moderate stance or risk losing federal funding…Mr. Kenney said taxpayers should not be footing the bill for an organization whose leader ‘promotes hateful and extremist views.’ Mr. Kenney said there are many moderate organizations that could do the job… He suggested the decision could be reversed if more moderate leaders were in place.” http://www.nationalpost.com/story.html?id=1387992
The message was bluntly stated – either put leaders that we approve of or else funding will be cut. It should be noted that this was not funding for CAF itself, as the leading Arab Canadian organization, but rather monies to assist new immigrants as they transition to Canadian society. However, Mr. Kenney has been on a crusade for the past two years (his estimate) to slander, discredit and dictate to Arab and Muslim Canadians who they can choose as their leaders. This crusade was conducted with the open support of Canadian Zionist organizations and is in the context of current Canadian government policy to defend Israeli human rights abuses and war crimes. Mr. Kenney is proving that Canadian Multiculturalism applies only to certain kinds of people!!!
Mr. Kenney in his speech at the “Anti- Semitism Conference” at Lancaster House, London, England on Feb. 17, 2009 slandered the Canadian Arab Federation and the Canadian Islamic Congress as “organisations that either excuse violence against Jews or express essentially anti-Semitic sentiments” and express “hateful sentiments”. He reached this conclusion without any factual proof or evidence. He then went on to make the point: “the government of Canada has consistently voted against resolutions singling out Israel as a scapegoat at international forums such as the Francophonie and the United Nations Human Rights Council. Just two, three weeks ago we were unfortunately typically the only country of the 40 some member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council to oppose in this instance a resolution scapegoating Israel in an unbalanced way as being responsible for the violence in Gaza.
And finally, my proudest moment as minister was a year ago this month when I announced on behalf of our government that Canada would withdraw, and has withdrawn, from the Durban 2 process.”
And the basis for his unconditional and uncritical support for Israel is apparently founded on the Zionist ideology that Jews constitute a nation and not a religion, and that an exclusive Jewish state (Israel) must be supported. Hence, he declares that anyone who does not believe this theory is anti-Semitic; he states, “We do see the growth of a new anti-Semitism, the anti-Semitism predicated on the notion that the Jews alone have no right to a homeland, the anti-Zionist version of anti-Semitism.” In another place he states that: “And in that sense anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. Our government clearly understands this.” http://www.jewishwinnipeg.org/page.aspx?id=196178
For more information about Kenney’s stands regarding CAF see:
For Mr. Kenney’s information, Zionism and anti-Semitism are two faces of the same coin; they both believe that Jews do NOT belong to their respective homelands because they are a “different race or nationality”, they are “superior” or “inferior” and they belong somewhere else. The founder of Zionism Theodor Herzl realised that early on. He made the connection and sought the help of anti-Semites to realize his colonialist project:
- Herzl expressed the hope that any anti-Semitism would “act as a propelling force which, like the wave of the future, would bring the Jews into the promised land.” (Alfred M. Lilienthal “The Zionist Connection, What Price Peace?” 1978 Dodd Mead & C0. Pg. 410)
- Herzl wrote: “Anti-Semitism has grown and continues to grow, and so do I” Theodor Herzl Diaries. P. 7
- Also “The governments of all countries scourged by anti-Semitism will be keenly interested in assisting us to obtain the sovereignty we want.” Theodor Herzl, The Jewish State. P. 92
- This attitude was not confined to Herzl alone. Alfred Lilienthal, Jewish-American author, detailed the following about Chaim Weizmann a British Zionist leader who later became the first president of Israel: “The late British Parliamentarian Richard H. S. Crossman, an ardent Anglo-Saxon proponent of Zionism, cited Dr. Chaim Weizmann’s contention that ‘anti-Semitism is a bacillus which every Gentile carries with him wherever he goes and however often he denies it.’ At this first meeting Dr. Chaim Weizmann allegedly bluntly asked Crossman whether he was anti-Semitic, to which the Labourite frankly answered, ‘Of course.’ Their friendship was sealed, and Crossman’s energetic crusade, partly expiation for that original prejudice, followed.” (The Zionist Connection, Pg. 411)
Mr. Kenney also used the argument that the political opposition of CAF’s leadership to the inclusion of Hezbullah and the Palestinian resistance organizations on Canada’s “Terrorism List” was a reason for cutting CAF’s funding.
For the historic record, the listing of these organizations was done to serve Israeli government interests and the pro-Israel lobby. Not the Canadian people’s interests, security or wishes, not to help a Canadian province or territory, but a foreign government.
“When asked who Canada should support, a majority, 77 per cent, said Canada should be neutral. Sixteen per cent said Canada should support Israel, while only one per cent said Hezbollah.” CTV, Aug. 1, 2006 http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060728/mideast_poll_060731/20060731?hub=TopStories
Furthermore, it is well documented that Canadian Zionist organizations had long called for the listing of these organizations on the “terrorism list” http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article971.shtml. Other issues that were on their wish list was to change the Canadian voting at the UN General Assembly in favour of Israel, and this also was implemented by both Liberal and Conservative governments.
For more information about the timing and the role of the Zionist lobby in the banning of the Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance organizations see: https://cpavancouver.org/2002/12/open-letter-to-the-canadian-prime-minister-regarding-the-banning-of-moslem-organizations/ and https://cpavancouver.org/2003/11/open-letter-to-solicitor-general-of-canada-re-banning/
It should also be made clear that none of CAF’s leaders were implicated in any material or other kind of support for these “banned” groups, nor was such a thing even suggested. They were condemned for simply expressing their conviction that Canadian government policy was misled and would not serve Canada’s interests nor would it help further the interests of peace in the Middle East.
That is why Canadian government policy is now seen as biased by many in the Middle East due to just such actions by government officials. Some other examples of Canadian complicity in Israeli war crimes and racism are:
- Canada’s unconditional support for Israel goes back to the UN Partition Plan in 1947, even before the establishment of the Israeli state. Lester Pearson, then the under-secretary of state for Foreign Affairs and Canadian Judge Rand played a major role in formulating and passing the Partition Plan at the UN general Assembly; Zionist groups were so grateful to Pearson, they called him the “Balfour of Canada”.
- Most Zionist organizations, including the “Jewish National Fund” (JNF) have enjoyed the benefit of having Tax-Deductible status, using Canadian taxpayers money to support Israeli war crimes, occupation and racism. The Canadian Arab Federation has never enjoyed such benefits.
- Many Canadians will be surprised to know that buying Israeli bonds in Canada can be done under their Registered Retirement Saving Plan (RRSP) enjoying that same tax shelter.
- The free trade agreement with Israel, not only empowers Israel and its economy, it also had a military provision that is still kept secret.
- Canada and Israel signed a public security cooperation agreement, on March 23, 2008 between Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety Canada and Avi Dichter, then Israeli Minister of Public Security (who several months earlier cancelled a trip to Britain over fear of arrest on allegations of war crimes). The recent refusal to allow British MP George Galloway into Canada under the excuse that he is a “security risk” might be related to this agreement and perhaps based on Galloway’s support for the Palestinian people, especially the British humanitarian convoy he just led into Gaza. http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/media/nr/2008/nr20080323-1-eng.aspx
- It have been recently exposed by Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) that the Canadian Government did not only support Israel publicly in it crimes against humanity in Gaza, but 50 Canadian arms companies also supplied Israel with crucial parts for its F-15’s F-16’s and its AH-64 Apache helicopters. http://coat.ncf.ca/ARMX/cansec/CANSEC-Gaza.htm
In fact, Canada’s Conservative Party has been in the business of not only slandering CAF, the leading national grassroots Arab Canadian organization, but also all those who support Palestinian and Arab freedom and independence. Kenney himself openly criticized CUPE Ontario for passing a motion to boycott Israeli universities that support the occupation. Two Conservative riding association presidents were part of an attempt last year to censor and silence the Voice of Palestine and Coop Radio in Vancouver. The list is long, and includes attempts to intimidate students on campuses during Israeli Apartheid Week, an effort also assisted by Canada’s Liberal Party.
When Mr. Kenney cuts the funding to Arab immigrants his message to them is that Canada does NOT want you here, stay in your homelands. This is frightening and also means that Canada is closing its door for those who do NOT support Israel and Zionism. But what he is doing may be a blessing in disguise. It is important that Arab skilled and educated people stay in the Arab World and build their respective countries rather than help build countries that support their peoples’ oppression and enslavement.
There is another message that Mr. Kenney is sending to the Arab people and the Arab World. Canada is against your aspirations in ending foreign occupation, against your struggle for independence from Western powers who brutally control your natural resources and Canada is with Israeli occupation and U.S. occupation of Arab lands. Furthermore, Canada alongside its western allies, will support Arab dictators and puppet regimes against the Arab people’s aspirations for freedom and democracy.
We would like to warn Mr. Kenney of the strategic dangers of such a policy that will inflict untold damages on Canada’s future international relations, the Canadian economy and accordingly the Canadian people. There are already calls to boycott U.S. and Western interests for their blind support of Israeli occupation and war crimes. The U.S. and Western economies are in deep trouble. Does Mr. Kenney want the Canadian economy to get worse than what it is already? We are sure he won’t pay for his mistakes, the same way the U.S. business elites are not paying for their mistakes, at least not in the short term. As always, it will be Canadian working people who will bear the brunt of these policies.
It seem that Mr. Kenney does not understand the history of Zionism; we hope he is not part of the Christian Zionists who purposely want to ingather “the Jews” to hasten Armageddon and the annihilation of the Jewish people as part of claimed prophecies. Anti- Semitism was created by European powers who claim the Judo-Christian values to themselves, the same way many western governments now claim human rights values to themselves while committing war crimes and atrocities in their quest to control the world.
Mr. Kenney and his Zionist friends are the ones promoting anti-Semitism and libelling Jews by claiming that Zionism and Israel represent all of the Jewish people and that all of the atrocities and war crimes Israel is committing are being done in the name of the Jewish people and in the name of the six million Jews who perished because of European anti-Semitism. Mr. Michael Warschawski from the Israeli Alternative Information Center (AIC) declared in a recent article “Absolutely Not Not in Their Name, Not in Ours” http://www.alternativenews.org/content/view/1545/389/ .
We tell Mr. Kenney “Absolutely Not! Not in Their Name”, the name of all those who perished in any unjust war, and “Not in Ours” as human beings, whether we are Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists or atheists.
As if Canada does not have enough difficulties with racism against people of colour, now we have the Canadian minister of Multiculturalism contributing to hatred and bigotry against the Arab and Muslim people. Mr. Kenney, his government and his Zionist friends should be held responsible for any increase in anti-Semitism, anti-Arab racism and any Islamophobic act.
The Canadian Arab Federation is standing up to blackmail, intimidation, and bullying, often at great personal cost to its leaders and members. This intervention in the internal affairs of the Arab community being conducted by the Canadian government’s vast economic and intelligence machinery smacks of the “regime change” tactics used globally by the U.S. and other western governments.. CAF www.caf.ca needs all our support politically, morally and financially, and this should be our answer to all those who are trying to muffle the truth and its messengers.
Hanna Kawas, Vancouver, Canada. Born in Bethlehem, Palestine.
Co-host of Voice of Palestine Radio Show and Chairperson of Canada Palestine Association