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Undermining the Democratic Process: The Canadian Government Suppression of Palestinian Development Aid Projects

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Undermining the Democratic Process: The Canadian Government Suppression of Palestinian Development Aid Projects

Abstract

(Published in The Canadian Journal for Middle East Studies) Countless Canadians have for decades been trying to provide support to Palestinians living under military occupation in the occupied Palestinian territories. However, they have often faced strong resistance from pro-Israel advocates and elites in Canada, including their own government. This paper looks at the government suppression of Canadian development sector organisations running Palestinian aid projects 2001 to 2012, including from the perspective of the people running them. Based on document analysis, policy analysis and original semi-structured interviews with coordinators running aid projects, it describes how their work was almost universally undermined by the Canadian government. Tactics uncovered include appointing ardent pro-Israel advocates to an organisation's management, defunding specific projects, defunding entire organisations, launching questionable audits, spurious allegations of terrorism and the forced closure of organisations. This oppression was particularly overt under the Harper Conservative government, but had a basis in earlier Liberal governments. This interference provides an understanding for the fear that exists surrounding Palestinian aid work in Canada and the process by which Canadian aid to Palestinians is rendered ineffective. The paper further argues that while these tactics were likely first honed against Palestinian solidarity work, they were then used against other progressive groups, undermining Canadian civil society and democracy.
The Canadian Journal for Middle East Studies Vol1 (2) July 2017
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The Canadian Journal for Middle East Studies
July 2017, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 1-30
ISSN: 2369-5986 (Print), 2369-5994 (Online)
Copyright © The Author(s). 2017. All Rights Reserved
Published by Institute for Middle East Studies, Canada
DOI:
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Undermining)the)Democratic)Process:))
The)Canadian)Government)Suppression)of)Palestinian)Development)Aid)Projects)
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Jeremy)Wildeman,)PhD!
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University of Bath, Department of Social and Policy Sciences
j.wildeman@bath.ac.uk!
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Abstract!
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Countless! Canadians! have! for! decades! been! trying! to! provide! support! to! Palestinians! living! under! military!
occupation!in!the!occupied!Palestinian!territories.!However,!they!have!often!faced!strong!resistance!from!pro-Israel!
advocates!and! elites!in!Canada,!including!their!own!government.!This!paper!looks!at!the!government!suppression!
of!Canadian!development! sector! organisations!running!Palestinian! aid!projects!2001! to! 2012,!including!from! the!
perspective!of!the!people!running!them.!Based!on!document!analysis,!policy!analysis!and!original!semi-structured!
interviews!with!coordinators!running!aid!projects,!it!describes!how!their!work!was!almost!universally!undermined!
by! the! Canadian! government.! Tactics! uncovered! include! appointing! ardent! pro-Israel! advocates! to! an!
organisation’s! management,! defunding! specific! projects,! defunding! entire! organisations,! launching! questionable!
audits,!spurious!allegations!of!terrorism!and!the!forced!closure!of!organisations.!This!oppression!was!particularly!
overt!under!the!Harper!Conservative!government,!but!had!a!basis!in!earlier!Liberal!governments.!This!interference!
provides!an!understanding!for!the!fear!that!exists!surrounding!Palestinian!aid!work!in!Canada!and!the!process!by!
which!Canadian!aid!to!Palestinians!is!rendered!ineffective.!The!paper!further!argues!that!while!these!tactics!were!
likely! first! honed! against! Palestinian! solidarity! work,! they! were! then! used! against! other! progressive! groups,!
undermining!Canadian!civil!society!and!democracy.!
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Keyword: Canada, occupied Palestinian territories, Israel lobby, foreign aid, government oppression, Canadian
democracy, NGOs
*Corresponding author: Wildeman J, University of Bath, Department of Soc ial and Policy
Sciences j.wildeman@bath.ac.uk
Received March 30, 2017; Accepted Jul 17, 2017; Published 23, August 201 7
Citation: Wildeman J (2017) Undermining the Dem ocratic Process: The Canadian
Government Suppression of Palestinian Development Aid Projects. CJMES 2: 1-30.
Copyright: © 2017 Wildeman J, This is an open-access article d istributed under the terms of
the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, an d
reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Jeremy)Wildeman!
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List of Acronyms
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AHLC!=!Ad!Hoc!Liaison!Committee!!
CAF!=!Canadian!Arab!Federation!
CCIC!=!Canadian!Council!on!International!Co-operation!
CIC!=!Citizenship!and!Immigration!Canada!
CIDA!=!Canadian!International!Development!Agency!
CJC!=!Canadian!Jewish!Congress!!
CPCCA!=!Canadian!Parliamentary!Coalition!to!Combat!Anti-Semitism!!
CRA!=!Canada!Revenue!Agency!
FAO!=!Food!and!Agriculture!Organization!of!the!United!Nations!
HRW!=!Human!Rights!Watch!
IDRC!=!International!Development!Research!Centre!
IRFAN!=!International!Relief!Fund!for!the!Afflicted!and!Needy!Canada!
MENA!=!Middle!East!and!North!Africa!region!
MEWG!=!Middle!East!Working!Group!
MP!=!Member!of!Parliament!
NGO!=!Non-governmental!Organisation!
OPT!=!occupied!Palestinian!territories!
PA!=!Palestinian!Authority!
PNGO!=!Palestinian!Non-Governmental!Organisation!
R&D!=!Rights!and!Democracy!
RCMP!=!Royal!Canadian!Mounted!Police!
TFPR!=!Task!Force!on!Palestinian!Reform!!
WFP!=!World!Food!Programme!!
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The Canadian Journal for Middle East Studies Vol2 (1) July 2017
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Introduction
This article explores the experiences of
Canadian civil society organisations who ran
aid projects in the occupied Palestinian
territories (OPT) from 2001 to 2012. Those
were some of the worst years of the ever-
worsening Middle East conflict, when Israel’s
(settler) colonial occupation of the OPT
became ever more oppressive, and
entrenched. That period also saw ever
increasing advocacy work done for
Palestinian rights within Canadian civil
society, which encountered strong resistance
by a powerful pro-Israel lobby and many
Canadian elites.
Running aid projects in an OPT under
oppressive occupation is highly challenging.
Astonishingly though, that was not the
greatest challenge those Canadian
organisations faced. Rather than the conflict
on the ground in the OPT, it was the political
conflict in Canada and government
interference which was the greatest challenge
faced by Canadian organisations running aid
projects in the OPT. This included
suppression of their work that ran contrary to
official policies and may even have skirted
the spirit of the law.
The back drop of their efforts was a Peace
Process that has defined Western engagement
with the Palestinians since the Oslo
Agreement was signed in 1993. In that time,
Western donors have been trying to foster
peace between the Israelis and Palestinians by
offering them economic incentives to
cooperate. To get Palestinians to buy into the
Peace Process, Western donors have tried to
purchase their support with funding meant to
spur Palestinian economic development and
provide Palestinians with public goods,
labelled a ‘peace dividend’.[1] The underlying
logic was that each side would benefit from
cooperation, and ultimately this was expected
to lead to peace when each side realised they
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1 Anne Le More, International Assistance to the Palestinians
after Oslo (London; New York: Routledge, 2008), 89.
had more to gain from trade than from
conflict.
By 2016 Western donors had disbursed over
$30 billions of aid in the OPT.[2] The US, one
of the largest single donors to Palestinians,
has acted as the arbiter determining the
politics of the Peace Process and how aid is
disbursed. The EU meanwhile is the biggest
Western donor to Palestinians. Substantial aid
has also flowed in from other Western donors
including Canada. In fact, in the period this
paper examines, Canada is one of the top
donors to Palestinians, ranking in the top 12
at $USD 465 million for 2006-14 according
to OECD statistics.[3]
A substantial part of that Canadian aid was
run through Canadian non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), including the ones
covered in this study. Throughout the study
period Canada remained officially committed
politically to the Oslo Process and the
following policy on the occupation of the
Palestinians,
“Canada does not recognize
permanent Israeli control over
territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan
Heights, the West Bank, East
Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). The
Fourth Geneva Convention applies in
the occupied territories and establishes
Israel's obligations as an occupying
power, in particular with respect to the
humane treatment of the inhabitants of
the occupied territories. As referred to
in UN Security Council Resolutions
446 and 465, Israeli settlements in the
occupied territories are a violation of
the Fourth Geneva Convention. The
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2 Alaa Tartir, ‘How US Security Aid to PA Sustains Israel’s
Occupation’, Al Jazeeera, 2 December 2016,
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2016/11/secur
ity-aid-pa-sustains-israel-occupation-
161103120213593.html.
3 OECD, ‘QWIDS - Query Wizard for International
Development Statistics’, Organisation for Economic Co-
operation and Development, accessed 4 June 2014,
http://stats.oecd.org/qwids/.
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settlements also constitute a serious
obstacle to achieving a
comprehensive, just and lasting
peace.”[4]
Canadian Aid to the Palestinians and the
Oslo Peace Process
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By one calculation, Canada implemented
38,917 official development assistance
projects globally between 2000 and 2012, in
which $USD 35,301,239,778 had been
pledged but $USD 16,839,275,977 actually
spent.[5] Another calculation found the former
Canadian International Development Agency
(CIDA) shuttered in 2013 gave out more
than $1.7 billion for work in the Middle East
billion between 1989 and 2008.[6] Throughout
the 1990s, its average yearly expenditure
hovered around $65 million for the 21
countries in the Middle East and North Africa
region (MENA), spiking to $97.5 million in
1991/92 in the wake of the Madrid peace
conference between Israelis and Palestinians
that led up to the Oslo Accord. A spike in
disbursements between 2003 and 2007 also
rose to $207.5 million in 2003/04 due to an
increase in post-conflict reconstruction
commitments linked to Iraq. A sharp decline
in regional funding took place not long after
the Harper Conservative government’s 2006
electoral victory, though as will be described
only temporarily for Palestinian funding.[7]
Between 1993 and 2004 CIDA allocated on
average $25 million per year specifically to
the OPT. Total spending peaked at $333
million by the end of 2005 linked to Liberal
Prime Minister Martin’s ‘all of government’
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4 Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada, ‘Canadian Policy
on Key Issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict’, Government of
Canada, (13 January 2014),
http://www.international.gc.ca/name-anmo/peace_process-
processus_paix/canadian_policy-
politique_canadienne.aspx?lang=eng.
5 ‘Open Aid Data: Donor: Canada’, Open Aid Data, accessed 14
August 2014, http://www.openaiddata.org/donor/301/2012/.
6 Marie-Joëlle Zahar, ‘Talking One Talk, Walking Another: Norm
Entrepreneurship and Canada’s Foreign Policy in the Middle
East’, in Canada and the Middle East in Theory and Practice,
ed. Paul Heinbecker and Bessma Momani (Waterloo, Ont.:
Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007), 51.
7 Ibid.
approach to OPT aid work, covering areas
such as Palestinian Authority (PA) budgetary
support, refugees, child welfare, municipal
infrastructure and capacity building, and civil
society.[8] After a brief dip in spending that
came after the Harper Conservative
government was elected in 2006, a substantial
$300 million Palestinian ‘aid’ package was
allocated for 2008 to 2013, amounting to
roughly $60 million per year.[9] This was part
of Canada’s commitment to the 2007
December 17th Paris conference that raised
$USD 7.7 billion for the western-backed PA
government of President Abbas, making
Canada one of the largest donors.10
A Short History of Oslo Era Canadian
Engagement
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A popular and mainstream interpretation of
Canadian Middle East policy advanced by
many Canadian academics is that for decades,
up until at least the time of the Harper
government (2006-15), Canada’s politicians,
diplomats, and media considered the Israeli-
Palestinian conflict to be the core issue in the
Middle East, and that solving that conflict
would bring regional peace, security, and
stability. Within that interpretation, Brynen
and Tansley argue that this choice came due
to Canada’s impartiality in the Arab-Israeli
conflict and Canada’s historic commitment to
the global issue of refugees.[11]
As such Canada’s main entry into the Peace
Process began during the 1990s starting with
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8 Rex Brynen, ‘Canada’s Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace
Process’, in Canada and the Middle East in Theory and
Practice, ed. Paul Heinbecker and Bessma Momani (Waterloo,
Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007), 80.
9 Campbell Clark, ‘Harper Pledges Aid to Palestinians, Rebuffs
Questions on Israeli Settlements’, The Globe and Mail, 20
January 2014,
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-meets-
with-abbas-pledges-66-million-in-new-aid/article16403907/.
10 ‘Press Release of 22 January 2008 - In the Name of the Chair and
the Co-Chairs of the International Donors’ Conference for the
Palestinian State’ (Consulate General of France in Jerusalem, 23
January 2008), http://www.consulfrance-jerusalem.org/Press-
Release-of-22-January-2008.
11 Rex Brynen and Jill Tansley, ‘The REFUGEE WORKING
GROUP of the Middle East Multilateral Peace Negotiations’,
Israel-Palestine Journal 2, no. 4 (Autumn 1995),
http://prrn.mcgill.ca/research/papers/brytan.htm.
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work on the issue of Palestinian refugees.[12]
Canada also became a member of the 15-
member Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC)
that was established in 1993 to coordinate
how donors give in the West Bank and
Gaza.[13] Canada further contributed to the
development of an important civil society
network called the Palestinian NGO Network,
and it established a low-level diplomatic post
in Ramallah, the Canadian Representative
Office to a recently established PA
government, in 1999. Canada also provided
funding and political support for a number
research projects on alternative approaches to
peace known as ‘Second Track’ or ‘Track II’
from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. That
process brought together individuals from
academia, civil society and former officials
for ‘problem solving workshops’, ‘interactive
conflict resolution’, ‘informal diplomacy’,
and ‘multi-track diplomacy’ in what became
known as the ‘Ottawa process’.[14] Later,
Canada also joined the Task Force on
Palestinian Reform (TFPR), yet another
international coordinating body running from
2002 to 2006 to oversee donor support for PA
reform efforts at the height of the Second
Intifada.[15]
The Canadian government engaged early with
civil society in its attempt to foster peace. In
the 1990s CIDA attempted to bolster NGOs
working on the Middle East by sponsoring the
creation of a Middle East Working Group
(MEWG).[16] This was part of CIDA’s
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12 Both the US and Israel seemed more comfortable with a Canadian,
rather than a European, chair of the highly sensitive refugee
issue in the Refugee Working Group (RWG). Brynen, ‘Canada’s
Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process’, 75–76.
13 It is worth noting that East Jerusalem is often not mentioned in
Canadian aid work or research on Canadian policy in the Middle
East, even though it is technically part of the OPT.
14 Rex Brynen et al., ‘The “Ottawa Process”: An Examination of
Canada’s Track Two Involvement in the Palestinian Refugee
Issue’ (IDRC Stocktaking Conference on Palestinian Refugee
Research, Ottawa, Canada, 2003).
15 Brynen, ‘Canada’s Role in the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process’,
76.
16 During the 1980s and 1990s NGOs began to emerge as more
significant players in Canadian foreign and development policy.
They were often represented through NGO collectives formed
around specific issues. One area where there had been a
noticeable absence of NGO collective was over the Middle East
broader strategy for nurturing the growth of
Palestinian civil society by working with
secular, local organisations that adopted
concepts popular in the lexicon of liberal
democracy and sustainable development,
while specifically excluding Islamic
NGOs.[17] The first MEWG event consisted
of a 1993 June workshop in Ottawa attended
by 20 delegates from NGOs in Lebanon,
Egypt, Jordan, and the OPT, and 100
delegates from Canadian NGOs to discuss
topics concerning four sectors of overseas
development work: human rights, women,
education and training, and the
environment.[18]
Eventually many Canadian MEWG members
became concerned that the issue of
Palestinian refugees outside the OPT was
being ignored, and that refugee voices were
being excluded from the Western-backed
Peace Process. This eventually brought
elements of MEWG into conflict with work
being carried out by Canadian representatives
in the RWG, and drew the ire of Foreign
Affairs officials who became concerned that
CIDA was supporting a group that was
challenging government policy. A push with
greater strength by MEWG members
advocating for the political rights of
Palestinians and refugees eventually led
Foreign Affairs to lose interest in MEWG and
the RWG. Canadian civil society was not
doing what the government wanted. That led
to a loss in funding from MEWG, which was
transferred to Track II efforts as an alternative
way of engaging with Palestinian refugees,
civil society, regional actors and academics.
Later under the Martin Liberal government,
following a 2005 foreign policy statement, an
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
until MEWG was formed. Paul Kingston, ‘Promoting Civil
Society Advocacy in the Middle East and at Home: Non-
Governmental Organizations, the Canadian International
Development Agency, and the Middle East Working Group,
1991-2001’, in Canada and the Middle East in Theory and
Practice, ed. Paul Heinbecker and Bessma Momani (Waterloo,
Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007), 117.
17 Ibid., 123.
18 Ibid.
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increased emphasis was put on the promotion
of democracy to reduce terrorist recruitment,
alleviate poverty, and foster sustainable
development in the developing world. Canada
considered itself a legitimate contributor
reflecting ‘Canadian values’.[19] Around this
time some Canadian aid recipients working in
the Middle East were required to sign
disclaimers verifying that they had no links
with terrorist organisations like Hamas. This
added significant administrative overhead to
overstretched Canadian NGOs and further
concern about whom they could work with,
since much of Palestinian society could
somehow be linked directly or indirectly to
the dozens of Palestinian organisations listed
as terrorist groups by Canada. This also had
the further effect of stigmatising Palestinian
NGOs with an Islamic connection – a process
which began in the 1990s and strictly
limited the ability of Canadian aid
organisations to make contact with large
sections of the Palestinian society they were
supposed to be working with to address
problems like poverty and terrorism.[20]
Forms of Aid Engagement
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Liberal party governments (1993-2006) often
funded dialogue projects aimed at peace
building, or refugee work and capacity
building. That capacity building included a
lurch toward security and judicial reform
under Prime Minister Martin (2004-6), which
ballooned into a preoccupation with ‘security’
under the Harper Conservative government
elected in 2006. The Harper government was
inclined to focus spending on items such as
building courts and prisons to help a Western-
backed PA maintain control and quiet in the
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19 Janine Clark, ‘Canadian Interests and Democracy
Promotion in the Middle East’, in Canada and the Middle
East in Theory and Practice, ed. Paul Heinbecker and
Bessma Momani (Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier
University Press, 2007), 94.
20 Bruce Muirhead and Ron Harpelle, ‘The International
Development Research Centre and the Middle East:
Issues and Research’, in Canada and the Middle East in
Theory and Practice, ed. Paul Heinbecker and Bessma
Momani (Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier University
Press, 2007), 153.
OPT. Conservative engagement included
building on Martin’s state-building efforts,
from economic to public sector reforms,
stimuli for business and free trade, and some
support for farmers, while responding to
periodic humanitarian calls for funding by
multilateral organisations like the World Food
Programme (WFP) and the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations (FAO).
Canada’s aid package to the OPT from 2008
to 2013 was one of its most significant
foreign aid commitments, perhaps remarkably
so considering the Harper government’s
seeming aversion to global aid spending and a
strong pro-Israel bias. The focus of most of
the funding was though on the PA security
sector.[21] This approach was supported by
Israel, and it reduced Israel’s own military
costs by outsourcing rule of parts of the OPT
to a PA funded by Israeli allies in the
West.[22] Canada thus joined the US and
Britain on a multilateral mission of security
reform.
Under the supervision of US General Dayton,
they would build a PA force that could patrol
the Israeli occupied West Bank and Gaza. In a
2011 profile of Canadian Lieutenant-Colonel
Ron Allison, ‘Dayton's chief of liaison in the
West Bank’, a report in Allison’s hometown
newspaper the ‘Times & Transcript’ stated,
“The Dayton team was concerned
with enhancing security on the West
Bank of Palestine and was all geared
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
21 Ilan Evyatar, ‘Canada’s Continuous Commitment’,
Jerusalem Post, 9 September 2010,
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-
Contributors/Canadas-continuous-commitment.
22 The Dayton security-training mission was controversial
among senior US officers at the Pentagon, because its
goal was to create a military force that cooperates in
conjunction with Israel. They argued this will raise
serious objections among Arabs and harm United States
interests in the region. A US army colonel said in 2009,
‘This is just a stupid idea it makes us look like we’re an
extension of the Israeli occupation’. Mark Perry,
‘Dayton’s Mission: A Reader’s Guide - The Palestine
Papers’, Al Jazeeera, 25 January 2011,
http://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/2011/01/20111
25145732219555.html.
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towards looking after and ensuring the
security of Israel.”[23]
Former Canadian Ambassador to Israel Jon
Allen told the Canadian Jewish News the
basis of this Canadian aid was,[24]
“To create a Palestinian security force
to ensure that the PA maintains
control of the West Bank against
Hamas.”[25]
Canada’s government seemed pleased with
what it was funding. During a visit to the
Middle East in January 2012, then foreign
Minister John Baird said he was, ‘incredibly
thrilled by the West Bank security situation,
which he said benefited Israel’.[26] Citing
Canada’s assistance in training Palestinian
judiciary, police, prosecutors and corrections
officers, Baird said, ‘Canada considers this
money well spent’.[27] An Israeli Embassy
spokesman said in a statement that,
“Israel supports a stable and reliable
Palestinian Authority with a
dependable security system and an
effective judiciary, and Israelis
appreciate Canada’s assistance to the
Palestinian Authority in these
important areas.”[28]
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23 Yves Engler, ‘Canadian Aid to Palestinians Serves Israel’,
The Huffington Post, 19 July 2013,
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/yves-engler/canadian-aid-
palestine_b_3612547.html.
24 Jon Allen was, as Ambassador to Israel, among several
hundred Canadian Jews to be commemorated at a
dedication site in Canada Park, built on Palestinian
villages ethnically cleansed in 1967. Jonathon Cook,
‘Canadian Diplomat Honored on Confiscated Palestinian
Land’, The Electronic Intifada, 18 June 2009,
http://electronicintifada.net/content/canadian-diplomat-
honored-confiscated-palestinian-land/8303.
25 Engler, ‘Canadian Aid to Palestinians Serves Israel’.
26 Patrick Martin, ‘Canadian Ministers Take Firm Line with
Palestinians’, The Globe and Mail, 30 January 2012,
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadian-
ministers-take-firm-line-with-palestinians/article547280/.
27 Ibid.
28 Lee Berthiaume, ‘Israel Urged Canadian Government Not to Cut
Aid to Palestinians over UN Vote: Documents’, National Post,
accessed 23 October 2013,
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/09/israel-urged-canadian-
To what extent Canadian ‘aid’ to OPT was
benefitting Israel post 2008 was revealed in
heavily censored briefing notes, prepared by
CIDA for then International Development
Minister Julian Fantino ahead of a PA move
seeking recognition as a de facto state at the
UN General Assembly in 2012 November.
The Conservative government had warned the
PA of dire consequences should they push
ahead with their initiative, threatening that
Canada might stop providing aid to the PA
beginning with $40 million left on the Paris
Conference commitment. The notes revealed
that Israeli officials, by contrast, highlighted
the importance of Canadian aid to the PA,
urging Canada to maintain its assistance,
“There have been increasing
references in the past months during
high-level bilateral meetings with the
Israelis about the importance and
value they place on Canada’s
assistance to the Palestinian Authority,
most notably in security/justice
reform”, reads the note dated Nov. 2,
2012 and signed by CIDA president
Margaret Biggs. “The Israelis have
noted the importance of Canada’s
contribution to the relative stability
achieved through extensive security
co-operation between Israel and the
Palestinian Authority”. The note is
heavily censored, but does go on to
state that, “the emergence of popular
protests on the Palestinian street
against the Palestinian Authority is
worrying and the Israelis have been
imploring the international donor
community to continue to support the
Palestinian Authority”.[29]
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
government-not-to-cut-aid-to-palestinians-over-un-vote-
documents/.
29 In 2010, the Canadian government decided to stop providing direct
budgetary support to UNRWA. Applauded by some segments of
the pro-Israel lobby in Canada, documents obtained by Ottawa-
based foreign policy newspaper Embassy in July 2011 showed
Israel was among a number of countries that unsuccessfully
urged Canada to reverse its decision. Ibid.
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In 2010 January President of the Canadian
Treasury Board Victor Toews announced that
Canada would end support to UNRWA,
redirecting funds to other entities that the
Canadian government thought would be spent
on projects that reflect Canadian ‘values’
while ‘safeguarding Israel’s security’. Those
cuts were announced not long after Israel’s
heavy 2008/9 bombardment of Gaza left the
territory in a severe state of disrepair and
acute need of aid typically delivered by
UNRWA. Canada had until then typically
been providing UNRWA with a up to 4 per
cent of UNRWA’s annual budget, a very
significant sum for an overstretched
agency.[30] So just when Gazans and
UNRWA most needed funding for a
humanitarian disaster, Canada reinforced the
impact of the bombings by withdrawing
funding.
Material & Methods – The Experience of
Canadian Aid Organisations
So, what was the experience of Canadian civil
society organisations delivering aid to work
within this context? To understand this, and
better ascertain the intentions behind official
Canadian government policy, I interviewed
sixteen project coordinators from ten
Canadian organisations delivering aid to the
OPT from 2001 to 2012. I did this through
semi-structured interviews that delved into
their experiences at the design,
implementation and outcome stages that
characterise conventional aid projects. What I
do in this paper is focus on their experiences
in the implementation stage, and compare it
with publicly known cases and policy in the
period.
Of those ten organisations, they were carrying
out either human rights and advocacy
projects, or capacity building and poverty
reduction development projects.[31] All
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30 Palestine Solidarity Network, ‘Action: Canada Cuts Aid to
UNRWA’, Activist, Palestine Solidarity Network, accessed 16
September 2014, http://psnedmonton.ca/2010/01/29/action-
canada-cuts-aid-to-unrwa/.
31 Generally speaking, each of those categories of projects can be
described as developmental, because they seek to bring about
worked within the boundaries of official
Canadian policy. Their projects also
represented a very significant part of
Canada’s aid engagement with the OPT for
the period. All interviews were kept
anonymous to encourage participation and
due to a Harper government crackdown on
Palestinian aid work taking place at the time
of the interviews. All original names were
replaced with gender-neutral pseudonyms,
while organisations are referred to with a
number. Organisations 1 through 4 and their
seven interviewees ran human rights and
advocacy projects, while organisations 5
through 10 with nine interviewees ran
capacity-building and poverty reduction
projects.
Of the organisations doing Human Rights and
Advocacy work,
Organisation 1 was a relatively large
organisation with typically more than
40 staff and a budget in the millions of
dollars, but which mostly engaged
with the OPT on a limited scale with
small funds or as part of larger
regional projects. Ash and Emory are
the interviewees.
Organisation 2 was a small Canadian
registered charity run nearly
exclusively by volunteers, which
typically worked on a small annual
budget in the tens-of-thousands of
dollars devoted primarily to
Palestinian aid work. Ryan and Casey
are the interviewees.
Organisation 3 was a medium-sized
charity with typically fewer than 40
staff and a budget that generally sat
around several million dollars per year
for global engagement, including a
great deal of OPT engagement. Remy
and Taylor are the interviewees.
Organisation 4 was a medium sized
charity with well under 40 staff and a
budget that ranged from highs of a
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
changes to reduce poverty long-term at a structural level, and
bearing in mind that the premise of the Oslo-aid process was
meant to bring peace to the region by reducing poverty through
the use of development aid.
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few million dollars to lows of several
hundred thousand dollars per year in
the study period. Hayden is the
interviewee.
Of those doing Capacity Building and Poverty
reduction work,
Organisation 5 ran a judicial aid
project running in the OPT from 2005
to 2012 with a significant budget of
over several million dollars and
several staff. Kim is the interviewee.
Organisation 6 was a relatively large
organisation with over 40 staff and a
budget in the range of tens-of-millions
of dollars, where OPT aid work was
always an important area of work.
Jamie and Alexis are the interviewees.
Organisation 7 had just several staff
while funding a Middle East capacity
building aid project of over ten million
dollars in the study period, where
most funding was for the OPT. Quinn
and Kai are the interviewees.
Organisation 8 was a charity with just
several staff in Canada and a budget
that ranged per year from highs in the
hundreds-of-thousands to lows in the
tens-of-thousands of dollars, with a
focus on funding Palestinians in the
OPT or regionally in the Middle East.
Sawyer is the interviewee.
Organisation 9 is a large charity with
more than 40 employees and an
annual budget in the tens-of-millions
of dollars, which ran a significant
multi-million dollar project in the
OPT in the study period. Morgan is
the interviewee.
Organisation 10 had just several staff
but an annual budget typically in the
millions of dollars in the study period,
sometimes exceeding ten million
dollars, and significant engagement
with the OPT including singular
development projects that exceeded a
million dollars in worth. Blake and
Dallas are the interviewees.
Bearing in mind that all organisations have
different structures, and to maintain
anonymity, the heads of a Board of Directors
are referred to as ‘Chairperson’, and the heads
of the paid staff managing an organisation’s
day-to-day affairs ‘CEO’. Canada’s
government department for foreign affairs
had several different official names
depending on the period and government in
power. For consistency it will be referred to
mostly as ‘Foreign Affairs’.
Results– Challenges from Canada when
Implementing Projects
Despite the incredible challenges that come
with managing aid projects in the OPT, which
really cannot be overstated, overwhelmingly
the project coordinators spent their time in the
interviews discussing the challenges they
faced in Canada. For instance, Remy said that
of all the challenges Organisation 3 faced
funding rights projects in the OPT, they found
the politics of Israel and Palestine in Canada
to be the most challenging issue they dealt
with.[32] Likewise Blake and Dallas said their
greatest challenges were from Canada.[33]
Jamie said that politics in Canada was always
the hardest part of Organisation 6’s OPT
work.[34]
Those challenges were sometimes the result
of Canadian regulations that were not suited
for conditions in the OPT. Government rules
and regulations for project reporting could
cause enormous headaches, such as for
instance the requirement that Organisation 10
physically keep original receipts for all
project expenses in Canada, even though PA
law requires that all originals remain in the
OPT. Due diligence requirements swamped
Organisation 10 with unreasonable levels of
work and unclear requirements they said
hampered their ability to carry out charitable
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
32!Remy!(2014!August!28)!23min24s!to!25min38s!
33 Blake/Dallas (2012 March 30) 38min10sec to 38min29sec
34!Jamie-2!(2014!August!25)!51min57s!to!53min50s!
Jeremy)Wildeman!
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projects. In another case, strict expectations
that Canadian organisations maintain ultimate
financial and managerial control over their
projects led CIDA to not want Kim at
organisation 5 to offer full financial
disclosure of their project to their Palestinian
partner. Yet, that would have undermined
Organisation 5’s ethos of full transparency
and equality in their partnership, and made
working in partnership more difficult. Overall
though, the greatest challenge came from the
politics of Israel and Palestine in Canada.
Pro-Israel Political Pressure within
Canada
Several interviewees pinpointed political
interference by pro-Israel lobby groups
operating in Canada as playing an important
role in undermining their aid projects,
organisations and even personal lives. For
example, Organisation 4 faced a lot of
pressure stemming from their human rights
advocacy work in the Middle East, especially
work done on behalf of the Palestinians.
Hayden says they would get a lot of
complaints at their office when they wrote
about the political situation in the OPT.
Activists in the powerful pro-Israel lobby
regularly targeted Organisation 4 and would
frequently accuse them of anti-Semitism over
their publications about human rights in the
region. Those accusations of anti-Semitism
were made without a basis.[35]
On top of being slandered with anti-Semitism,
Organisation 4 was accused of supporting
terrorism by NGO Monitor, a radical Israeli
non-profit associated with the right wing.
NGO Monitor listed a number of groups it
alleged were terrorist, including an alternative
media centre in the OPT. These were
allegations made without a reliable basis in
verifiable fact. Organisation 4 was supporting
some of those organisations using Canadian
government funding. By NGO Monitor’s
logic that meant the Canadian government
was funding terrorist organisations via
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
35!Hayden!(2014!August!27)!13min30s!to!15min28s!
Organisation 4.[36] Further, those allegations
against Organisation 4’s operations may
likely have contributed to it later losing
government funding.
Fomenting Internal Strife and Paralysis
!
For Organisation 1 links on its Board of
Directors to NGO Monitor would exacerbate
a vicious fault line that existed between the
staff, who wanted to include Palestinians in
their human rights advocacy work, versus a
Board of Directors that had elements that
leaned strongly pro-Israel.
Since the early days of interviewee Emory’s
work at the organisation, the Board had
stymied his/her work with Palestinians, such
as when his/her CEOs would prevent him/her
from producing any organisational statements
about Palestinian rights – from the late 1990s
to the early 2000s. Further, while the staff at
Organisation 1 would have open discussions
and debates about the projects they were
funding, Emory’s Middle East projects were
always kept out of those open discussions in
order to avoid drawing attention to them; and
his/her budget to run projects was always kept
very small. Emory attributed that to pressure
put on Organisation 1’s CEO from the
Canadian pro-Israel lobby, which always had
a presence on the Board.[37]
While Organisation 1 did defend the right of
Palestinian human rights organisations to
operate, Emory wryly noted that this is very
different than saying Palestinians themselves
have the same rights as anyone else.[38]
Fundamentally, Emory knew that his/her
support for Palestinian rights in his/her role
was sharply limited by the pro-Israel lobby
and the impact of Israeli politics on his/her
organisation. Emory claimed that that
influence came via lobbying efforts by the
Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), and
pressure by the Canadian government.[39]
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
36!Hayden!(2014!August!27)!13min30s!to!15min28s!
37 Emory-2 (2012 March 22) 25min20s to 30min07s
38 Emory-2 (2012 March 22) to 25min20s to 30min07s
39 Emory-2 (2012 March 22) 50min16s to 53min08s
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Emory said that if you work on Israeli-
Palestinian issues in Canada, you have
constantly to contend with the powerful pro-
Israel lobby groups like the CJC.[40] He/she
further said that there was always a member
from that lobby sitting on their Board keeping
tabs on the work of Organisation 1, either
from the CJC or the more right-wing B’nai
Brith, a Jewish-Canadian charity. He/she said
this was done with the tacit approval of the
Canadian government, and that those
lobbyists would liaise either directly or
indirectly with the Israeli government.[41]
The 2008/2009 Israeli Operation Cast Lead
bombardment of Gaza caused mass
devastation in the territory, and this
galvanised the staff at Organisation 1 to
action. Thus, they formulated three small
projects to document human rights
violations.[42] As was tradition by that point
for the staff at Organisation 1 when working
on Palestinian human rights projects, the three
projects were designed to be small enough to
not have to be reviewed by the Board of
Directors. However, Organisation 1’s recently
appointed CEO was striving for maximum
transparency. The CEO was also cognisant
that Israel-Palestine was a sensitive issue for
the Board so being anything other than
transparent was totally unacceptable to
him/her.[43]
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
40 Emory-2 (2012 March 22) 53min08s to 59min01s
41 Emory-2 (2012 March 22) 53min08s to 59min01s
42 Following the bombardment, the CEO and staff had tried to
release a ‘balanced’ statement condemning the violence.
Ash says that his/her ideas was, ‘basically to tell
everybody [in the region] to cool down and to sort of
keep humanitarian aid in place, and that was it. It was
just a statement’. Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 23min39sec to
23min48sec The CEO went to the Board and found a
great deal of resistance, where some Board members
wanted to blame only Hamas for the violence. Ash-1
(2012 March 21) 24min29sec to 24min45sec
43 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 26min28sec to 27min07sec Ash
said the CEO of Organisation 1 was a respected
bureaucrat who had come in to clean up the organisation
after mismanagement by the previous CEO, and,
‘decided to announce everything and be transparent about
specifically what we were doing in the Palestinian
territories’. Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 05min04sec to
5min15sec
For this reason the staff at Organisation 1 had
to prepare a whole sheet of questions and
answers about the three (tiny) projects for the
Board. The staff researched the organisations
well and felt they had addressed every
possible question that might be asked.44 They
were sure that they took a balanced approach
to human rights, including by funding an
Israeli organisation, and were confident that
the organisations would document abuses
regardless if they were carried out by
Palestinians or Israelis.[45] Ash even argued
that the projects were beneficial to Israel as a
democratic state, because they promoted free
speech and tolerance.[46]
Organisation 1’s staff were not prepared for
the reaction a recent government appointed
Director/Chairperson would have a
Chairperson who had a close relationship with
NGO Monitor. On being told about the
projects, Ash said, ‘The guy [the Chairperson]
went ballistic. He was like foaming at the
mouth’.[47] The problem the staff at
Organisation 1 faced was that at the level of
their Board there were members, such as that
Chairperson, who considered the three human
rights organisations to be anti-Israeli. Worse,
Ash observed that some of those Board
members believed those well-respected
Palestinian and Israeli organisations were
somehow ‘terrorist entities’,
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
44 Those were highly respected organisations known for their
unbiased and well-documented approach to abuses of
human rights. They had received international awards
and been funded by Emory without controversy in the
1990s. Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 12min30sec to
13min58sec
45 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 36min55sec to 38min12sec
46 Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 08min18sec to 14min40s!
47 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 27min08sec to 27min27sec Ash
says the Chairperson seemed unstable and always seemed
to go off on tangents about being Jewish, regardless of
the topic. Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 47min59s to
48min45sec At one point the Chairperson called a staff
member on the phone warning that he is not to be messed
with, saying ‘I’m telling you my parents survived the
holocaust, and you will not bring me down with this’.
Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 47min52s to 47min59s
Jeremy)Wildeman!
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12!
Ash said that for them, ‘It was a matter of
principal that the projects should not have
been. You are giving money to terrorist
organisations’. I asked Ash, ‘Who are the
terrorist organisations again’? Ash then said
the Board named the two Palestinian
organisations, ‘And [the Israeli organisation]
was They’re not. They’re not on any
[terrorist] list’. I asked of Ash, ‘So they’re not
considered terrorist organisations…’? Ash,
‘No, No, they’re not. But you never know.
That was what we were told’.[48] Those three
organisations were thus labelled guilty until
proven innocent.
Board members opposed to the grants wanted
the staff to denounce the projects they had
funded, and to bring the money back. When
those Board members could not see the
request fulfilled, they froze the fund for small
grants that the staff had used for the human
rights projects.[49] Since the partners were so
well established, and the funds relatively
small, one in the West Bank returned the
funds – including with the bank transfer fees.
Ash described the move as, ‘don’t give me
shit over $10,000’.[50]
This all led to a couple of intense Board
meetings in the spring and summer of 2009,
where the CEO of Organisation 1’s
performance was evaluated because of the
projects.[51] Ash notes that in the summer
meeting the Board would not give the CEO
his personnel evaluation, even though they
were required by law to do so, and the CEO
was forced to make an Access to Information
request to see it. The Board, for what was a
human rights organisation, was incensed at
the CEO fulfilling his/her right and falsely
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
48 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 38min43sec to 38min12sec
49 The CEO meanwhile pledged to fight against their actions. Ash-3
(2012 March 22) 07min25sec to 08min18sec In addition to
freezing the small special projects fund, the Board of Directors
stalled other projects in order to undermine them and took away
some of the CEO’s authority. They also accused the CEO of
funding faith organisations and accused him/her of attending a
conference where a Hezbollah member was in the same room.
Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 28min29s to 37min10s
50 This was an organisation Emory funded in the 1990s. Ash-1 (2012
March 21) 26min23sec to 26min27sec
51 Ash said 2010, but it is likely 2009.
claimed that the CEO had had no right to see
the evaluation.[52] The Board in response
established a committee of four people meant
to review the CEO further, which included the
Chairperson and another highly partisan pro-
Israel activist. That committee was meant to
rewrite the evaluation by the end of 2009,
with an aim of specifically not allowing the
CEO read it. Meanwhile, the Chairperson and
a partisan Board member excluded the other
two Board members of the committee from
the process of writing the review, prompting
one to resign and alert Foreign Affairs about
the questionable review process.[53]
NGO Monitor
!
NGO Monitor appeared to play a role in the
problems Organisation 1 faced. NGO
Monitor’s CEO-founder Gerald Steinberg is a
British-born, Israeli Political Scientist who
works at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, where
he established a ‘Program on Conflict
Management and Negotiation’.[54]
NGO Monitor essentially argues that
international aid projects have contributed to
Palestinian terrorism and that established
international human rights NGOs, such as,
‘Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty
International, Christian Aid, Oxfam and
dozens of smaller allied groups have
contributed to hatred, rather than supporting
peace’ in Israel and the OPT.[55] Steinberg
also says that, ‘In contrast to their PR images
as peacemakers, the one-sided approach of
the NGOs boosts radical Palestinian
voices’.[56] Based on this argument, NGO
Monitor analyses Palestinian aid projects
seeking out ways to show their biases and
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
52 Ash says the Board members further said something along the
lines that they were giving the CEO a bad evaluation and would
recommend he not get a bonus. Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 28min29s to
37min10s
53 Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 28min29s to 37min10s
54 ‘Steinberg Gerald | Department of Political Studies’, accessed 10
February 2015, http://politics.biu.ac.il/en/node/692.
55 Gerald Steinberg, ‘Human Rights Groups Are Working Against
Peace’, NGO Monitor, 13 January 2005, http://www.ngo-
monitor.org/editions/v3n05/HumanRightsGroupsWorkingAgain
stPeace.htm.
56 Ibid.
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then tries to have them defunded. Canada
proved to have multiple points of entry
receptive to NGO Monitor’s message.
Ash gave an example of how this would
work. He/she said that NGO Monitor would
go through the reports of the three human
rights organisation that Organisation 1
funded, to see if they referred to the Israeli
military with terminology like ‘occupation
forces’. NGO Monitor would then point to
that use of terminology as evidence of
bias.[57] NGO Monitor further accused the
organisations of wrong doings, which could
not be corroborated by any source other than
NGO Monitor itself.[58]
Nonetheless, NGO Monitor’s specious claims
may have proved critical to informing the
opinions of several Board members at
Organisation 1, including the Chairperson.
According to the interviewees those specific
Board members seemed to base their evidence
against the three organisations the staff had
funded, solely on an uncorroborated case put
forward by NGO Monitor.[59]
They would not even accept counter-
arguments made by their own management
team against NGO Monitor’s claims. The
CEO of NGO Monitor also happened to be a
very good friend of the then Chairperson of
Organisation 1,
“He happened to be a very, very good
friend of [the Chairperson], our board
member. Our Board member had
asked specifically to fly him out of
Israel so that he could talk about the
dangers of funding Palestinian
organisations. And when my
management committee refused that,
it was war between [the CEO of
Organisation 1] and [the
Chairperson].”[60]
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
57 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 17min37sec to 18min09sec
58 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 13min59sec to 14min13sec
59 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 32min43sec to 39min47sec
60 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 16min11sec to 16min35sec
Ironically the CEO took his/her position intending to
NGO Monitor and the pro-Israel Board
members at Organisation 1 did not even
accept the idea that the inclusion of the Israeli
human rights organisation created political
balance for the grants. The reason the Board
members gave was that the Israeli
organisation came from the Israeli left. Ash
said that those Board members claimed,
‘They are like, it’s biased, they don’t care
about Israel and they’re misleading
people’.[61]
NGO Monitor seems also to have had a hand
in undermining a project at Organisation 6,
which was funding a well-respected
Palestinian research institute. Jamie said it
was widely believed among Organisation 6’s
staff that Gerald Steinberg had identified and
singled out this partner because it had signed
a document calling for more rights for Arab
citizens in Israel. For this reason, Steinberg
objected to Organisation 6 funding that
Palestinian NGO (PNGO).[62] Alexis was
even more certain that Steinberg’s
involvement scuttled the project.[63] He/she
said the project was scuttled during the
implementation phase after Steinberg raised
questions about the partner and the project.[64]
Alexis was told that NGO Monitor had ‘some
kind of influence’ at Foreign Affairs and in
the Harper Prime Minister’s Office. For this
reason, Organisation 6 took NGO Monitor’s
questions seriously.[65] As a result, Alexis had
to put together talking points about the project
with his/her team in response to the concerns
raised by NGO Monitor against their
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
change the culture of Organisation 1 making its processes
more transparent. His/her predecessor would allegedly
just give money to friends, as the Chairperson had
wanted to do by flying in his friend Gerald Steinberg
from NGO Monitor for a talk which the CEO had
opposed. Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 42min49s to 46min35s
61 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 42min45sec to 43min26sec
62 Jamie-2 (2014 August 25) 36min18s to 38min00s
63 Alexis (2014 October 4) 09min39s to 10min39s
64 Alexis (2014 October 4) 14min10s to 15min16s
65 Alexis (2014 October 4) 15min16s to 15min44s
Jeremy)Wildeman!
!
14!
project.[66] In many ways this was an odd
process because Organisation 6 had a rigorous
procedure for designing and choosing
projects. This was also odd because the
project and partner were considered low risk
at Organisation 6.[67]
They had a thorough vetting process, and
their partner on this project was
internationally renowned.[68] Meanwhile,
Alexis thought they should not even respond
to NGO Monitor.[69] His/her response to
senior management while helping write out
the talking points was to ask, ‘Why are we
even responding to NGO Monitor? They’re
not a credible sort of organisation’.[70] Ash
corroborated that opinion separately in his/her
interview from Organisation 1. When asked if
NGO Monitor’s reports were credible, Ash
said ‘no’,
“They have no references. They
actually accuse people by affiliation or
by hunches. By what they think. There
is not one aid organisation to the
Palestinians that is accepted by them.
Whether it be digging wells or
advocating for Palestinian rights. All
the same. Everything helping
Palestinians is bad. And if you go to
their website it’s not even well
documented. It’s all on what they
think or how they perceive things. I
would be very happy if they were like
an organisation that kind of dissected
things good and bad, and based it on
actual evidence. But they have no
evidence. It’s just by affiliation.”[71]
Hayden said that NGO Monitor seemed to
have some form of influence over Canadian
policy, because many people at CIDA had
been checking to see who NGO Monitor was
monitoring and would become concerned
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
66 Alexis (2014 October 4) 10min39s to 13min23s
67 Alexis (2014 October 4) 10min39s to 13min23s!
68 Alexis (2014 October 4) 00min00s to 03min50s
69 Alexis (2014 October 4) 14min59s to 15min16s
70 Alexis (2014 October 4) 14min46s to 14min59s
71 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 39min50sec to 41min13sec
when information came in identifying
organisations CIDA might be working with.
Hayden says that when CIDA itself was
targeted that created great concern at the
agency, due to NGO Monitor’s apparent
influence in the Harper government.[72] Even
though the legitimacy of NGO Monitor might
be questioned, it appeared to be succeeding in
its lobbying in Canada. Ash said,
“So, he [CEO Gerald Steinberg] has
been attacking all of these
organisations over the years, but I
think he’s winning. He’s, like now,
he’s been listened to in many circles
inclusive of the Canadian
government.”[73]
Canadian Government actions
undermining OPT Aid Projects
!
The political and practical challenges of
working in the OPT when under Canadian
government jurisdiction are important,
because many Canadian aid organisations rely
on the government for funding, either directly
or indirectly, and all are ultimately regulated
by it. Thus, the government could actively
undermine any Palestinian aid project if it so
wanted, and this is something that the
Canadian government appeared to choose to
do, particularly the Harper Conservatives.
Just two days after the Harper government
won its first election 2006 January 23rd,
Hamas won the 2006 January 25th Palestinian
election. Canada then became the first
country to place sanctions on the OPT and PA
in 2006 March over the results in what was
also one of the newly elected Harper
governments first major policy decisions, for
a Canadian government without any
experience governing at home or abroad.
Canada thus became the first of Israel’s allies
in the West to take this decision, most of
which would eventually follow suit. This
decision laid the grounds for a decade of
Canadian Middle East policy under Harper.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
72 Hayden (2014 August 27) 15min28s to 16min07s
73 Ash-1 (2012 March 21) 17min37sec to 18min09sec
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Projects and organisations receiving CIDA
funding were affected immediately.
Organisation 4 was forced in 2006 March to
halt work on the component of a project
involving a hand-over to a Palestinian
Ministry of two Gazan community centres
they had been supporting, because CIDA and
Canadian officials were no longer allowed to
work with the Ministry due to the post-
election boycott on the PA. This completely
undermined a key point of sustainability in
the project, of handing the centres over to the
Palestinian government.[74]
This would basically mark the death knell for
the project. Likewise, Organisation 5 was
forced to pause a judicial project in 2006
March and fell behind in its implementation,
harming the project long-term by establishing
a pattern of starts-and-stops that undermined
their overall work.[75] Organisation 5 also
never returned to work in Gaza, where Hamas
remained in power, fragmentising the project
further along the lines of a general OPT
fragmentation being enforced by Israel
fragmentation into the Gaza Strip, the West
Bank and East Jerusalem, and further within
those sections.[76] Morgan from Organisation
9 pointed out separately that patterns of stops-
and-starts in Canadian aid projects made it
impossible for them to get anything done in
the region, while reinforcing anything that the
Israelis did in the OPT.[77]
Morgan found the Canadian government to be
the biggest obstacle to his/her work. They
would limit what he/she could do, even
indirectly threatening him/her through
Organisation 9 on several occasions. When
Morgan met Canada’s highest ranked
diplomat in 2010 at the Canadian
Representative Office in Ramallah, he/she
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
74 FINAL REPORT 2007 Organisation 4 Gaza Project
DraftFinalTVTDec13, pp. 12
75 Organisation 5 Summative Evaluation Report FINAL 2014 Feb
28, pp. 11-12
76 Organisation 5 Summative Evaluation Report FINAL 2014 Feb
28, pp. 96
77 This reinforced the idea that Palestinians are essentially terrorists.
Morgan-2 (2014 December 18) 18min14s to 18min36s
was warned not to support advocacy work in
the OPT, asking Morgan what value they,
‘put on the financing that they receive from
the Canadian government’.[78] Organisation 9
took the threat seriously and panicked after
hearing about it, because it came after a
period of scandals where the Canadian
government had publicly defunded a number
of organisations for what appeared to be
punishment for their Palestinian advocacy and
aid work.[79] One immediate result was that
Organisation 9 dropped the word ‘advocacy’
from their operational lexicon, instead
adopting ‘communication’.[ 80 ] Further,
Morgan was effectively forced to drop a long-
standing Palestinian partner in the West Bank,
because that partner engaged explicitly in
advocacy work. He/she had to tell the partner
that Organisation 9 would stop supporting it,
explaining that otherwise the Canadian
government would shut down Organisation 9
in Canada itself.[81] The Palestinian partner
was not happy, but Morgan said they
understood the pressure.[82] Henceforward,
Morgan also did his/her best to avoid meeting
the Canadian Representative Office and
CIDA officials.[83]
Notably the Harper Conservative government
opposed any criticism of Israel or of Canada’s
Middle East policy. This stood in stark
contrast with a longstanding tradition in
Canada of NGOs holding government to
account. Thus, Organisation 9 was warned to
abandon all advocacy work, or be defunded,
which led to their dropping the capacity
building partnership with an advocacy-
oriented PNGO. The aforementioned
Organisation 1 was rocked by internal discord
over their small OPT rights advocacy work
caused by Harper appointees to their Board.
Organisation 6 was forced by the Canadian
government and pro-Israel lobbyists to
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
78 Morgan-1 (2014 December 15) 26min29s to 26min39s
79 Morgan-1 (2014 December 15) 26min02s to 27min23s
80 Morgan-1 (2014 December 15) 27min23s to 27min39s
81 Morgan-2 (2014 December 18) 22min50s to 24min38s
82 Morgan-2 (2014 December 18) 24min38s to 29min34s!
83!Morgan-1!(2014!December!15)!29min40s!to!30min59s!
Jeremy)Wildeman!
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abandon a project with a partner that had
advocated for Palestinian rights in Israel.
Meanwhile, Organisation 3 may have been
defunded due to advocacy work it did
questioning Canadian government policy,
especially over Palestine.
In 2009, Organisation 3 was one of a series of
organisations that saw federal government
funding halted by the Conservatives.
Evidence suggests this was done for partisan
pro-Israel purposes, very likely linked to
Organisation 3’s human rights and advocacy
work in the OPT. This was completely
unexpected because they had had a 2009 fund
request approved at every level of CIDA, and
were only waiting on what was considered a
formality at that point, a final sign-off by a
government Minister. They had expected, as
in past years, just to be funded again after
having had a good evaluation and audit.
CIDA had even recommended an increase in
their funding.[84] However, someone in
government rescinded approval at the last
moment.[85]
Once they were defunded, the result was
especially bad for their overseas partners.
Organisation 3 suddenly had to transfer a
75% budget cut on to their Palestinian
partners, sharply reducing their ability to
sustain programmes in the OPT.[86] One
immediate casualty was an Oslo Peace
Process inspired peace project in Jerusalem,
which was an organisation run by Israeli and
Palestinian women’s groups. With a limited
budget, they were forced at that point to give
up on the project after more than a decade of
funding.[87]
By defunding Organisation 3 the government
may have been seeking to score political
points with minority Jewish voters in key
ridings, as well as other pro-Israel advocates.
A prominent Canadian Minister even said that
defunding Organisation 3 was part of their
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
84!Remy!(2014!August!28)!14min10s!to!15min45s!
85!Remy!(2014!August!28)!13min22!to!14min10s!
86!Remy!(2014!August!28)!13min22!to!14min10s!
87!Remy!(2014!August!28)!09min31s!to!13min22!
government’s ‘fight against anti-
Semitism’.[88] However, organisation 3 had a
long history of working with partners in
Israel, including Israeli peace activists, and
supporting peace dialogue programmes. Their
organisational material also very clearly
opposes anti-Semitism. Remy was
unequivocal in saying that they were not anti-
Semitic.[89]
In response to the government actions, a
member of Organisation 3, not one of the
interviewees, described the incident to me in
an email saying that they were big enough of
an organisation that they could withstand
government intimidation and that they do not
scare easily, because they cannot be taken
down easily. Further, he/she said that as an
advocacy organisation they were used to
having arguments. He/she also said that
within Organisation 3,
“We debate constantly what exactly
are the motives of [that]
government vis-à-vis Israel. Many of
us are not convinced they’re religious,
though no doubt religion fits into the
picture somewhere.”[90]
Organisation 3 may have been big enough
and separate enough from the government for
one of its members to express that opinion.
Organisation 1 was completely at the mercy
of the government, because it was funded
mostly by government.
Not all of Organisation 1’s Board members
had been opposed to the three 2009 rights
projects. Rather, it was a vocal and powerful
minority that had been appointed recently by
the Conservative government.[91 ] That
minority was though so biased that they
purportedly referred to the West Bank as the
Israeli (and biblical) region of ‘Judaea and
Samaria’, a strongly ideological stance
acknowledging all Israeli claims to the
territory and specifically omitting the
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
88!Remy!(2014!August!28)!05min15s!to!07min40s!
89!Remy!(2014!August!28)!07min40s!to!08min00s!
90 EMAIL 1 Organisation 3 Project Details
91 Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 03min04sec to 05min14sec
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Palestinian presence in the West Bank. Such a
view makes impossible the notion of a two-
state solution that the Oslo Peace Process is
premised upon.[92] Ash even heard from more
moderate Board members, who eventually
resigned out of frustration, that the partisan
members basically had a problem with
‘anything Arab’.[93] Eventually the vocal
minority would gain a majority after further
government appointments of Christian
fundamentalist and Jewish pro-Israel activists.
Organisation 6 also faced a dilemma from
government influence and pro-Israel
lobbying. Interviewee Alexis ascertained that
the Israeli ambassador to Canada had not
been happy that Organisation 6 was funding
the PNGO targeted by NGO Monitor for
supporting Arab rights in Israel, and that
lobbying by the Israeli embassy may have
played a key role in the project being
cancelled during the implementation phase.
That ambassador had in particular not been
happy with political statements made by the
PNGO supporting equal rights for Palestinian
citizens in Israel.[94] Those objections by the
Israeli government representative to Canada
and NGO Monitor seemed to find a receptive
ear in the CEO of Organisation 6.
Officially that CEO argued when cancelling
the project that that they could not support the
Palestinian partner since the partner was
registered in Israel and Israel is a developed
country. Alexis’ solution would be then to run
the project through a partner in a developing
country instead.[95] The CEO though had said
it was too late for that unacceptable option to
work, telling Alexis the project should not
have been approved in the first place.[96] For
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
92 Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 03min04sec to 05min14sec
93 Ash-3 (2012 March 22) 05min15sec to 6min29sec
94!Alexis!(2014!October!4)!22min10s!to!23min40s!At!one!
point! when! asked! about! the! nature! of!that! meeting!by! a!
lawyer!contesting!the!case,!the!CEO!claimed!he/she!could!
not! answer! on! the! grounds! of! national! security.! Alexis!
(2014!October!4)!26min37s!to!26min58s!
95!Alexis!(2014!October!4)!17min30s!to!18min49s!
96!Alexis!(2014!October!4)!18min49s!to!19min57s!!
Alexis these appeared to be excuses and
double standards. For instance, Organisation
6 had a history of funding projects with
organisations in developed countries, such as
the UK, and has funded projects with Israeli
organisations.
At a meeting with senior management and the
CEO, with the fate of the project on the line,
Alexis spoke out strongly against cancellation
because there were no grounds for the
action.[97] He/she also argued that cancelling
the grant would have a highly negative impact
on the partner, undermining its viability as an
organisation. This would be unfair because all
of the implementation had been done well to
that point, and all necessary procedures
conducted appropriately.[98] When Alexis
disagreed with its cancellation, the CEO told
him/her to, ‘take it on the chin and move on’,
or look for work elsewhere; but that it was
likely better to look for a job elsewhere as
his/her team was going to need new
leadership anyway.[99] So Alexis was
essentially told he/she was going to lose
his/her job for standing up for the project.
And Alexis later would. The Palestinian
partner meanwhile was completely shocked
by an unprecedented cancellation of a running
project that had gone through a careful vetting
process.[100] The debacle did not go unnoticed
in the Middle East or OPT, destroying the
reputation of Organisation 6 overseas, as
happened to Organisation 1 for similar
reasons.[101]
Meanwhile at Organisation 3, because of the
Conservative Government Minister’s
accusations of anti-Semitism levelled against
them, Remy said that by the summer of 2014
they were still being linked to the ‘putrid’
accusation of anti-Semitism. Since the exact
reason they were defunded is difficult to
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
97!Alexis (2014 October 4) 17min30s to 18min49s
98 Alexis (2014 October 4) 18min49s to 19min57s
99 Alexis (2014 October 4) 19min57s to 20min55s
100 Alexis (2014 October 4) 21min16s to 22min10s
101 Jamie-2 (2014 August 25) 38min35s to 40min22s
Jeremy)Wildeman!
!
18!
pinpoint, this left their defunding open to
interpretation, and when a ‘credible’ source
like a prominent government Minister accuses
them of anti-Semitism that may seem for
some people to be a legitimate reason for their
defunding. Remy says they became part of a
group of Canadian organisations that have
been inaccurately characterised together as
groups contributing to a new ‘anti-Semitism’,
as also happened to left-wing student groups
advocating for Palestinian rights in an
accusation levelled by Members of
Parliament (MPs) in a non-government group
called the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition
to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA).102
Remy says that the accusation of anti-
Semitism spuriously asserted by the
government is found everywhere and is
highly problematic.[103] As an organisation
that had a long history of nonviolent
engagement and human rights work, Remy
found any accusation that they could support
violence or be anti-Semitism to be ‘levelled
without any rationale’.[104] At the same time
fighting those accusations absorbed a
tremendous amount of their time and energy,
affecting their operations overseas as their
office became strained by processes of self-
defence at home in Canada. This was inching
them toward an operational paralysis
experienced also at Organisation 1 over the
issue of Palestine.
In this climate accusations of terrorism or
anti-Semitism seemed to be being levelled
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
102 Remy (2014 August 28) 07min40s to 08min00s He/she
said there had been a whole redefinition of anti-Semitism by
Harper government, and said, ‘I just don’t accept the notion
that criticism of Israel,!the state, the policies of the state of
Israel represents anti-Semitism’. Remy (2014 August 28)
08min54s to 09min53s
103 Remy (2014 August 28) 42min17s to 44min43s Remy
said that it is difficult to continually fight a particular
narrative once it has spun out of control in the public sphere.
He/she said that the good news from their perspective is that
they fought the accusation in the media and that, other than in
extreme pockets, there now seemed to be consensus even in
parts of the right-wing media that the Conservative
government was attacking a particular organisation for
criticising government policy. Remy (2014 August 28)
46min54s to 48min20s
104 Remy (2014 August 28) 48min20s to 49min05s!
loosely and with ease against respected
individuals or human rights organisations. For
instance, Organisation 3 had had the
prominent government Minister accuse them
of anti-Semitism, while Board members at
Organisation 1 suggested their own CEO was
sympathetic to terrorism in their performance
review. Meanwhile, in the cases of
Organisations 1, 3, 4 and 6 the project
coordinators provided examples of NGO
Monitor undermining their projects by
lobbying management, possibly with support
of the Canadian government. Yet, despite the
problems during the Harper government
years, long-serving coordinators at human
rights and advocacy organisations like Ash in
Organisation 1, and Ryan and Casey at
Organisation 2 said it did not matter which
Canadian political party was in power. The
process of government backed suppression of
Palestinian aid and rights work was just more
pronounced and less hidden when the
Conservatives came to power.
Double Standards applied against
Palestinian Aid Work in Canada
!
Many of the interviewees could point out
specific instances of double standards being
applied to their work in the OPT or with
Palestinians, as compared to their own work
in other regions. For example, Blake and
Dallas at Organisation 10 described the
different standards of due diligence applied
by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to
their work in the OPT as opposed to
Afghanistan. The double standard always
worked against Palestinians, such as elevated
requirements and higher obstacles. Following
an audit by the CRA, Organisation 10 were
told that they should conduct due diligence
checks on all of the people they are working
with, everywhere they were working in the
OPT.[105] To do this they were told by CRA
authorities to look at a variety of terrorist lists
beyond just the Canadian one, such as the
UK, the US and the Israeli ones.[106] Blake
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
105 Blake/Dallas (2012 March 30) 18mins00s to 23min30s
106 They say that at one point the CRA even asked
Organisation 10 to visit as many websites as they could
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and Dallas said that even if you put a name
into those lists and there was no hit, the name
might appear on an Israeli list as an ‘alleged’
terrorist, which the CRA would treat as guilty
without evidence.[107] Further, Blake and
Dallas said people can be accused of
misdoings in the OPT simply because of a
family connection to someone, even if they
themselves were innocent.[108] Even a fourth
degree connection might imply guilt for the
CRA.[109] Dallas and Blake were given an
impression that Canadian authorities were
working on a principle of ‘guilty until proven
innocent’, with the onus put on Organisation
10 to prove the innocence of any people they
were working with in the OPT.[110]
Taylor at Organisation 3 said that Israel and
the OPT presents a particularly unique
challenge compared to working in other
regions around the world. He/she pointed out
that if you were to criticise the Colombian
government for its human rights record or
policies, you will not be described as ‘anti-
Colombian’. By contrast if you criticise Israel
you are labelled anti-Israeli, or anti-
Semitic.[111] Yet Taylor argues that human
rights are universal, and he/she cannot
understand why standards should be applied
differently in different places.[112] Ryan
described the same paradox when serving as
the Chairperson of the Board for a charity that
often dealt with cases of torture in Latin
America. When he/she wanted to support a
mental health centre in Gaza, the charity
leadership asked that he/she do so on a private
basis. They wanted nothing to do with
Palestine. Ryan said,
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
from around the world checking the backgrounds of
partners and beneficiaries as part of their due diligence.
Blake/Dallas (2012 March 30) 42min35sec to
43min50sec
107 Blake/Dallas (2012 March 30) 40min30sec to 41min15sec
108 Blake/Dallas (2012 March 30) 38min10sec to 38min29sec
109 Blake/Dallas (2012 March 30) 50min01sec to 51min07sec
110 Blake/Dallas (2012 March 30) 51min14sec to 51min24sec
111!Taylor!(2014!September!4)!35min44s!to!37min17s!
112!Taylor!(2014!September!4)!37min17s!to!39min47s!
“Why on my own? If when we had
gone to Central America I’ve been
fully representing the [the Canadian
organisation]? Why not support the
[Gazan organisation]? Is torture not
the same thing in Gaza as it is in Latin
America?”[113]
It may be different in Canada. In 2014,
following Israel’s third devastating
bombardment of Gaza in just six years, Ryan
said the CEO of that same Canadian charity
wrote a ‘letter of concern’ that omitted the
two key concepts that are fundamental
problems in the Israeli-Palestinian
relationship, ‘international law’ and
‘occupation’.[114] Deliberately leaving out
accurate descriptions of the OPT appears
though to be the norm in the Canadian
discourse, and that represented a serious
problem to Ryan. So while ‘terrorism’ is used
repetitively to describe Palestinians, terms
that emphasise Palestinian rights are not used
and Ryan believes this contributes to a
heavily biased interpretation of the conflict in
Canada.[115]
Double standards were even applied
internally to the way in which Palestine was
funded at the organisations. Emory says that
funding for work in the OPT was structured
different than with other regions Organisation
1 worked in. Each year Organisation 1 would
focus on a theme, and project coordinators
were expected to defend the projects they
were funding in a group discussion. There
was though never a discussion about the
Middle East budget, when it briefly existed
for rights work at Organisation 1. Any
discussion was kept deliberately quiet and
between just the CEO and Emory.[116] Of the
numerous projects Emory ran over the years,
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
113 Ryan (2014 December 2) 32min09s to 32min30s
114!Ryan!(2014!December!2)!33min56s!to!38min41s!
115!He/she! said! that! all! the! Popes! have! appealed! for!
international! law! in! the! conflict,! yet! the! Canadian!
government!dares! not!say! that.!Ryan! (2014!December! 2)!
33min56s!to!38min41s!
116 Emory-2 (2012 March 22) 30min07s to 34min40s
Jeremy)Wildeman!
!
20!
it was the Palestine ones where he/she found
people did not ask any deep questions, until
the time came that they wanted to find an
excuse to halt a programme. Then he/she says
they would ask pointy questions, because they
wanted to kill it.[117]
Image 1: Palestinians Protest a Visit by Canada’s
Foreign Minister to the OPT in 2015 January[118]
Given the anti-Palestinian biases described
above, some coordinators indicated that being
Canadian eventually became a liability in the
OPT. [119] Ash said that at one time it had been
good for an organisation to have support from
a Canadian donor, because Canada had had
such a positive reputation. That would accrue
prestige to an organisational CV, potentially
helping an organisation to raise more funds.
In that way even small Canadian funded
projects were understood to have had a
broader value for a PNGO, because it gave
legitimacy to raise additional funds elsewhere
in the world.
The change towards liability may have been
recognised in the Canadian government itself.
At one point Kim had someone from Foreign
Affairs come to Organisation 5 asking for
assistance with a project, saying bluntly,
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
117!Emory-2!(2012!March!22)!1h15min25s!to!1h18min14s!
118 Joseph Brean, ‘“Baird You Are Not Welcome in Palestine”:
Protesters Hurl Eggs and Shoes at Canada’s Foreign Minister’,
National Post, 18 January 2015,
http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/israel-middle-
east/baird-you-are-not-welcome-in-palestine-protesters-hurl-
eggs-and-shoes-at-canadas-foreign-minister.
119!Ash-3!(2012!March!22)!48min45sec!to!54min30s!
“Look our reputation is crap, we need
to be able to help out the Abbas
government basically. We can’t put
through new sources of funding. So is
there some way you can work through
your project to support the Ministry of
Justice in particular.”[120]
That degradation of Canada’s image over its
ardent support for Israel, at the expense of
Palestinians’ basic rights, also impacted on
Organisation 5’s project. When they finally
were able to recommence their project six
months after the stoppage imposed on them
by the Canadian government in 2006 March,
many of the actors on the ground had changed
and some of them resented Canada for being
the first to boycott the Palestinian election’s
results. For instance, there was a new
Palestinian Chief Justice who had a very bad
perception of Canada.[121] As Janine Clark
had warned in the late 2000s,
“An inconsistency in implementing
Canadian-promoted values or an
inconsistency in how Canada treats
actors only serves to undermine its
programs, credibility, and values.”[122]
Uncovering a Pattern of Oppression
!
Despite the difficulties inherent to carrying
out development aid projects in the OPT, the
project coordinators I interviewed were
fixated on problems in Canada. Theirs was
pretty much a universal experience of
frustration stemming from their own
government undermining their projects, their
organisations and even their careers.
Government interference could be indirect,
including regulations that were incongruent
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
120 Kim (2014 August 7) 25min07s to 25min40s There was a
‘gentleman’s agreement’ that Foreign Affairs would replenish
the funds Organisation 5 dedicated to that requested part of their
work, but Foreign Affairs never followed through on their part
of the bargain. Kim (2014 August 7) 26min41s to 27min06s
121!Kim! says! that! Canada’s! bad! image! in! the! OPT! was! also!
beginning!to! impact!negatively! on!their!work,!though!they!were!
able!to!overcome!that!with!time.!Kim!(2014!August!7)!16min30s!
to!21min6s!
122 Clark, ‘Canadian Interests and Democracy Promotion in the
Middle East’, 9192.
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with the actual context of the OPT. Too often
though interference consisted of direct
government sabotage of their work, which
became particularly overt during the Harper
Conservative government years from 2006
onwards.
The organisations that suffered most tended to
be the ones that carried out human rights
advocacy work for Palestinians, which might
be construed as political, while an
organisation that was predominantly Muslim
and more ‘technocratic’ suffered equally to
all. When obstacles erected by government
moved from indirect interference to direct
interference, there came a pattern of
oppression that appeared in several stages.
This affected 15 out of 16 interviewees
representing 9 of the 10 organizations. That
pattern consisted of:
1. When possible, placing ardent pro-
Israel advocates in key positions of
power at an organisation, such as on
the Board of Directors, where they
could sabotage its work and cause
operational paralysis. Such advocates
tended to represent the extreme right
of the political spectrum, and often
could be described as holding racist
views towards Arabs, Muslims and/or
Palestinians.
2. Defunding a specific aid project or an
entire organisation. This could include
threatening organisations with the loss
of funding or offering them funding if
they abandoned their Palestinian
work. Often just the fear of seeing
others defunded was enough to scare
organizations into debilitating self-
censorship. Defunding could also
include letting funding lapse on a
project that might be renewed.
3. Launching an audit of an organisation
via the CRA. This could lead to their
loss of charitable status and ability to
fundraise.
4. Shutting down an entire organisation.
Typically, this would be linked to
specious accusations of anti-Semitism
or allegations of sympathy for
terrorism.
Thus, it was that Organisation 1 had its Board
of Directors riddled by pro-Israel advocates
installed by the government, the first
incoming group of which went after their own
staff for trying to fund some small human
rights projects. This paralysed the
organisation. The Board also instigated an
audit while giving its CEO a biased and
negative review that included accusations of
his/her being sympathetic to terrorism, all in
an opaque process that circumvented notions
of proper governance. Ultimately the
government closed Organisation 1 down a
few years after the tumult began.
Organisation 2 was one of the first
organisations to be audited, taking place in
2006 around the time of the death of their
CEO. In a murky process, Casey said he/she
was confronted with an auditor who
suggested Casey was sympathetic toward
terrorism. Organisation 3 was defunded by
the government, despite a positive
recommendation by CIDA, and then publicly
accused by a Minister of anti-Semitism. As of
late 2015 it was still being audited by the
CRA. Organisation 4 was also defunded by
the government and told that its stance on the
OPT is problematic. It was also still in the
midst of a CRA audit in 2015.
The government never directly sabotaged
organisation 5, though Kim’s CIDA funded
project went through constant stop-and-starts
for political reasons, and those ultimately
prevented it from succeeding well in its
intended developmental aims. The same
political interference also prevented them
from working in Gaza after the 2006 PA
election, forcing them effectively to respect
the ongoing fragmentation of the OPT that
was undermining the two-state solution
Canada officially backed. Kim further said
the CIDA personnel he/she dealt with were
generally not qualified to understand the work
they were carrying out. Worse, Kim found a
number of the CIDA personnel were sexist
Jeremy)Wildeman!
!
22!
and racist, and CIDA paperwork
overwhelming to the point of undermining
their work. Ultimately the project did not
receive new funding in 2012.
Kai likewise felt that CIDA’s monitors of
Organisation 7’s project were not qualified
for their role. While Organisation 7 had more
success than most relying on CIDA to expand
its programme in the region, this came
primarily by its going around CIDA to the
politicians in charge. This included, in the
most challenging times of Harper
Conservative governance, going to Canada’s
pro-Israel lobby and the PA President
Mahmoud Abbas for recommendations for a
funding renewal from CIDA, which still
failed. Project coordinator Quinn noted he/she
would not have been comfortable receiving
funding from the Conservative government,
anyway, given their oppression of other
organisations.
Organisation 8 experienced the least
suppression, though it preferred the Liberal
government and saw funding for projects
become worse both in structure and
availability from the 1990s onwards. A
review of its accounts also reveals declining
funds during Conservative rule. Organisation
9 continued to function with government
funding, but to retain funding Morgan had to
drop a PNGO partner involved in rights
advocacy work following a threat from
Canadian officials. Similarly, Organisation 6
had been forced to take the unprecedented
action of withdrawing funding, without good
reason, during the implementation of a project
with a Palestinian partner, all due to political
interference by pro-Israel advocates. The
reason was that the partner was a supporter of
Palestinian political rights work within Israel.
This severely tarnished the reputation of the
organisation in civil society circles, led to a
lawsuit and settlement, led to a negative
restructuring in the way their projects are
managed, and eventually resulted in a
destructive high turnover in personnel.
Finally, Organisation 10, a predominantly
Muslim charity, suffered nearly as harsh a
fate as Organisation 1. It constantly faced
challenges meeting Canadian regulations,
discovering a double standard in
accountability existed that was more stringent
for them compared to non-Muslim
organisations like Oxfam doing similar work.
Likewise, they found government standards
for due diligence were bizarrely higher for
their OPT projects as opposed to their
projects in Afghanistan. They eventually were
served an audit and by 2011 lost their
charitable status, while also being hit with
accusations of terrorism.
Discussion – Comparing the Anonymous
Interviewees to Public Cases of Oppression
This section balances and contrasts the
anonymous interviews with cases in the
public record in Canada for that period.
Charitable organisations working with
Palestinians faced incredible scrutiny and
worked in constant fear from the Harper
government. For instance, in 2009 the
Conservative government took a decision to
cut off federal funding for the progressive aid
group KAIROS, set-up by a coalition of
leading Churches. Immigration Minister
Jason Kenney told an Israeli audience in 2010
that the organisation was cut off because the
government did not like its views on Israel,
and because it took a ‘zero tolerance approach
to anti-Semitism’.[123] Kenney justified this
stance based on allegations made against
KAIROS by three right-wing pro-Israel
organisations: B’nai Brith, the Canadian
Christian College and NGO Monitor.[124]
Minister for International Cooperation Bev
Oda was ‘technically’ in charge of the
decision to defund KAIROS. She insisted,
along with other Conservative government
members, that the decision was just a matter
of procedure – a fair and routine decision.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
123 Bahija Réghaï, ‘Policy and Prejudice: De-Funding Canadian Aid
Projects | Rabble.ca’, Rabble.ca, 18 January 2010,
http://rabble.ca/news/2010/01/policy-and-prejudice-defunding-
canadian-aid-projects.
124 The former two would nominate Harper for a Nobel Prize
nomination in 2014. Michael Bolen, ‘Stephen Harper’s Nobel
Prize Nomination Sparks Outrage’, The Huffington Post, 2
September 2014,
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/09/02/stephen-harper-nobel-
prize_n_5752828.html.
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However, the decision was anything but
routine. Documents surfaced in 2010 that
show CIDA's top officials signed a
memorandum recommending $7,098,758 of
new funding be granted to KAIROS over a
period of four years. At some point someone
tampered with the document inserting the
word ‘not’ by hand in order to overturn the
decision.[125] The Conservative government
refused to say who took the decision and Oda
was rebuked by the Speaker of the House of
Commons for misleading a Commons
Foreign Affairs Committee about the affair.
At around the same time as the KAIROS
affair, a Canadian human rights organisation
called Rights and Democracy (R&D) was
plunged into turmoil over human rights grants
it made in the OPT. The Conservative
Mulroney government had established R&D
as an Act of Parliament in 1988 to provide
non-partisan support for Canada's foreign
policy. The Canadian government would fund
the organisation and name its Board of
Directors, though the organisation operated in
theory at arm’s length. By the 2010s it was
receiving about $11 million per year in
government funding, and reported directly to
Parliament.[126] It became embroiled in
internal discord during the early Harper years
as ardently right wing, pro-Israel government
appointees to the Board took issue with grants
to internationally renowned human rights
groups such as B'Tselem, Al Haq and Al
Mezan.
As a result of those grants the President of
R&D Rémy Beauregard was subjected to
slanderous allegations by members of his own
Board that he was supporting extremist
organisations, and also terrorism.[127] In 2009
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
125 Campbell Clark, ‘Speaker Rebukes Bev Oda over Document in
Kairos Case’, Globe and Mail, 10 February 2011,
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/speaker-
rebukes-bev-oda-over-document-in-kairos-case/article566676/.
126 ‘Rights & Democracy’, Voices-Voix, accessed 9 September 2014,
http://voices-voix.ca/en/facts/profile/rights-democracy.
127 Yet in spite of the accusations, the grants had been approved by
Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile prior to these board level
accusations, Beauregard had received a positive performance
review and a 2009 audit by the Auditor General of Canada had
five Board members wrote to then Foreign
Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon alleging
that the Board had become dysfunctional and
asked that an ardently pro-Israel Chairperson
named Aurel Braun be replaced.[128] The
Harper government responded by appointing
additional pro-Israel members to give the
Braun faction a majority.[129] A showdown
took place between Mr. Beauregard and the
partisan faction at a key meeting on 2010
January 7th where the Board voted to
‘repudiate’ the earlier human rights grants to
the OPT.[130] Beauregard died of heart failure
a day later, between tense meetings. Of
R&D’s 47 staff, 45 signed a letter demanding
that three pro-Israel Board members including
Braun be dismissed.[131] A Standing
Committee of the House of Commons called
for the agency to reconstitute its Board, which
the Harper government ignored by
reappointing the same Board members
responsible for precipitating the crisis.[132]
This happened when Harper still had a
minority government, prior to gaining a
majority in the 2011 election.
Former federal NDP leader and first President
of R&D, Ed Broadbent, believes the Harper
government wanted the organisation to cut
ties with any foreign group that criticised
Israel. Broadbent likened the situation to the
decision to cut funding for KAIROS.[133]
Broadbent and three other past presidents
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
been similarly positive. Ibid.
128 Janice Stein, a long-time Director of the Munk School of Global
Affairs at the University of Toronto, was Chair of the Board at
Rights and Democracy for several years prior to Aurel Braun.
129 ‘Rights & Democracy’.
130 Campbell Clark, ‘Ed Broadbent Defends Rights Agency’s
Independence’, Globe and Mail, 15 January 2010,
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ed-broadbent-
defends-rights-agencys-independence/article4303666/.
131 Bruce Cheadle, ‘The Staff of a Government-Funded Rights
Advocacy Group Is Calling for the Resignation of Three
Conservative Appointees from Its Board.’, The Toronto Star, 12
January 2010,
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2010/01/12/tory_appointee
s_unfit_for_rights_agency_board_staff_says.html.
132 Paul Wells, ‘Who the Tories Stand with on Human Rights’,
Macleans.ca, 4 February 2011,
http://www.macleans.ca/authors/paul-wells/who-the-tories-
stand-with-on-human-rights/.
133 Clark, ‘Ed Broadbent Defends Rights Agency’s Independence’.
Jeremy)Wildeman!
!
24!
including Warren Allmand, Jean-Louis Roy
and Jean-Paul Hubert asked Harper to
address, ‘a subversion of the independence
and integrity of the institution’.[134] During
Beauregard’s' funeral in Ottawa, which all the
R&D staff attended, its offices were
mysteriously burglarised and its computers
and files stolen. An expensive forensic report
ordered by the Braun faction meant to find
something defamatory against Beauregard
came up with nothing.[135] In 2012, the Harper
government announced it would close the
beleaguered organisation.[136]
Many other organisations that criticised
Israel, or Canadian government policy on
issues like the environment and women’s
equality, faced similar difficulties.[137] After
40 years of continuous federal government
funding, the Canadian Council on
International Co-operation (CCIC) had its
funding cut in 2010 July.[138] The CCIC acted
as an umbrella organisation for 90 Canadian
non-profits monitoring government policy on
foreign affairs, foreign aid, trade and peace
building. Another charity called Alternatives
with a long-standing record of receiving
funding over a period of 17 years from the
federal government, via CIDA, saw its
funding cut in 2009 December despite
positive evaluations by independent
auditors.[139] Alternatives had been founded in
1994 by a coalition of non-profits to foster
social justice, participatory democracy and
equal relations between richer and poorer
countries. They claimed they were denied
funding by the Conservative government for
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
134 Ibid.
135 ‘Rights & Democracy’.
136 Althia Raj, ‘Tories Killing Rights & Democracy Agency’, The
Huffington Post, 3 April 2012,
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/03/rights-and-democracy-
dead-funding_n_1399407.html.
137 Jillian Kestler-DAmours, ‘Canada Clamps down on Criticism of
Israel’, Al Jazeeera, 22 July 2011,
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2011/07/2011720636
8409551.html.
138 Maria Gergin, ‘Silencing Dissent: The Conservative Record’,
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 6 April 2011,
https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/silen
cing-dissent-conservative-record.
139 ‘Alternatives’, Voices-Voix, accessed 9 September 2014,
http://voices-voix.ca/en/facts/profile/alternatives.
speaking out on Israeli-Palestinian relations,
costing them a $2.1 million grant they
expected receive for 2009-10.[140] A Haifa-
based Arab research organisation Mada al-
Carmel received three grants from an arm’s-
length, government funded ‘Crown’
corporation, the International Development
Research Centre (IDRC).[141] Money was
earmarked for a study on the marginalisation
of women in Arab-Israeli society and low
levels of political participation by Arabs with
Israeli citizenship. In the second year of the
grant, 2009 March, without good cause IDRC
cancelled grants worth $800,000 that
amounted to 40% of the Palestinian partner
organisation’s budget.[142] There were
allegations of interference by the Israeli and
Canadian governments. IDRC President
David Malone acknowledged that concern
over funding was first brought to his attention
by the oft aforementioned NGO monitor, and
the events led to a 2010 April lawsuit by
Mada al-Carmel against IDRC.[143] An out of
court settlement was agreed to in favour of
Mada al-Carmel 2010 September.[144]
In the wake of the first major bombardment
(2008/9) of Gaza by Israel, the Canadian Arab
Federation (CAF) made public statements in
early 2009 critical of the State of Israel, as
well as the Canadian government and certain
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
140 Richard J. Brennan, ‘A Montreal-Based Human Rights Group
Says It Is Being Denied Funding by the Conservative
Government for Speaking out on Israeli-Palestinian Relations.’,
The Toronto Star, 13 February 2010,
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2010/02/13/montreal_grou
p_accuses_ottawa_of_halting_funds_over_middle_east_issue.ht
ml.
141 Crown corporations are a special type of Canadian entity wholly
owned by a federal or provincial government that nonetheless
operates at arm's length from government.
142 Patrick Martin, ‘Arab-Israeli Group Takes Canadian Agency to
Court Over Terminated Funding’, The Globe and Mail, 1 July
2010, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/arab-israeli-
group-takes-canadian-agency-to-court-over-terminated-
funding/article1215647/.
143 As recently as 2007 researchers at Bir Zeit University had
perceived IDRC as one of the more progressive western
organisations for showing a significant degree of understanding
of the needs of researchers. Bessma Momani and Agata
Antkiewicz, ‘Canada’s Economic Interests in the Middle East’,
in Canada and the Middle East in Theory and Practice, ed. Paul
Heinbecker and Bessma Momani (Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid
Laurier University Press, 2007), 164.
144 ‘Mada Al-Carmel’, Voices-Voix, accessed 9 September 2014,
http://voices-voix.ca/en/facts/profile/mada-al-carmel.
The Canadian Journal for Middle East Studies Vol2 (1) July 2017
!
!
25!
public figures, all while advocating for
Palestinian human rights.[ 145 ] Shortly
thereafter, Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration Kenney instructed Citizenship
and Immigration Canada (CIC) to cancel
funding worth millions of dollars used for
programmes for incoming immigrants run by
CAF. That effectively undermined CAF’s
operational budget.[146] In a similar case, in
2012 January the Canadian government
announced that funding for a Mississauga-
based non-profit Palestine House would not
be renewed after 2012 March 31 over
concerns that Palestine House was ‘an
extremist institution supporting
terrorism’.[147] Established in 1994, Palestine
House had provided language and settlement
services to new immigrants, for which it had
received substantial federal funding.
In 2011, after a one-year suspension the CRA
chose to strip the Muslim-Canadian
humanitarian charity, International Relief
Fund for the Afflicted and Needy Canada
(IRFAN-Canada), of its charitable status. Its
troubles with the government included years
of tax audits, legal battles and public
vilification by prominent Canadian
Conservatives, which included a lawsuit and
an out-of-court settlement for publicly
alleging that the charity was tied to Hamas
terrorists.[148] By 2013 IRFAN suspended its
operations after the Canadian Imperial Bank
of Commerce won court approval to close its
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
145 ‘Canadian Arab Federation’, Voices-Voix, accessed 9 September
2014, http://voices-voix.ca/en/facts/profile/canadian-arab-
federation.
146 Tanya Talaga, ‘Immigration Minister Jason Kenney Made No
Apologies Yesterday for Ending the Flow of Funds to the
Canadian Arab Federation, Which He Says Has Expressed
Support for Terror Groups.’, The Toronto Star, 19 March 2009,
http://www.thestar.com/news/ontario/2009/03/19/kenney_has_n
o_regrets_over_cutting_off__arab_group.html.
147 Haroon Siddiqui, ‘Hitman Jason Kenney Strikes Again’, The
Toronto Star, 15 February 2012,
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/2012/02/15/hitman_jason_kenn
ey_strikes_again.html.
148 Colin Freeze, ‘Mississauga Charity Loses Licence to Issue Tax
Receipts’, The Globe and Mail, 8 April 2011,
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/mississauga-
charity-loses-licence-to-issue-tax-receipts/article597379/.
bank accounts.[149] The CRA would later cite
findings that IRFAN,
“Provided over $14.6 million in
resources to operating partners that
were run by officials of Hamas,
openly supported and provided
funding to Hamas, or have been listed
by various jurisdictions because of
their support for Hamas or other
terrorist entities.”[150]
By 2014 April 29, a week before IRFAN was
set to launch a Federal Court appeal against
the CRA ruling, the Canadian government
declared it a terrorist organisation and that the
federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police
(RCMP) would launch a ‘terrorist financing
investigation’.[151] IRFAN’s lawyer denied
the charges, while questioning the timing of
the move occurring just prior to a court
appeal. One of the CRA allegations was that
IRFAN’s Gaza-based charity partner Ard El
Insan dealt with a food importer Israel
accused of providing funding to terrorist
groups. Yet Ard El Insan was in good enough
standing to be able in 2013 August to partner
with the large global charity Save the
Children Foundation to combat malnutrition
in babies.[152]
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
149 Stewart Bell, ‘Relief Organization That Allegedly Supported
Hamas Suspends Operations after CIBC Closes Bank Accounts’,
National Post, 15 July 2013,
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/15/relief-organization-
that-allegedly-supported-hamas-suspends-operations-after-cibc-
closes-bank-accounts/.
150 Canada Revenue Agency, ‘Summary of Reasons for Revocation -
INTERNATIONAL RELIEF FUND FOR THE AFFLICTED
AND NEEDY (CANADA)’, accessed 9 September 2014,
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/ebci/haip/srch/revcausesumm-
eng.action?r=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cra-
arc.gc.ca%3A80%2Febci%2Fhaip%2Fsrch%2Fbasicsearchresult
-
eng.action%3Fk%3Dinternational%2520relief%2520fund%26a
mp%3Bs%3Dregistered%26amp%3B%3DSearch%26amp%3Bp
%3D1%26amp%3Bb%3Dtrue%26amp&bn=885408849RR0001
.
151 Olivia Ward, ‘Ottawa Has Put IRFAN-Canada on a Blacklist and
RCMP Has Launched a Terrorist Financing Probe, but Group
Calls Accusations against It “vague and Unsupported.”’, The
Toronto Star, 29 April 2014,
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/04/29/canadian_musli
m_charity_listed_as_terrorist_organization.html.
152 Ibid.
Jeremy)Wildeman!
!
26!
While there have been legitimate questions
raised about the partisan nature of Liberal
government ties to Israel, the Harper
Conservative government appeared to be
brazenly applying rules and regulations
against Palestinian aid and rights efforts, all
based on a partisan interpretation of Canada’s
relationship with Israel, and an affinity for
Israel’s ongoing politics towards the
Palestinians. In 2012, the federal government
budget launched a $13.4 million programme
meant to audit charities for political
activities.[153] Auditors were looking for any
evidence of partisan political activities, such
as the endorsement of political candidates or
the violation of a rule that limits a charity’s
political activity to no more than 10% of its
resources. It targeted environmental groups,
international aid organisations and social-
justice groups, many of which publicly
questioned government policy.[154] By 2014
September 1 some 52 charities were affected.
The CRA claims that it works at arm’s length
from government, but the type of charities
targeted suggested otherwise.[155] Research by
the Broadbent Institute indicated that
progressive charities, not conservative ones,
were being singled out for punitive audits.[156]
For this reason the Broadbent Institute called
for an independent probe of the CRA, saying
tax auditors were targeting critics of the
Harper government while letting right-leaning
groups escape scrutiny for their political
activities.[157] What the Institute failed to note
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
153 Prior to Harper, Canadian NGOs had a rich history of advocacy
work in Canada. NGOs and NGO coalitions have often operated
under a dual mandate: promoting the activities of overseas NGO
partners in their own countries with the help of the Canadian
government and acting as an advocate for the collective interests
of these overseas partners within Canada. Kingston, ‘Promoting
Civil Society Advocacy in the Middle East and at Home: Non-
Governmental Organizations, the Canadian International
Development Agency, and the Middle East Working Group,
1991-2001’, 121.
154 Dean Beeby, ‘CRA Targeted Left-Leaning Think Tank for Audit
for Being “Biased”’, The Huffington Post, 1 September 2014,
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/09/01/canadian-centre-for-
policy-alternatives_n_5748436.html.
155 Dean Beeby, ‘Why the CRA Seems to Pick Government
Opponents for Its Charity Audits’, The Huffington Post, 3
August 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/08/03/cra-
charities-audit_n_5645387.html.
156 J Baglow, ‘The Canada Revenue Agency Doubles down’, 1
September 2014, http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/j-
baglow/2014/09/canada-revenue-agency-doubles-down.
157 Dean Beeby, ‘Revenue Canada’s Political Activity Audits Biased,
was the link to Israel and Palestine in many of
those cases, or to notice that the methods used
to target left-leaning charities may have been
honed first on organisations supporting
Palestinians.
Conclusion
Canada is not impartial on the topic of Israel
and the Palestinians. It has a preferred side
Israel. Interviewee Ryan concluded that in
Canada rights and advocacy work for
Palestinians has always been viewed
differently than for other peoples, because
their oppression was carried out by a friendly
government. Not only friendly, but very
friendly, and thus was considered
justifiable.[158]
During a diplomatic drift closer towards Israel
that became noticeable during the Martin
Liberal government, and very overt under the
Harper Conservatives, Canada’s official
policy did not technically deviate from
support for the Oslo Process or the two-state
solution. Most Canadian civil society
organisations thus operated development and
peace-building projects within parameters set
out by the Peace Process. Yet behind the
facade of official policy, the government of
Canada adopted a habit of tacit, wholesale
approval for Israeli policies, no matter how
repressive and contrary they were to the
Peace Process. They also undermined
Canadian organisations who ran aid projects
that might get in the way of Israeli policies
towards the Palestinians, just by working
within the parameters of Oslo. Thus,
informally and unofficially the government of
Canada was opposing the Oslo Process and its
own official policy through its actions.
The Harper government in particular adopted
a simplistic checkerboard view of world
relations, looking at the world as one made up
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Think-Tank Says’, CBC, 21 October 2014,
http://www.cbc.ca/1.2806217.
158!Ryan! (2014! December! 2)! 32min30s! to! 33min56s! for! that!
reason!Ryan!said!the!Canadian!government!did!not!want!the!real!
situation!for!Palestinians!to!be!too!public!in!Canada!
The Canadian Journal for Middle East Studies Vol2 (1) July 2017
!
!
27!
of ‘good guy and bad guy’ countries, very
much in the vein of Huntington’s Clash of
Civilisations.[159] Since Israel was one of
Canada’s closest allies, a ‘good guy country’,
this seemed to help highly partisan Israeli
advocacy groups, such as NGO Monitor or
the Israeli-inspired CPCCA, to play a role
shaping the Canadian government’s policies
toward Canadian civil society organisations
that were supporting Palestinian ‘bad guys’.
This led to an oppression of those Canadian
groups, while rendering much of their
development aid projects ineffective.
Fundamentally the tactics used to carry out
this oppression represent an undermining of
transparency in governance and of the
democratic process. They may have been first
honed against the margin of Palestinian aid
and rights work, but were likely later wielded
against other progressive groups. In this way,
the social forces contending Israel and
Palestine were destabilising Canada. They
almost certainly contributed to further
undermining any Peace Process and Canada’s
official policies, too. They also provide an
understanding for the fear that surrounds
Palestine solidarity and aid work in Canada to
this day.
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... Toward achieving SDGs, implementation of IDA projects entails several complexities on the ground. These complexities might be political (Wildeman, 2017), ethical (Jackman, 2018), legislative and logistical (Tirmizi and Vogelsang, 2016). They might relate to ethnic conflicts (Bayiley and Teklu, 2016), incidents of terrorism (Lambert, 2018), language barriers (Brehm, 2019), legitimacy of provided services (Noh, 2019), lack of local capacities (McEvoy et al., 2016) or perceptions of intentions and relevance of help (Ubalijoro, 2018). ...
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