NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


  May 2, 2014

Harper Government Brands Charity Aiding Palestinian Orphans A 'Terrorist Organization'


Yves Engler: Canadian government attacking aid groups aiding needy Palestinians while giving tax-exempt status to organizations bankrolling Israeli settlement expansion, considered illegal under international law
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


Audio

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



I support the Real News because without The Real News we would have no real news at all. - WWH
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


biography

Yves Engler is a Canadian commentator and author. His most recent book is The Ugly Canadian - Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy, and previously he published The Black Book of Canadian Foreign Policy and Canada in Haiti: Waging War on The Poor Majority


transcript

Harper Government Brands Charity Aiding Palestinian Orphans A 'Terrorist 
Organization'SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries in Baltimore.

In Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police raided the offices of a Canadian aid group, IRFAN. And it labeled this a terrorist organization.

Here to talk about all of this is Yves Engler. Yves Engler is a Canadian commentator and author, his most recent book, The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper's Foreign Policy.

Yves, what's going on in Canada?

YVES ENGLER, AUTHOR AND POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Well, this is a big step forward in the Conservative government's extreme pro-Israel policy, labeling a Toronto-area Muslim charity a terrorist organization--only the second time that a domestic organization has been labeled a terrorist organization, added to Canada's terrorism list. This is a campaign, a decade-long campaign that the Conservative government has been waging, Conservative Party has been waging against this, the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy, which is a--operating in numerous countries around the world, obviously including Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza. And before coming to office, then Conservative official Member of Parliament Stockwell Day in 2004 claimed that IRFAN was a front for Hamas.

There was a--the Canada Revenue Agency looked into the matter back then, did not find that was the case. Once the Conservatives took office in 2006, once again the Canada Revenue Agency was prodded to look into IRFAN. They, after a long investigation, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating the organization. They concluded that IRFAN was in fact providing resources to Hamas. The main evidence against IRFAN was that it had delivered a dialysis machine to a hospital in Gaza. The hospital in Gaza fell under the Health Ministry. When Hamas won elections in 2006, of course they took control of the Health Ministry in Gaza, hence claim that IRFAN was supporting Hamas. Also, IRFAN continued to provide support for orphans in Gaza. The money was channeled through the post office. The post office, again, when Hamas won elections in 2006, was overseen by Hamas. So you have the Canada Revenue Agency claiming that this money was--because a dialysis machine and money through the post offices, which are operated by or overseen by Hamas, therefore IRFAN was supporting Hamas.

It's a completely bizarre accusation, because even during the time of the conflict between Hamas and Fatah, which dominates in the West Bank, IRFAN continued to work with Fatah, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, who were furious, you know, basically at war with Hamas. So Fatah and the Palestinian Authority did not consider IRFAN to be a supporter of Hamas. But for some reason the Canada Revenue Agency has information that the Palestinian Authority does not have on that front, which is very hard to believe.

And now what you see happening is basically not only--this was about three years ago that they had--IRFAN had their charitable status revoked by the Canada Revenue Agency--and the charitable status means you can give people a tax write-off when they donate money. So that's something that is very helpful to charities. But now they had their charitable status revoked three years ago, and now they're actually being branded as a terrorist organization. And this happens only a week before IRFAN was going to court with the Canada Revenue Agency over the matter of their having their charitable status revoked. So the timing of this attack against--or the listing of IRFAN is of very questionable timing.

But it really--this has to be seen in the context of the Conservatives' ardently pro-Israel policy, their repeated attacks against nongovernmental organizations, solidarity groups that in one way or another have supported the Palestinian cause.

PERIES: Yves, it appears that there's a coordinated effort by the Canadian government to isolate organizations working in Palestine. And is there a similar assessment of organizations, Jewish organizations working in the region?

ENGLER: Well, certainly in terms of groups that are seen as pro-Israel, it's a completely different perspective. I mean, there's lots of Jewish organizations in this country that are critical of Israeli policy, and those groups tend to be offside with the Conservative government. But there's a number of charities in this country that support different Israeli institutions, including the Israeli Defense Force, including settlement projects in the West Bank, in the occupied West Bank, which contravene international law. And in 2010, the Conservative minister in charge of the Canada Revenue Agency said it was openly--it was acceptable for Canadian charities to openly raise funds for settlement projects, which, again, are contrary to international law, and even ostensibly contrary to official Canadian policy.

So on one hand, you have a situation where the Conservatives are targeting a Palestinian or a Muslim charity based in Canada that funds orphans, that provides support for orphans in Gaza, that has provided support for a hospital in Gaza. So they're targeting them and they're actually accusing them of being terrorists. On the other hand, they're making it openly acceptable for registered charities in this country to raise funds for settlements, to continue to support the Israeli Defense Forces. And so this is ostensibly being subsidized by the Canadian taxpayer, because registered charities provide tax receipts to donors, and that can be as much as 40 percent of the money ostensibly comes from Canadian taxpayers. So the double-standard on this issue is just completely flagrant, where it's one more example of the Conservative government supporting Israel, and not just Israel, but the most aggressive and expansionist forces in Israel, through the tax code in this country and allowing for donations to the settlements underwritten by the Canadian taxpayer.

PERIES: Yves, thank you for joining us.

ENGLER: Thanks for having me.

PERIES: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

End

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Growing Labor Protests Paralyzing France
Refugees Dehumanized, Impoverished, and Trapped in Europe: What can we do about it?
Clinton's Candidacy Will Unite the Corporate World
Rising Up Against Empire: Jeremy Scahill and the Easter Uprising
Tapes Reveal Coup Plot Against Rousseff, Weakening Temer Government
Koch Funded Free Market Universities in Arizona
'We've Become Accustomed to the System Doing Nothing for the Killing of Black People'
IMF-Eurozone Deal Hailed as a Breakthrough, But No Relief for Greeks
Why Austrians Nearly Elected a Far Right Candidate as President
Unions and the Sanders/Clinton Split (2/2)
Democratic Nomination Battle is Not Over Yet
Will Sanders Appointees Shake Up the Convention?
'The Law Has Always Been in the Favor of Law Enforcement'
Officer Edward Nero Found Not Guilty of All Charges Over Death of Freddie Gray
Unions and the Sanders/Clinton Split (1/2)
Bernie Sanders and the Widening Political Spectrum
Austria Narrowly Elects Former Green Party Leader as President, Avoids Far-Right Candidate
The Empire Files: 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats
By Ignoring Fossil Fuel Extraction, the Paris Agreement is Doomed to Failure
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (3/3)
Erdogan Targeting the 59 Pro-Kurdish HDP Parliamentarians with 445 Police Investigations
Climate Change-Fueled Droughts Pushing Africa to the Brink
The Financial Invasion of Greece
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (2/3)
Judge to Hand Down First Verdict in Freddie Gray Case on Monday
Move to Amend and the Fight to Remove Corporate Money From U.S. Elections
Baltimore Activists Defend Tubman House Against Threats of Demolition
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (1/3)
Ultra-Nationalist Avigdor Lieberman Accepts Post as Defense Minister of Israel
Sanders and Class Struggle in the Democratic Party

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting