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Jason Kenney


by Rhonda Spivak, posted March 1, 2012

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has stopped funding a settlement program for new immigrants run by Palestine House [The Palestine house Educational and Cultural Centre], Palestinian non-profit in Mississaugua, Ont.

 A Feb. 14 report on stated the Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism sent a letter to Palestine House in January indicating the funding would cease due to concerns of the non-profit’s "pattern of support for extremism." .

According to this report, Kenney spokesperson Kasra Nejatian " pointed to several events as cause for concern, most recently a gathering hosted by Palestine House that, according to the minister, celebrated the release of hundreds of terrorists. Additionally, a 2008 event at the cultural centre honouring Dr. George Habash, founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), caught the government's attention. The PFLP is the second largest of the groups forming the Palestine Liberation Organization and, in the 1960s and '70s, was responsible for numerous armed attacks and aircraft hijackings.

"We repeatedly raised, with Palestine House, our concerns about this pattern of support for extremism," said Nejatian in the report in "But, unfortunately, the organization has continued to promote extreme positions that undermine, rather than advance, social cohesion. We can no longer justify subsidizing such an organization with tax dollars, particularly to provide integration services for newcomers to Canada."

The Palestine House issued a Feb. 14 statement denouncing Kenney's decision and claiming its services and clients will be adversely affected. According to media reports, Palestine House received $950,000 from Ottawa last year and has received funding for the past 18 years to provide services to the Palestinian community in the Toronto area. Palestine House accused Kenney of advancing a "silencing campaign" against organizations "that act or speak in support of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people" and is urging Kenney to reconsider his decision, as well as asking its supporters to send letters of protest to Kenney.


Below is the press release from Palestine House

Press Release

February 14, 2012

Minister Jason Kenney Decides to Stop Funding for a

Settlement Program Administered by Palestine House

Earlier this month, Mr. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, decided not to renew a contribution agreement between Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Palestine House Cultural and Educational Centre (Palestine House). As a result Palestine House will no longer provide settlement services or language instruction to newcomer Canadians. Mr. Kenny did not provide any convincing explanation for his decision.

Palestine House has been providing CIC funded settlement and language instruction services to Canadian immigrants of all walks of life for nearly two decades. The dedicated teachers, settlement workers, childcare workers, and administrative staff have served the community of newcomer Canadians with integrity, professionalism, and compassion. Mr. Kenney’s decision mostly hurts those newcomer Canadians who will no longer be able to rely on Palestine House services to help them integrate successfully into Canadian society.

The decision is not based on the efficacy of the services provided. It is part of a concerted effort, if not a campaign, led by Mr. Kenney and the Conservative Government, of targeting Canadian organizations that act or speak in support of the basic human rights of the Palestinian people. In this silencing campaign any group that speaks favourably of Palestinians or their rights is automatically tagged as a supporter of extremism.

"It was made clear in correspondence to Minister Kenney that Palestine House categorically denounces all forms of terrorism or extremism. Our positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are in line with universal values of human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact, they are very close to the positions of the Government as stated on its website" Mr. Samir Jabbour, a spokesperson on behalf of Palestine House said.

He added: "Once again, Minister Kenny and the Harper Government prove to Canadians that they are solely led by their ideological biases. Rule of ideology, not the rule of law, is the actual policy that this Government follows."

Palestine House is the largest organization representing Palestinian Canadians in Canada. It has repeatedly expressed support for the Palestinian people and all oppressed peoples of the world, including Canada’s First Nations.

"This decision which has left about ­­20 people jobless is motivated by discrimination. Despite the damage done to newcomer Canadians by this misguided decision, we are unwavering in our position in support of the Palestinian people and their human rights. Mr. Kenney and his decision will never silence us or stop us from serving our community" added the spokesperson.

We urge Minister Kenney to reconsider his decision and urge all concerned Canadians that support Palestine House to freely express support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to make their views known to Minister Kenney directly and through their local MPs.





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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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