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PM Justin Trudeau

Shimon Fogel


by Rhonda Spivak, December 20, 2015


(* Note: The second half of this article deals with the Trudeau Team's commitment not to re-fund the Canadian Arab Federation which was defunded by the Harper government)


In 2012 Jason Kenney, when he was Citizenship and Immigration Canada in a Harper government stopped funding a settlement program administered by Palestine House, a Palestinian non-profit in Mississauga, Ontario. According to an article in the Canadian Jewish News, a report on stated Kenney sent a letter to Palestine House…indicating the funding would cease due to concerns of the non-profit’s ‘pattern of support for extremism.’ In the report, a spokesperson for the minister [Kenney] said Palestine House has in the last few years aligned itself with terrorist causes, including celebrating the release of terrorists and honouring the founder of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)…”


On November  29, 2015  Lt. Col. (ret) Jonathon D. Halevi co-founder and editor of  CIJ NEWS (Based in Toronto) wrote a report indicating that that Palestine House, a Palestinian non-profit in Mississauga, Ontario  which was defunded under the Harper  government for "its pattern of support for  extremism" will be involved in re- settling Syrian refugees in Toronto. ( Halevi, who speaks Arabic, is also a senior researcher of the Middle East and radical Islam at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and a co-founder of the Orient Research Group Ltd.


Halevi wrote that a meeting was held on Wednesday, November 25, at its headquarters "attended by dozens of Arab community activists in order to draw up an action plan in support of the 10,000 Syrian refugees who are expected to arrive in Canada before the end of the year."


According to Halevi, Meshwar newspaper (an Arabic language newspaper) "further reported that the participants founded a committee to coordinate with the government and NGO’s its activities which will include helping the refugees with accommodation, translation services and integration in society."


After reading Halevi's full report, the Winnipeg Jewish Review sent an email to Shimon Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, which is the advocacy agent for Jewish Federations in Canada. Citing Halevi's report, the WJR asked whether  CIJA has any concerns that Palestine House now will be involved in the resettling of Syrian refugees, and if so, what are those concerns ?


Fogel's complete response was as follows: On the particular question you raise below, I too saw Jonathan’s report. It does not indicate that Palestine House will be receiving any federal funds to assist in the resettlement of Syrian refugees and I have seen no reports suggesting that the government is using Palestinian House as a resettlement partner. If individuals associated with Palestine House want to organize an ad hoc group or committee, obviously there is nothing we can do to prevent them from doing so. Naturally we would be concerned about the involvement of groups with extremist views being engaged in the resettlement process. However, our observations to date indicate that the thousands of Canadians – individuals, agencies, ad hoc groups, faith communities and the like – involved in the effort have a constructive and inclusive orientation. Indeed, many in the Jewish community have been engaged directly by Syrian-Canadian groups to provide advice, support and assistance. So for now, no “alarm bells” are ringing, but we will, obviously, continue to monitor the situation.


As to Palestine House itself, we have long had deep concerns about its views, activities, affiliations and messaging – and will work to ensure that the policies put into place by the previous government are re-affirmed by the new government as well."





When Jason Kenney (who was then Canada’s Minister of Defence) was in Winnipeg this past August and spoke at Chabad Lubavitch in Winnipeg he noted  that when he was Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, he ended a million dollars of government funding for  the Canadian Arab Federation for the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Kenney  said he decided to withdraw the funds because the government said that  the leadership of the Canadian Arab Federation  had  a long track record " of expressing hateful, antisemitic views, and glorifying terrorists,"  "supporting Hamas and Hezbollah" and  promoting antisemitism.  


Kenney noted that Federal Court of Appeal recently unanimously rejected the Canadian Arab Federation law suit against him for cutting their funding. The Federal Court of Appeals dismissed the group’s case and agreeing with Kenney’s original assessment that he had grounds to withdraw funding.(To read more about the Federal Court of Appeal's decision see the article in the Canadian Jewish News about it. ).  


As a result of what Kenney said about this issue when he was in Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Jewish Review sent an inquiry to Jim Carr’s campaign during the election campaign asking them to get a response from the Trudeau Team as to the Liberal Party of Canada's position with regard to the Canadian Arab Federation. Specifically I asked whether in light of the decision of the Federal Court of appeal, the Liberal government would restore taxpayer funding to the Canadian Arab Federation or not? (I thought it was important to get this answer on the record in the event the Liberal party would form a new government.)


The answer I received from an email of Rebecca Parkinson on August 31, 2015 of the Jim Carr campaign was as follows:


“Please find the response from Ottawa below. Sorry for the delay. Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything else from me. 


“The Liberal Party respects the Court’s decision. We would not support, let alone fund, any organization that holds anti-Semitic views and glorifies terrorism.”

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.