Canada offers tax ‘charity’ receipts for NGO dispossessing Palestinians

Wednesday, 14 December 2022 — Yves Engler

A foreign based “settler colonial NGO” is seeking Canadian government subsidies. This week a representative of Jerusalem-based Regavim will be hosting a series of fundraisers in the Greater Toronto Area.

The director of Regavim’s International Division, Naomi Linder Kahn, is scheduled to speak at events titled “Judea and Samaria or the Wild West Bank: Legal, Illegal — and all the rest”, “The Ongoing Battle for Jewish Sovereignty in the Land of Israel” and “Truth from Fiction: Judea and Samaria and the Jewish History of Area C”.

Born and raised in New York, Kahn has devoted herself to dispossessing Palestinians in recent years. Through Regavim Kahn assists Israeli colonists in launching legal cases to seize “state lands” used by Palestinians. According to Defund Racism, Regavim “works to expand Jewish control of land across Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories by pushing Israeli administrative, judicial, legislative, and military bodies to dispossess Palestinian and other non-Jewish communities of their land.” The Jerusalem based group keeps tabs on Palestinians land and infrastructure use, including with drones, to pressure the Israeli legal system to demolish ‘illegal’ homes. The Morning Star has described Regavim’s “unrelenting campaign to demolish Palestinian homes and villages.”

Regavim’s influence is likely to grow considerably. The group’s co-founder, Bezalel Smotrich, was recently appointed “overlord” of the West Bank. In Benjamin Netanyahu’s new far right government he was granted authority over Israeli military agencies controlling Palestinians and Jewish colonies in the occupied West Bank.

Smotrich and Regavim will likely ramp up their colonialist plans. His party supports completely annexing the West Bank without granting Palestinians citizenship rights and Smotrich was jailed for three weeks on terrorism accusations during Israel’s 2005 ‘disengagement’ from Gaza. A year ago Smotrich told Arab lawmakers “you’re here by mistake, it’s a mistake that Ben-Gurion didn’t finish the job and didn’t throw you out in 1948.” In a 2015 speech arguing against developers having to sell homes to Arabs Smotrich declared, “Anyone who wants to protect the Jewish People and opposes mixed marriages is not a racist. Whoever wants to let Jews live a Jewish life without non-Jews is not a racist.”

A self-described “proud homophobe”, Smotrich helped organize a “beast parade”, which included goats and donkeys, to oppose the 2006 gay pride parade in Jerusalem. A decade later he said homosexuals are “abnormal” people.

It’s outrageous that Canadian taxpayers would offer even a penny of subsidy to Regavim. But currently the organization’s website offers tax receipts to Canadian donors. Its fiscal sponsor in Canada is registered charity Mizrachi Canada. According to its CRA filings, Mizrachi Canada channeled $6 million to Israel in 2021 (in the four years previously it funneled between $2.4 million and $4 million per year to Israel).

In the most important Canadian contribution to Palestinian dispossession, over 200 registered Canadian charities raise over a quarter billion dollars a year for initiatives in Israel, which has a GDP per capita equal to Canada’s. As I’ve detailed elsewhere, many registered charities assist the Israeli military, settlement projects and racist organizations, which should all contravene Canada Revenue Agency rules. Charities are not supposed to assist the Israeli settlement project in the occupied West Bank since Ottawa officially considers them a violation of international law.

In the past 25 years at least a half dozen Israel-focused charities (Beth Oloth, Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel, Canadian Friends of Ariel University, Press Foundation, Toronto Zionist Council) have lost their charitable status because of their poor financial transparency as well as support for West Bank settlements and the IDF.

But the CRA is often slow to act with Israel-focused groups as professors Miles Howe and Paul Sylvestre document in “International Cash Conduits and Real Estate Empires: A Case Study in Canadian Philanthropic Crime”. The Journal of White Collar and Corporate Crime article describes a “burner charity phenomenon” among Israel focused charities, “wherein once an active burner charity has its charitable status revoked a subsequent burner charity is activated in its place.”

The CRA must enforce its own rules regarding charities assisting West Bank colonies, racist organizations and the Israeli military. The Canada Revenue Agency must audit Mizrachi Canada and immediately halt any tax receipts it grants to donors of the “settler colonial NGO” Regavim. 

 

Please take a minute to write the Canada Revenue Agency to ask them to stop granting tax receipts for donations to Jerusalem based Regavim.

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