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Daily News Analysis

Canadian Jewish group loses ‘charitable’ status for funding Israeli army and Zionist squatters

Crescent International

What had long been suspected—and unfortunately largely ignored by successive Canadian governments—has finally been proven. Jewish groups operating under charitable label have been funneling tens of millions of dollars to support the Zionist occupation army in Occupied Palestine.

On January 25, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the agency responsible for monitoring Canadian charities, revoked the charity status of Toronto-based Beth Oloth Charitable Organization.

The revocation occurred following a CRA audit starting in 2016 that found that the Jewish group had provided support to “foreign armed forces,” (the Israeli occupation army).

It is illegal to support foreign armed forces or armed groups under the Charity Act.

Beth Oloth is not a nickels and dimes charity. It has received vast donations in recent years — $61-million in 2017, $45-million in 2016 and $42-million in 2015.

All together, the group has collected some $200 million over the years.

Despite collecting millions of tax-free dollars each year the bulk of which it funneled to Israel, the so-called charity had a home in North York listed as its official address.

Similarly, it did not appear to have a website. In an age when even mickey mouse outfits maintain a website to give information about their activities, Beth Oloth appeared to be particularly shy of sharing information about its activities.

In a survey of Canadian charities last year, the Globe and Mail ranked Beth Oloth 62 on the list of the largest charities in Canada by tax-receipted donations.

Registered as a charity in 1980 and raking in tens of millions of dollars each year, most of it went straight to Israel. Even that would be OK if it was for charitable work.

But CRA auditors found that not all of the Jewish group’s activities were charitable under Canadian law. For instance, “increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Israeli armed forces” is not a charitable act by any stretch.

Beth Oloth was also involved in supporting projects to ensure the Israeli occupation army becomes more ruthless in its oppression of Palestinian people.

The CRA auditors identified a number of other problems such as funding projects in the occupied Palestinian territories that contravened Canada’s policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In addition to illegally supporting the Israeli occupation army, CRA auditors said Beth Oloth had funded projects totaling $1.2-million for illegal Zionist squatter camps euphemistically called ‘Jewish settlements’ in occupied Palestinian territories.

This was contrary to the Canadian government’s Middle East policy.

While the CRA blacked out portions of the documents listing the projects, Beth Oloth had responded to queries that most of its work involved providing “stipends to the poor for the observance of religious life,” which CRA said fell outside the scope of Canada’s policy in the region.

“Providing assistance to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories serves to encourage and enhance the permanency of the infrastructure and settlements and therefore is contrary to Canada’s public policy and international law on this issue,” the CRA wrote in its decision to revoke Beth Oloth’s charitable status.

Further, the CRA audit found the group had not issued tax receipts properly, lacked “direction and control” over the use if its funds, and had funded non-charitable activity.

One such activity was labeled funding for educational programs called mechinot. This is a scheme that prepares high school students for Israeli military service.

The programs provide weapons training, physical and martial arts training, mentoring by Israeli Defence Forces officers and visits to army bases and sites of historical battles, the CRA wrote.

“It is our position that these pre-army mechinot exist to provide support to the Israel Defence Forces, and that funds forwarded to these mechinot are therefore in support of foreign armed forces,” the agency wrote.

Another Jewish Charity, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) is also currently under investigation for funneling funds to establish parks over demolished Palestinian homes and villages.

Many groups, among them Canadian Jewish groups concerned about such devious methods have called upon the Canadian government to revoke the charitable status of JNF.

A number of Canadian members of parliament have also signed on to the petition calling for a review of JNF’s activities and funding.

Perhaps it is time for the CRA to investigate all Jewish charities that send money abroad. After all, Canadian taxpayers’ dollars should not be sent to support the illegal occupation of Palestine or the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes.

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