Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), an organization representing non-zionist Jewish persons, has come out strongly against the Harper government's designation of the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN), a Toronto-based charity, as a terrorist organization. IRFAN's charitable status was suspended in 2009. It appealed the decision and was to have a court hearing later this week when the government pre-empted it.
Thursday May 1, 2014, 09:39 DST
OTTAWA – Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) was dismayed to learn that the Harper government has labeled the International Relief Fund for the Afflicted and Needy (IRFAN) a terrorist organization. The move comes after the revocation of IRFAN’s charitable status and just days before a court date scheduled for IRFAN to contest the revocation by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
“To revoke the charitable status and label as ‘terrorist’ an organization that provides humanitarian relief for Palestinians who are living under Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza—a blockade condemned as collective punishment by the United Nations Security Council, the International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and others—prevents humanitarian aid from reaching people in serious need,” says IJV spokesperson Tyler Levitan. “It’s shameful that the Harper government has refused to condemn the Israeli blockade, and has focused its energies on further punishing the people in Gaza through stifling the work of IRFAN.”
While the Harper government has labelled IRFAN a terrorist organization, the Jewish Defense League enjoys the freedom to operate in Canada. “We need to ask ourselves why the Harper government has refused to punish the Jewish Defense League, which has been listed as a terrorist organization in the United States for promoting and engaging in violence around the world,” says Levitan. “On the issue of the CRA, IJV finds it enormously hypocritical that IRFAN had their charitable status revoked, whereas the Jewish National Fund (JNF) enjoys charitable status while directly funding human rights abuses of Palestinians in contravention of international law.”
IJV believes that the Harper government’s political agenda is an affront to the Canadian values of universal human rights—as the government continues to pursue policies that punish the Palestinians while condoning racist behaviour from Jewish organizations that seek to undermine Palestinian rights.
For more information contact: Tyler Levitan, Campaigns Coordinator for Independent Jewish Voices – Canada, 613-400-2550, firstname.lastname@example.org