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The Conservatives impact around the world due to the Kairos cuts.

The impact is all very negative, as you would expect. “Canada’s back?”. More like Canada’s disappearing under Harper.

Programs to 6 different countries will be specifically affected by this bit of petty vindictiveness by Harper, Jason Kenney, Bev Oda, and the rest of this disgraceful lot. Specifically, key partners of KAIROS in Columbia, Sudan, The Congo, Indonesia (which, by the way, has a picture of Deepak Obhrai, the Parliamentary Secretary to Foreign Affairs, attending the opening of and being the guest speaker of the first ever human rights school there in July 2009, funded with KAIROS/CIDA money), and Mexico. You can read for yourself the different specifics of the programs; it would cause my blog to scroll if I listed all the details.

Other overseas partners have written Harper and Oda – you can see their letters here. They include one from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Anglican archbishop of the Anglican Church in South Africa:

The Church in Southern Africa is deeply indebted to the churches in Canda for their prayers, ecumenical actions and solidarity in overcoming the scourge of apartheid. The initiatives of the Canadian churches through KAIROS have inspired continued faithful ecumenical action not nly in Africa but around the world to uphold human rights. The world needs more of KAIROS Canada. It would be an unparalleled setback for the poor, vulnerable and disenfranchised if the voice and work of KAIROS in the global south is muted.

In related topics, a pointed column blasting the Conservatives for playing the anti-Semitic card comes today from Gerard Kaplan in the Globe (who is himself Jewish, I should point out):

..the Harperites insist that anyone who criticizes the Israeli government in any way is an anti-Semite. Yet if Kenney had bothered to look around him in Jerusalem, he would have discovered a slew of Israeli writers, commentators, scholars, soldiers, human rights activists and others who routinely and severely criticize their own government. Imagine NOT criticizing an extremist Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, a radical nationalist; Avigdor Lieberman, who supports ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians; and the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. Or he could have met with Prof. Neve Gordon, a nice Jewish boy who’s also chair of the Department of Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. They could have discussed Gordon’s advocacy of an international boycott against Israel “to save Israel from itself”. But perhaps Gordon too is anti-Semitic.

If I were KAIROS, or any of the mainstream churches that support it, I’d feel that I’d been slandered, libelled and maligned by my own government, for no reason other than to make some political points with Canadian Jews. What my fellow Jews in Canada make of this extraordinary campaign of seduction by the Harper government is not yet clear. I’m especially curious–-and nervous–- about the position of the Canadian Jewish establishment and the small number of organizations that claim to speak for us all. Is the romancing of Canadian Jews by the Harper government requited?

Real enemies of anti-Semitism do not throw the term around recklessly.  Are Canadian Jews now going to be seduced by a government that uses anti-Semitism for political reasons?  That maliciously accuses decent men and women of being anti-Semitic? That identifies legitimate, democratic criticism of Israeli governments with anti-Semitism?

We’ll soon find out.


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