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Some more on the Conservatives imitating Ebenezer Scrooge vis-a-vis KAIROS

Ellie Kirzner of NOW Magazine takes apart Jason Kenney and his ally in the Toronto Star Rosie DiManno, and their attacks on KAIROS.  I’m going to quote a large excerpt, because it’s a good piece:

…So unsettling is the anti-Semitism charge that many are preferring to believe that Kenney really didn’t say what it seems he said. Rosie DiManno in Monday’s Star argues that the minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism didn’t overtly accuse KAIROS of anything but merely opined that the group had taken “a leadership role in the boycott’’ of Israel. That’s the tack the Canada Israel Committee is taking too. When I ask Sara Saber, the organization’s executive VP how at peace she is with the idea of labeling the Christian activist community this way, she says, “It’s not clear to me that that’s actually what the minister said.’’

I suggest some textual analysis.

The paragraph before the KAIROS reference in Kenney’s speech to the Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism talks about how his government has “implemented a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism.’’ He then proceeds to rhyme off three deeds to this effect: cutting funds to the Canadian Arab Federation, ending contact with the Canadian Islamic Congress — and finally de-funding KAIROS. “I don’t know how you could ever say that there’s no implication that we’re anti-Semitic,’’ exasperated KAIROS exec director, Mary Corkery, tells me.

..The weirdness in all this is that KAIROS doesn’t support an actual boycott of Israel. You can see it right there in bold in their key mid east document. DiManno, nevertheless, accuses the organization of tinkering with the vocabulary. KAIROS is, she charges, “at the very least, disingenuous and dissembling.’’ No, I don’t think so. Let me offer that the group is actually subtle and discerning. Their policy calls for researching “products made in Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories…as well as corporations that have operations in settlements.’’

It’s a milder proposal than that of Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom, which urges shunning goods made in the settler economy. This is all pretty clear and not at all “dissembling’’ unless, of course, you think the occupied territories are Israel proper. The government of Canada doesn’t think they are.

(H/T to bastard.logic, or more accurately, Matt’s Twitter feed, for pointing this out. Read the entire piece. It’s a great take down of Kenney and Dimanno’s positions)

By the way, If you want to see more specifics  of how Minister Jason Kenney is trying to walk back his anti-Semitic charge against KAIROS, check his LTE to the Toronto Star, and then compare what he actually said in the speech  – BigCityLib has helpfully pasted a transcript of both for comparison.

Also, I should mention that the Christian Reformed Church – possibly the most conservative in its theology of the member church groups in KAIROS –  has a condemnation of the KAIROS cuts at their website, and calls on the Conservative government and Bev Oda to reverse them. (This news release was issued prior to Jason Kenney deciding to reveal the real considerations behind cutting KAIROS funding).

5 comments to Some more on the Conservatives imitating Ebenezer Scrooge vis-a-vis KAIROS

  • Kenney may have “mis-spoken” by expressing these views publicly, in a venue where his comments were recorded.

    But it wasn’t accidental. There’s a pattern there, and a tightly scripted trajectory being charted by the rightwing socon religious fundamentalist in the PMO.

  • Methinks the Tories really stepped in it by slandering a prominent, respected Christian organization (even one that swings left). They are walking a very fine line here and run the risk of alienating their Evangelical base.

    • patrica

      @matttbastard, you say that Kairos is respected, on what basis do you say that? I’m affiliated with a kairos church and nobody really knows who or what they are. If they did, they would not, for the most part, support them.

      • @patrica, If KAIROS was as negligible as you assert, major mainstream Christian and faith organizations wouldn’t be members or vigorously defending KAIROS. Remember, all these mainstream Christian churches are actual members of the KAIROS board and help to formulate its stances and policies – they’re not just some informal sponsors of the group.

        Furthermore, if the people in your church don’t know what KAIROS does, its incumbent upon them to educate themselves. I have a hard time believing that if they did educate themselves of KAIROS policies and programs (and by extension, what their own denomination supports, since if it is indeed a KAIROS member, it helped put those policies and programs in place) such as helping raped women in the Congo, or human rights awareness in Indonesia, and so on, that the majority of them would be against it.

      • @patrica,

        Ok, I’ll bite, just this once (but don’t expect me to keep handing out tidbits everytime a troll comes a-beggin’).

        Anyway, for starters, patrica, it helps to, y’know, click the provided links before offering a dumbassed counterargument of sorts via half-formed anecdote (not the plural of data, natch).

        From the CRC statement:

        “We place a very high value on KAIROS, and thank God that the Christian Reformed Church can be a member denomination,” Adema said in an interview. “With many other Christian denominations, through KAIROS we have been able to promote justice and hope in many parts of the world, standing up for marginalized and vulnerable people.”

        Sounds like one of Canada’s major denominations values its relationship with and the work done by KAIROS. YMMV, of course.

        (Serioiusly, sucking back too much socon kool-aid rots more than just teeth.)

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