Over 200 Canadian charities found funding the Israeli occupation

Organizations and politicians are calling for a formal investigation into the matter

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This is a photo of the outside of the Canadian Revenue Agency Building in Vancouver.
PHOTO: Elyana Moradi / The Peak

By: Hannah Fraser, News Writer

On June 3, a public letter by Just Peace Advocates and the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute (CFPI) revealed over 200 Canadian charities have been funding Israel with a collective $237.5 million since 2022. This goes against the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)’s charity rules which note that donating money to the military or armed forces of another country is not considered charitable activity. Their letter is addressed to the Canadian government, asking them to enforce more rules on taxpayer-subsidized donations.

The Canadian petition e–4922 deems these donations “Canada’s most important contribution to Palestinian dispossession.” Recent findings have shown that Canadian organizations are receiving tax receipts, or tax-payer subsidized income tax breaks, for their donations to Israeli organizations and armed forces supporting the genocide in occupied Palestinian territories. 

The CFPI “informs people about the country’s diplomatic, aid, intelligence, and military policies abroad.” Just Peace Advocates is an “independent human rights organization promoting Just Peace/Paix Juste through the rule of law and respect for human rights in Canada and around the world.” 

Both organizations are focused on Canada’s involvement in Israel’s ongoing genocide against Palestinians, which has now killed over 37,000 and wounded 85,000. The UN noted, “In Gaza, half of the population — more than a million people — could face death and starvation by the middle of July.” 

“We’re concerned and we want taxpayers to understand that.” — Karen Rodman, executive director of Just Peace Advocates

The June 3 public letter is addressed to Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Canadian minister of national revenue, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Peak received a statement from the CRA on their registered charity rules. However, they noted, “The confidentiality provisions of the Act prevent the CRA from commenting on specific cases. As a result, the CRA cannot confirm or deny whether a registered charity is currently under audit.” They confirmed donating with “a purpose to promote a foreign military is not charitable. Beyond this, it becomes a question of fact whether a particular registered charity’s activities in any region furthers a charitable purpose or not.” 

Taxpayer subsidies are tax credits received by donors when they donate money to eligible charities. More specifically, when these donors pay their taxes, they won’t have to pay a certain percentage of their income taxes depending on how much they’ve donated.

The HESEG Foundation has raised almost $200 million, since 2007, to “assist non-Israelis who join that country’s military,” according to Just Peace Advocates. The “Canadian Zionist Cultural Association has raised $50 million since 1992.” In the last five years, over 11% of funds sent to other countries by Canadian charities were sent to Israel. 

Karen Rodman, executive director of Just Peace Advocates, told The Peak, “We’re concerned and we want taxpayers to understand that.

Niki Ashton, an MP for Churchill–Keewatinook Aski in Manitoba, wrote a letter to Minister Bibeau on May 27 asking for an “immediate investigation” into the situation and that “the status of any so-called charitable organization engaged in such activities have their charitable status revoked immediately.”

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