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Canadian Jewish group’s charity status revoked: Report

A Canadian Jewish organisation has been stripped of its charity status following a government audit which found it provided support to the Israeli armed forces, Canadian Global News has reported. The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) found that Beth Oloth Charitable Organisation had been funding activities that aren’t charitable under Canadian law, including “increasing the efficiency…

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Canadian Jewish group’s charity status revoked: Report

A Canadian Jewish organisation has been stripped of its charity status following a government audit which found it provided support to the Israeli armed forces, Canadian Global News has reported.

The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) found that Beth Oloth Charitable Organisation had been funding activities that aren’t charitable under Canadian law, including “increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the Israeli armed forces”, the Global News website reported.

The Beth Oloth Charitable Organisation based in Toronto had been a registered charity since 1980 and was one of Canada’s richest, with more than 60 million Canadian dollars ($45m) in revenues in 2017.

According to documents obtained by Global News, federal regulators found many problems, including funding projects totaling 1.2 million Canadian dollars ($905,000) in the occupied Palestinian territories, which it said violated Canada’s official policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

However, the portion listing the projects was blacked out by the CRA.

According to the CRA Charities Directorate, the organisation hadn’t issued tax receipts properly, lacked “direction and control” over the use of its funds.

Activities included funding educational programmes called mechinot that prepared high school students for Israeli military service, Global News reported.

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

Israel PM urged to expand illegal settlements ahead of election

The CRA released 94 pages of documents regarding the case on Friday following the announcement of the group’s charity status revocation on January 12.

Global News reported that Beth Oloth has received vast donations – 61 million Canadian dollars ($46,000,000) in 2017, 45 million Canadian dollars ($34m) in 2016 and 42 million Canadian dollars ($32m) in 2015, of which almost all its money went abroad.

The CRA said that Beth Oloth was acting as a “conduit” that issued tax receipts to donours in Canada in order to fund programmes of others.

Beth Oloth said it only funded teachers to provide religious training at mechinot schools and claimed they provided “stipends to the poor for the observance of religious life” which doesn’t interfere with Canada’s policy in the region, according to documents seen by Global News.

But the CRA rejected their explanation, the Canadian broadcaster reported.

“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 agency wrote.

‘Era of impunity…coming to an end’

Toronto charity lawyer Mark Blumberg told Global News that reading the details of the case was “shocking” and the government should be embarrassed the charity was allowed to operate for so long.

“This is an example of the type of ‘efficient’ charity we don’t need in Canada. It is efficient at giving out tax receipts but not effective in making sure that the 200 million Canadian dollars ($151m) of tax-subsidised dollars was spent appropriately,” Blumberg said on Sunday.

The lawyer called it an example of “very poor governance and compliance” and a wake-up call to donors. He said it highlighted the importance of rules governing charitable work abroad.

Earlier in January, Canadian broadcaster CBC reported that the charity Jewish National Fund (JNF) of Canada has likewise been under audit by the CRA for supporting the Israel’s armed forces and its illegal settlements.

The JNF said it had stopped doing so since 2016 but it still remains a government registered charity.

According to Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) Canada, JNF Canada has been the subject of CRA-directed complaints for over four decades and has been violating Canadian tax law for over 50 years.

IJV has been campaigning for the JNF to have its charitable status revoked as it supports the Israeli military and settlements, denies access to land for Palestinians and contributes to their displacement.

Corey Balsam, IJV’s national coordinator, said on Monday that the group is hopeful the “era of impunity for Canadian organisations that support the Israeli occupation is finally coming to an end”.

“It’s about time the CRA cleaned house and applied its own rules to these organisations,” Balsam said in a statement released on Monday.

“Given the wealth of evidence against it and that it is already under audit, we expect JNF Canada to be next.”

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Israel urges hard line against Iran at nuclear talks

SULAIMANIYA: An attack by Daesh militants on a village in northern Iraq on Friday killed three villagers and 10 Kurdish soldiers, officials in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region said. Daesh claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in a statement posted on an affiliated Telegram account.The attack took place in the Makhmour region, a hotbed for Daesh…

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Israel urges hard line against Iran at nuclear talks

SULAIMANIYA: An attack by Daesh militants on a village in northern Iraq on Friday killed three villagers and 10 Kurdish soldiers, officials in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region said.

Daesh claimed responsibility for the deadly attack in a statement posted on an affiliated Telegram account.The attack took place in the Makhmour region, a hotbed for Daesh activity that sees regular attacks against Kurdish forces, Iraqi forces and often civilians.Makhmour is a mountainous area about 70 km southeast of Mosul and 60 km southwest of the Kurdish capital of Irbil.Kurdistan’s Prime Minister Masrour Barzani called for greater security cooperation between Iraqi Kurdish and Iraqi security forces to stop Daesh’s insurgent activities.Iraqi officials and analysts have long blamed a lack of coordination along a stretch of territory claimed by both Baghdad and Irbil for Daesh’s continued ability to wage deadly attacks.Daesh controlled roughly a third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017, including the remote Makhmour region but also major cities including Mosul.A loose coalition of US-led forces, Iraqi and Kurdish troops and Iran-backed Shiite militias defeated the extremist group in 2017, but its members still roam areas of northern Iraq and northeastern Syria.Western military officials say at least 10,000 Daesh fighters remain in Iraq and Syria.A statement from the Kurdistan region’s armed forces, the peshmerga, said Daesh militants attacked the village in the early hours of Friday killing three residents.It said peshmerga forces intervened, resulting in clashes that killed at least seven of their soldiers.Kurdish security and hospital officials said the final death toll was at least 10 peshmerga soldiers and three villagers.In a separate development, Kurdish demonstrators in The Hague stormed the headquarters of the global chemical weapons body on Friday, sparking clashes in which six people were hurt and 50 arrested, Dutch police said.

FASTFACT

A loose coalition of US-led forces, Iraqi and Kurdish troops and Iran-backed Shiite militias defeated the Daesh extremist group in 2017, but its members still roam areas of northern Iraq and northeastern Syria.

Dozens of protesters alleging that Turkey is using toxic arms in northern Iraq broke through security to enter the grounds of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague.A number of them managed to get inside the lobby of the building before police removed them, diplomatic sources said, while the rest staged a noisy protest outside the front doors.Police dragged the demonstrators off one by one, put them on the ground and handcuffed them, journalists saw. Some were bundled into waiting vans, but the large number meant many were taken away in a hired bus.At least a dozen police vehicles sealed off the road outside the OPCW, which is opposite Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s official residence. Several ambulances and a medical helicopter were also at the scene.Two police officers and four protesters were wounded when the demonstrators “stormed the building,” The Hague police said.Turkish jets regularly attack the separatists’ bases in northern Iraq and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, with several villages having emptied of their inhabitants since a new Turkish army offensive in April.The PKK and Kurdish organizations in Europe have in recent months accused Turkey of using chemical weapons, including a nerve agent and sulfur mustard gas, in dozens of attacks in northern Iraq.“We have called on OPCW and all international bodies to come and independently investigate the use of chemical weapons,” Zagros Hiwa, a spokesperson for the Kurdistan Democratic Communities Union, the PKK’s political branch, told AFP.

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Clashes rock Arab town in Israel, alleged car-rammer killed

Yemeni military commander hopeful of Marib advance after army cuts Houthi supply lines  LONDON: Yemen’s military commander heading army troops in Marib Maj. Gen. Mansour Thawaba said he was hopeful of advancements in the strategic province after Houthi supply lines were cut.  There have been “great advances” in the past two days in Bayhan, Usaylan…

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Clashes rock Arab town in Israel, alleged car-rammer killed

Yemeni military commander hopeful of Marib advance after army cuts Houthi supply lines 

LONDON: Yemen’s military commander heading army troops in Marib Maj. Gen. Mansour Thawaba said he was hopeful of advancements in the strategic province after Houthi supply lines were cut. 

There have been “great advances” in the past two days in Bayhan, Usaylan and Harib, the major general told Al-Arabiya, noting that army forces cut the Houthis’ supply line between Bayhan and Harib.

He explained that military operations continued on all fronts, with the southern front seeing most of the action. He also noted the Saudi-led Arab coalition’s support with airstrikes. 

“Marib is not besieged, and the Houthis are far from achieving this,” he said. 

He added that most of those fighting for the Houthis were children and young men. 

“They do not care about the children of Yemenis who are killed by the dozens every day,” he said, referring to the Houthi militia. 

The coalition announced on Friday night that it had destroyed a ballistic missile launcher south of Sanaa.

The coalition added that it also destroyed a “mine-making workshop” in the capital, stressing that it had taken “preventive measures to spare civilians and civilian structures from collateral damage” during the airstrikes.

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US critics of Israel face challenges in redrawn Congress districts

CHICAGO: Nine members of Congress who have been vocal critics of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians could face tougher re-election campaigns as a result of their districts being redrawn, an analysis by Arab News shows. Every 10 years, the dominant political parties in many states re-draw district boundaries based on demographic data provided by the…

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US critics of Israel face challenges in redrawn Congress districts

CHICAGO: Nine members of Congress who have been vocal critics of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians could face tougher re-election campaigns as a result of their districts being redrawn, an analysis by Arab News shows.

Every 10 years, the dominant political parties in many states re-draw district boundaries based on demographic data provided by the US Census, which does not count Arab and Muslim Americans as a separate category.

Where population shifts have led to proposed boundary changes, incumbents may be forced to stand in new districts. That’s the challenge facing Illinois representative Marie Newman, who won election in 2020 in the 3rd Congressional District, which has the largest concentration of Palestinian American voters.

Newman has chosen to face-off with Sean Casten, who is very strong on climate change, in the new 6th District rather than stand against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who is one of only two Hispanic congress members in Illinois, in the 4th District. Casten is a strong supporter of Israel and silent on Israeli violence against Palestinians, while Garcia has often joined Newman to support pro-Palestinian legislation, including voting against a bill giving Israel $1 billion for its Iron Dome defense system last September.

“Rep. Newman was supportive of the push to create a second congressional district of Latino influence and understood that doing so would mean the need to shift boundary lines of existing CDs in the Chicagoland area,” Newman campaign spokesperson Ben Hardin said.

Describing the challenges as “inevitable,” Hardin said: “Representative Newman is grateful … to have the support of so many people here in Chicago’s southwest side and in the south and west suburbs, including a strong coalition of supporters from the Arab and Muslim American community.”

The new Illinois district map was approved by Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, one of Israel’s strongest advocates, in November. Pritzker aroused anger among Arab Americans after refusing to apologize for disparaging remarks he made in a 1998 congressional race in which he accused a rival of accepting money from a Muslim group that Pritzker asserted supported terrorists.

“There is no doubt that the Illinois Democrats are seeking to undermine Newman, who has been a vocal supporter of Palestinian, Arab and Muslim rights,” said Hassan Nijem, the president of the American Arab Chamber of Commerce.

“She and Chuy Garcia are the only Illinois Democrats to defend Palestinian rights and recognize our growing community.”

The Illinois primary has been delayed from March until June 28, 2022, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to Newman and Garcia, seven other members of Congress who voted against the Iron Dome money could be affected by district changes.

They include Cori Bush of Missouri; André Carson of Indiana; Raúl Grijalva of Arizona; Ilhan Omar of Minnesota; Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts; Rashida Tlaib of Michigan; and Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a Republican Congressman who consistently votes against all foreign aid regardless of the recipient.

Tlaib, Pressley and Omar are members of the “Squad,” a group of progressive Democrats that includes New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Instead of voting against the Iron Dome funding, however, AOC voted “present” not taking a position.

In Michigan, which is holding its primary on Aug. 2 next year, mapmakers are proposing to re-draw Tlaib’s 13th district, increasing the number of African American voters. That could be important even though Tlaib defeated several African American candidates when she first ran and won office in the predominantly African American district in 2018.

Tlaib may be forced into a new district against pro-Arab Democrat Debbie Dingell. However, she could survive as the Michigan process puts remapping in the hands of an independent commission rather than partisan politicians. The final Michigan remap might not be completed until late January.

Also in Michigan, proposed changes would pit Jewish Democratic Congressman Andy Levin, who has been an outspoken supporter of the two-state solution for Palestine and Israel, against Brenda Lawrence.

Minnesota congressional remapping plans have targeted Omar and another pro-Palestinian Congresswoman, Betty McCollum, although maps in those districts have not been finalized.

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