The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has published a report exhibit about a Jewish charity Canada, which is being investigated for using its donations to build infrastructure for Israeli forces, in violation of the country's tax rules.
The Jewish National Fund of Canada, one of Canada's long-established charities, was audited by the Canada Revenue Agency after the filing of a complaint in October 2017.
The JNF finances many projects in Israel, like reforestation efforts in areas affected by forest fires, but it has also funded infrastructure projects at Israeli military, air and naval bases, the country's public broadcaster reported on Friday.
Their activities contravene Canadian law which prohibits charitable funds from supporting a foreign army.
The CBC article details many troubling aspects of the organization's projects that, along with Israeli military base infrastructure funding, have also directly contributed to the construction of at least one post settlers on top of a hill – illegal under international law and considered illegal by Israel itself.
The organization, which revealed to donors last year that it had been audited by the Canada Revenue Agency, said that it had stopped funding these projects in the past year. 2016, according to CBC.
Financing Israeli military bases
A complaint was filed in October 2017 with the support of Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV), which introduced detailed evidence JNF Canada works in violation of the Income Tax Act and contravenes Canadian foreign policy in many ways.
According to CRA guidelines, funding for projects aimed at increasing the "efficiency and effectiveness" of a foreign army can not be considered a charitable organization and therefore should not be tax deductible.
"It is unacceptable for Canadians to subsidize an organization that uses tax-deductible donations to support the Israeli army, especially when this army has killed nearly 200 unarmed protesters. Gaza this year, including medical staff, members of the media and children, "said Canadian Rabbi David Mivasair, one of four plaintiffs.
According to IJV, JNF Canada has funded more than a dozen projects supporting Israeli forces in recent years and has formally partnered with Israeli forces and the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
His military projects include "the new project [Irsaeli military] City of training in the Negev, "Desert and" helping the development of the Bat Galim (naval) training base complex, according to CBC.
In 2014, the Edmonton JNF hosted a gala dinner in the Negev, where the proceeds were to "develop three areas of the Negev Tse-elim military base, the largest military training center in the Negev. Israel. The project will improve and rebuild the family visit area. The base is the national training center of the land forces, "reads on his Facebook page.
JNF Canada also funded security routes along Israel's hostile borders with Lebanon and Gaza, which, in the words of JNF Canada, is designed to "enhance military activity" in these border areas, wrote IJV.
Building in the West Bank
JNF Canada's missions to Israel have also directly contributed to the construction of at least one illegal outpost of settlers, CBC said. Givat Oz VeGaon has received and ignored at least 18 demolition orders from the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
A mission of solidarity from the JNF's Canadian Youth Leadership Fund was held at the site in August-September 2014 and worked with picks and shovels "to pave the way for the construction of new buildings." a housing unit for the use of the security guard ".
Fifteen million dollars of tax-deductible Canadian funds also contributed to the construction of JNF Canada's flagship project, Canada Park, as well as to a new adjacent Israeli settlement.
The park was built on a militarily occupied territory, on the ruins of three Palestinian villages that Israeli forces depopulated and demolished in 1967, as well as on the lands of a fourth, according to IJV.
Low notes for transparency
According to Kate Bahen, director of Charity Intelligence, a Toronto-based NGO that produces a report that assesses the effectiveness and transparency of Canadian charities, the organization gets a score of zero on financial transparency.
Bahen said the charity had made the right decision by revealing to donors that its audit was underway, but that it was "a full-fledged black box" when it was to provide a breakdown of how his money is spent.
"Any Canadian donor who knows the JNF is automatically thinking about planting trees, and the JNF has much more to offer than planting trees," Bahen told CBC.
"We have no information on spending on tree planting, irrigation or education, or money diverted to military bases. This information, in my opinion, is essential and not provided to Canadian donors. "