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August 28, 2015 1:58 pm

Federal Court Backs Funding Cut to ‘Antisemitic’ Canadian-Arab Group

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

The federal appeals court in Canada backed Jason Kenney's decision to cut funding to CAF. Photo: Twitter.

The federal appeals court in Canada backed Jason Kenney’s decision to cut funding to CAF. Photo: Twitter.

The Federal Court of Appeal in Canada upheld the government’s decision to withdraw funding for an Arab group accused of supporting antisemitism and terrorism, the National Post reported on Thursday.

In 2009, former Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney cut $1 million in annual funding to the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF), which was being paid the sum in exchange for providing language-training services to new immigrants.

Kenney argued that the group’s leadership promoted antisemitism and had repeatedly expressed support for the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Federal Appeal Court in July backed Kenney’s decision to cut funding and rejected CAF claims that Kenney’s conclusion was an “abuse of authority” or “a blatant attempt to suppress criticism of Israel.”

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Kenney told the National Post on Wednesday that CAF had a long track record of “expressing hateful, antisemitic views, and glorifying terrorists.” His office cited several incidents, including a CAF executive attending a Cairo conference where Hamas and Hezbollah delegates were present, and a CAF-organized rally in which the Hezbollah flag was flown.

The group tried renewing their funding twice in two lawsuits but failed both times, the National Post reported. The Federal Court upheld Kenney’s decision in 2014, followed more recently by the Federal Court of Appeal.

The 2014 Federal Court decision listed examples Kenney raised in his decision, according to The Canadian Jewish News. The court cited CAF-organized rallies supporting Hamas and Hezbollah that compared Israelis to Nazis and included a sign threatening to kill a Jewish child. The group also sponsored an essay contest on the “ethnic cleansing” of Israel.

Federal Court Justice Russel Zinn said last year that based on the Ministry’s evidence, “CAF appears to support organizations that Canada has declared to be terrorist organizations and which are arguably antisemitic.”

Paul Champ, a lawyer for CAF, said the group is  “seriously considering” taking the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, the National Post reported.

Omar Alghabra, CAF president between 2004 and 2005, said he went on public record disagreeing with the “approach” taken by the group’s current administration. He added, “at the end of the day, it’s government’s prerogative to make decisions on what to fund and what not to fund.”

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