KAIROS, an ecumenical social justice organization that includes the Christian Reformed Church, was accused of being anti-Israel or anti-Semitic, a suggestion that caused a media firestorm in Canada.
The controversial comments came from Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, shortly after the Canadian government cut funding to KAIROS. (See The Banner’s web article at http://tinyurl.com/yds6p7h.)
Kenney was speaking in Israel when he said that KAIROS has taken “a leadership role in the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign [against Israel].”
The CRC has been on the KAIROS board since its inception in 2001. The CRC’s director of Canadian Ministries, Rev. Bruce Adema, said the charges made about KAIROS are false.
“We continue to urge the government to reconsider the funding cut to KAIROS,” he said. “The accusation that KAIROS, and therefore all member churches, is anti-Semitic is absurd. Together we have affirmed the state of Israel’s right to exist, encouraged a two-state solution, and prayed for justice and peace for all—both Israelis and Palestinians.”
KAIROS responded to the allegations by condemning the apparent politicization of aid that led to its funding being cut by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
“Minister Kenney’s charge against KAIROS is false,” KAIROS’s media release stated. “Criticism of Israel does not constitute anti-Semitism, and CIDA was developed to fund international aid and not to serve political agendas.
“Minister Kenney’s statement … raises very disturbing questions about the integrity of Canadian development aid decisions.”