July 2, 2010
Israeli Arab group sues Canadian funders
An Israeli Arab non-governmental group is suing a Canadian government-affiliated body for cutting off funding, saying it succumbed to pressure from Israel’s government.
Mada al-Carmel, a social research group, is suing the International Development Research Center, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported Thursday.
The IDRC says it cut off funding —$800,000, or 40 percent of the group’s income—because it funds only developing world initiatives, and Mada is in Israel, a developed country. IDRC had funded Mada’s research into the status of women.
Mada said IDRC succumbed to pressure from figures close to the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu because of the group’s criticism of Israel.
IDRC acknowledged that it was alerted to Mada’s status by NGO Monitor, a watchdog group that reports on groups critical of Israel, but denied that NGO Monitor’s complaints influenced its decision. IDRC is funded by the government but is constitutionally required to make independent decisions.
NGO Monitor’s principle complaint with Mada was the group’s association with a campaign against violence against women that linked such violence to Israeli polcies.
The campaign poster depicted an Israeli soldier raising his arm in front of an Arab woman, and its text suggested that Israel was responsible for violence against Arab women by keeping Arab husbands from touching their wives.