What is this "Rights & Democracy" NGO that Michael Ignatieff supports?
It was September 10, 2008, just three days after the federal election writ was dropped.
Political staff in Ottawa were taking leaves of absence to campaign. MPs were in their ridings. Nobody in Ottawa was paying attention to anything other than the election.
If you're the pro-U.N., anti-Israel staff of the government NGO called Rights and Democracy (R&D) what do you do to capitalize on that lack of adult supervision?
You quickly cut a cheque for $144,000 to the United Nations.
You just go and do it.
R&D was set up during the cold war by Brian Mulroney’s government to help promote freedom around the world. It was supposed to be the kind of organization that would do things like smuggle in photocopiers to the Polish democracy group, Solidarity. You know: help the good guys, the little guys.
Twenty years later, it’s cutting cheques to the United Nations.
And not just any part of the U.N, but the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights. That’s the bureaucracy that serves the bigoted U.N. Human Rights Council, the dysfunctional committee where the likes of Iran and China hurl invective at the U.S. and Israel, to the gleeful applause of dozens of third world tyrants.
It’s like the Thunderdome in Mad Max, but with worse dentistry.
For R&D, a group mandated to support fledgling freedom movements around the world, to send $144,000 to the U.N. isn’t just a grotesque violation of their mandate and an unseemly waste of taxpayers money. It’s also a deliberate slap in the face to the Conservative government, which has placed an emphasis on bringing our foreign policy into line with our national values of freedom, democracy, fighting terrorism and standing by our allies.
Under the previous Liberal government, Canada traditionally voted with the herd at the U.N., even if that meant throwing a fellow democracy like Israel to the wolves. Under Harper, our voting pattern changed noticeably. At the U.N. Human Rights Council, Canada is often the lone dissenting vote now when the rabid Jew-haters are in high dudgeon.
So R&D’s largesse was not random. It was designed as a deliberate and flagrant contradiction to Canada’s foreign policy. Now, that’s fine if R&D raised its own money. But like other anti-Semitic NGOs, like KAIROS, R&D depends on the government forking over taxpayers’ money -- $11 million/year, in the case of R&D.
Sorry, I used the word NGO to describe R&D. It’s not really a Non-Governmental Organization when the government set it up and funds it, is it? It’s a GONGO – a Government-Organized Non-Governmental Organization. So you’ve got Canadian bureaucrats giving money to U.N. bureaucrats.
And it wasn’t the first time.
But even more outrageous is what R&D does with money that it doesn’t send to the U.N. Take these three cheques totalling $30,000 that R&D hustled out the door without board approval.
None of them are for democracy building or freedom-fighting. True, some of the money went to Gaza, a theocratic, fascist failed statelet run by the Hamas terrorist organization. But the money didn’t go to help liberal Palestinians resist the terrorist gangs there, or to rebuild any semblance of civil society.
The money went to support anti-Israel propaganda campaigns.
Seriously. Read the cover letters that accompanied the money – your money.
It was to document Israeli “war crimes” during Israel’s war against Hamas.
So now you know why Michael Ignatieff has taken such a strong public stand in favour of R&D, and against Harper’s new appointments to the board of R&D, who are trying to reign in the rogue agency.
In 2006, Ignatieff called Israel a war criminal for its military actions against Hamas in Gaza.
In 2009, R&D send tens of thousands of dollars to anti-Israel groups to “prove” that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza.
Of course, the Liberal house Jew Irwin Cotler is silent on the subject – he’s proved many times that he can sit in silence while his party defames Israel.
But it gets worse.
Who is one of the groups that R&D has shoveled Canadian taxpayers’ money to?
Who are they? They’re a radical anti-Israel group run by Shawan Jabarin.
And who’s he?
He’s a member of the terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Here’s the PFLP’s English-language propaganda page. You can see why Ignatieff and Cotler might support R&D’s decision to give Al Haq our tax money.
And here’s a detail of Jabarin’s signature on an R&D contract, indicating his receipt of $10,000 of Canadian taxpayers’ money.
Not all Liberals support R&D’s un-Canadian behavior. David Matas, a two-time Liberal candidate, is on R&D’s board. He joined with his Conservative colleagues in penning a damning Op-Ed in today’s National Post in which even more of R&D’s outrageous behavior is disclosed.
What should be done with R&D?
The majority of its board is doing the right thing: trying to rein in out-of-control, off-mandate spending – and not just to terrorist supporters.
But that’s clearly not enough. R&D managers continue to disobey the board, sometimes on trivial matters, sometimes on important matters. Many of them signed a “work to rule” letter, demanding that the board resign for daring to ask for financial controls.
I like that chutzpah -- trying to fire their bosses.
That final act, that mass challenge to the board, and indirectly to the Conservative government, is reminiscent of the illegal strike by U.S. air traffic controllers early in Ronald Reagan’s first term. It was a test of his seriousness: would he really allow air traffic in the U.S. to grind to a halt, or would he pay off a union in an illegal strike?
Reagan coolly ordered them back to work. And those that didn’t return were immediately fired, with U.S. military personnel filling in where needed. No-one doubted Reagan’s resolve again.
R&D is out of control, financially. And its mandate has been twisted. The Cold War is over, but the need for support for democracy has never been greater – in the Arab world, in Latin America, in China and even in Russia itself. Only a bigoted, rotten organization would focus its venom on Israel, and give its money to the U.N.'s perverted human rights apparatus.
The real answer is the Reagan answer: just shut the damned thing down. Let those anti-Israel bigots raise their own money, like KAIROS has to do now.
It comes down to this one question: who sets Canadian foreign policy, and directs the spending of Canadian taxes?
Stephen Harper thinks he does. R&D's rogue staff thinks they do. Only one of them can be right.