(JTA) – One of Canada’s largest and oldest Jewish charities, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) of Canada, is downplaying news that it was audited by federal tax authorities for using donor money to fund projects linked to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Jan. 4 that the audit was carried out by the Canada Revenue Agency as the result of a complaint filed in the fall of 2017.
The complaint referred to dozens of JNF Canada projects linked to the IDF, including infrastructure projects on Israeli military bases in Haifa and the Negev.
Canadian tax rules prohibit Canadian charities from funding the armed forces of another country.
JNF Canada informed donors last year of the Canada Revenue Agency audit and said that it stopped funding IDF-linked projects in 2016.
“To be clear, we no longer fund projects located on IDF land,” JNF Canada CEO Lance Davis said. He called the complaint a “rehash.”
It remained unclear what sanctions if any JNF Canada might face in the wake of the audit.
While the revenue agency revoked the charitable status of a mosque last August for promoting hate, Canadian governments have long supported JNF Canada. In 2013, its Negev Dinner in Toronto honoured then-prime minister Stephen Harper while then-foreign minister John Baird was honoured at the 2012 Negev Dinner in Ottawa.
According to the website charityintelligence.ca, JNF Canada raised $9.5 million in 2017.