“Connecting for Tomorrow” is the title of the congress which is to take place on Sunday 10th November 2013 from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. in the Berlin Congress Centre (BCC), Alexanderstr. 11, in the centre of Berlin. The aim of the Congress is to intensify the relations between Israel and Germany and is the 3. Israel Congress of this series. The previous two congresses were held in Frankfurt-am-Main, but from now on they are to be hosted in Berlin. More than a thousand (1000) guests have been invited both from inland and abroad. The Lufthansa is offering visitors from Israel cheap flights.
The reasons as to why Berlin is not able to look forward to hosting the congress and its guests, and why the Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East (Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost e.V.), together with many other organisations, warn against unreflecting words of welcome, are set out in this leaflet.
We protest against the Israeli government occupation policies of the past 46 years. This occupation not only represents the longest period of occupation in world history, but is equivalent to an expansion of the State of Israel on Palestinian territory, and contrary to International Law. This year the EU passed its Guidelines with regard to the illegality of the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
We protest against the settlement and land expropriation policies of the State of Israel towards the Palestinian population both inside and outside Israel’s borders, and especially against those Zionist organisations, which further and implement these policies of “ethnic cleansing” – also called “the Judaization of the earth”.
We raise our voice against the “strategic partnership” of the Congress organizers with the Jewish National Fund (henceforth called the JNF), which as sponsoring organisation of those illegal and racial policies has reserved for its provocative “Green Oasis” 100 square metres of floor space, thereby covering the whole Level B of the BCC, in order to present itself as “Bridge to Israel”.
Under the pretence of being part of the alternative ecological peace movement, the JNF presents its inhuman networks and projects as exchange and cooperation “covering green industrial interests”. No mention is made of the fact that its activities concentrate entirely on the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
The Jewish Voice knows that it acts in agreement with many other NGO’s in Israel (Regional Council of Unrecognised Villages, Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity, ICAHD – The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions), in the USA (International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) and in Europe (Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine (APJP) (UK), as well as with the international campaign ”Stop the JNF”, when in German-speaking countries it has repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that since the founding of the State of Israel the policies practised by the JNF/KKL have been incompatible with human rights and must be morally and ethically condemned. (Please refer www. Juedische-Stimme.de). Together with the Palestinian people on Land Day we commemorate every year the violent suppression of the Arab demonstration in 1976 against the systematic robbery and expropriation of thousands of hectares of land, during which six Palestinians were killed and hundreds wounded. “The Land Day” has become a symbol of common resistance for all Palestinians both in and outside Israel against repression, expropriation and expulsion.
The planning and above all the expropriation of Arab land – often carried out with violent methods and disregard of human rights – is the responsibility of the Land Appropriation Authority, the KKL. This national organisation was founded by the Zionist Movement in 1901 as the Keren Kayemet L’Israel (KKL), translated literally as Existing Fund for Israel, in the first instance in order to purchase land for the Jewish settlement of Palestine. In international common usage this organisation is correctly known as the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
Apart from its extensive appeals for donations in all Jewish communities and, particularly in Israel, the established forms of contribution to the JNF, the organisation has declared an annual international “Green Sunday” – also therefore in Germany – on which people are called on to donate money to “plant trees in Israel”, in order to make the country green and wooded.
Making the Negev Desert green has been one of the major JNF projects for the past few years. In February 2011 the Bedouin settlement Al Arakib was destroyed for the eighteenth time. The bulldozers which brought about this suffering on its inhabitants were plainly visible as being the property of the JNF. Al Arakib and other Bedouin villages in the Negev Desert, but also in other parts of Israel, have been destroyed in order to make room for the JNF’s tree-planting projects. During the Berlin Israel-Congress, in the “Green Oasis”, many of these projects will be euphemistically described and promoted as being an attractive investment for the future. Recreational parks and similar attractions in the Negev Desert are also to be included within the framework of this programme, not only for Israelis, but especially for tourists, too. This means that the traditional homeland and environment of the Bedouin people is being subjected by the JNF – with the political and legal support of the Israeli government – to a process of enforced evacuation and cleansing, with the unequivocal aim of establishing Jewish settlement in this territory as well.
In the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem the JNF under the name of Himanuta carries out the expropriation of private land estate and property as well as the evacuation and destruction of apartments, houses and whole residential areas belonging to the Palestinian population, in order to hand over these “cleansed” neighbourhoods to Jewish settlers, some of whom are new immigrants. The organization Himanuta, founded in 1938 with the aim of furthering Jewish immigration and colonisation of Palestine, which at that time was under British Mandate, is owned exclusively by the JNF. After 1967 the Himanuta extended its “business activity” to include the colonisation of the territories occupied by Israel during the Six-Day-War, in order to protect the KKL alias the JNF, from charges of violating International Law by taking possession of occupied land. So the cooperation between the Himanuta and extreme right-wing settler organisations such as ELAD (David-Town-Foundation) will hardly come as a surprise.
The examples given above are characteristic for the whole history of the JNF from its first beginnings until the present day.
Many people here make generous donations to the JNF. The Fund is officially recognized as a non-profit-making organization which plants trees in order to make Israel green and fertile. For this reason the donations are tax-free. Presumably most of the donors do not know that the JNF withholds precise information about the uses their money is being put to. They probably do not even suspect that their money is indirectly being used in order to expel the original non-Jewish population of Israel and the Occupied Territories. The statutes of the Jewish National Fund provide for land to be sold, leased and rented only to Jews. Such an organisation should not and cannot represent the whole “Jewish people”.
We are Jewish European men and women. The State of Israel does not represent us. We condemn the amoral practice of expropriation and the deprivation of the rights of Palestinians.
It is being committed NOT IN OUR NAME!
We protest against the strategic partnership of the Congress with the JNF and declare:
The policies of the JNF, to”judaize” Palestinian land both within Israel and in the Occupied Territories, that is to declare them as an exclusively Jewish-Israeli colonial area and to resettle them only with Jews, must be denounced as racial and be prevented.
We emphatically do NOT welcome the JNF!
Come to our protest demonstration on 10th November from 9.30 -12.00 at the BCC, Alexanderstr. 11
Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost e.V. Berlin, November 2013
(Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East)
This declaration is supported by the following organisations:
AK Nahost Berlin, Aktionskreis Palästina FFM, Arbeiterfotografie, Bundesverband, Arbeitskreis Palästina Tübingen, Erhard Arendt, Dortmund, BDS Berlin, BDS Schweiz, Dr. Rüdeger Baron, Röthenbach, Winfried Belz, Heidelberg, Deutsch-Palästinensischer Frauenverein e.V., Deutsch-Palästinensische Gesellschaft (dpg), Flüchtlingskinder im Libanon e.V., Frauen in Schwarz München, Frauen in Schwarz (Vienna), FrauenWegeNahost, Annette Groth, MdB Die LINKE, ICAHD Deutschland, Institut für Palästinakunde e.V., Bonn, Matthias Jochheim (IPPNW), Kölner FRAUEN IN SCHWARZ, Kritische Jüdische Stimme (Austria), Helge Löw, Ehrenvorstandsmitglied im Weltfriedensdienst, Nahostkomitee in der Berliner Friko, Ökumenisches Zentrum für Umwelt-, Friedens- und Eine-Welt-Arbeit, Palästina/Nahost-Initiative Heidelberg, Palästinakomitee Stuttgart, Palästina-Solidarität Region Basel, Palästina-Forum-Nahost, Frankfurt/M, Palästinensische Gemeinde Deutschland / Berlin, Palästinensische Gemeinde Deutschland e.V., Jörg J. Rieche, Annerose Schulz
The following organisations declare their solidarity with the criticism of the JNF: Jüdische Stimme für einen gerechten Frieden zwischen Israel und Palästina (Switzerland), AG Al Arakib (Switzerland)