Israel charity ‘on the retreat’ say Palestine campaigners

11 November 2011
Stop the JNF Campaign

Activists campaigning for equal rights of all citizens inside Israel claim the Jewish National Fund (JNF) is “on the retreat” since they are holding their 110th anniversary event at a secret location in London this weekend for fear of protests.

Tom Evans of the Stop the JNF Campaign noted that “in previous years the JNF were extremely confident of their brand and always announced high profile events months in advance, with celebrity keynote speakers such as Bill Clinton”. Evans believes that, “the secrecy enveloping this key anniversary event shows clearly they understand that support for Israel, and the continuing role of the JNF in the dispossession of Palestinians is making them a toxic brand.”

The JNF is now losing key political patronage. Whereas past leaders of all three main British political parties invariably became JNF honorary patrons, Prime Minister David Cameron resigned his Honorary Patronage in May, a first for any British Prime Minister, while Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband also broke with the tradition of their own parties and both declined the invitation to become JNF honorary patrons.

The JNF claims to be “Israel’s leading humanitarian and environmental charity”, a claim rejected as ‘greenwash’ by environmental charities across the world. There is increasing uneasiness about the organisation’s role in the Israeli government policy of discrimination against non-Jews, particularly in the destruction of Palestinian Bedouin villages in the Negev, the forced removal of the villagers to what campaigners refer to as a process of concentration and their replacement with Jewish-only settlements. Campaigners have called this process ‘ethnic cleansing’ and point to the effective subsidy of the JNF’s activities through its charitable, tax-exempt status here in the UK.

Only last month the Israeli cabinet approved plans for a large-scale ‘transfer’ of 30,000 Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab (Negev) desert from their lands. A further plan schedules the eviction of 27,000 Bedouin from their lands in the West Bank.

An Early Day Motion to remove the charitable status of the JNF, tabled by MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Gerald Kaufman in March, continues to gain the support of MPs. So far 48 MPs have signed to show their belief that there is “just cause to consider revocation of the JNF’s charitable status in the UK”.

ENDS

Notes for editors:

1. The Stop the JNF Campaign is an international campaign aimed at ending the role of the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kayemet LeIsrael) (JNF-KKL) in:

– the on-going displacement of indigenous Palestinians from their land

– the theft of their property

– the funding of historic and present day colonies, and

– the destruction of the natural environment.

The Jewish National Fund was established in 1901 by the World Zionist Organisation and mandated to obtain land for the sole use of persons of ‘Jewish faith, race or ancestry’. It was first registered in the UK, and has retained a fundraising and propaganda function in Britain since the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. Through its landholdings and its influence on the Israel Land Authority, the JNF controls 93% of the land in Israel on which it practices its ethnic exclusion policies.

The JNF continues to serve as a global fundraiser for Israeli ethnic cleansing, occupation and apartheid. Despite its role in a State institution of Israel (the Israel Land Authority) and in institutionalized racism and apartheid, the JNF and its affiliate organisations enjoy charitable status in over 50 countries.

For further information, contact uk@stopthejnf.org, 07931200361

Website: www.stopthejnf.org.uk

2. JNF UK 110th anniversary event

http://t.co/XnoUmp2O

3. ‘Cameron drops Israel ‘racist’ charity’, 27 May 2011

Stop the JNF Campaign: Media Release

http://www.stopthejnf.org//greatbritain_campaignnews_pressrelease27may2011.html

4. Scottish Green Party reject ‘green’ claims of charity involved in ethnic cleansing of Palestinians

31 October 2011

Friends of the Earth Scotland endorses call for action against the JNF

28 May 2011

5. The JNF in the Negev (Naqab)

‘Shattering Israel’s image of ‘democracy’’, The Guardian, 3 December 2009

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/dec/03/israel-negev

‘Cameron-backed charity accused of discriminating against non-Jews’, 10 June 2010

http://www.jnews.org.uk/news/cameron-backed-charity-accused-of-discriminating-against-non-jews

‘The Israelis keep bulldozing their village, but still the Bedouin will not give up their land’, The Guardian, 1 March 2011

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/01/israelis-demolish-bedouin-village

‘Stop creating forests that are destroying Bedouin lives’, Amnesty International, 11 April 2011

http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/stop-destruction-bedouin-village-and-its-inhabitants%E2%80%99-livelihoods-5

6. Israeli government approves plans to transfer 30,000 Palestinian Bedouin by Mansour Nsasra

The Electronic Intifada, 1 October 2011

http://electronicintifada.net/content/israeli-government-approves-plans-transfer-30000-palestinian-bedouin/10444#.Tq56c3JDmIw

7. Early day motion 1677, JEWISH NATIONAL FUND, Session: 2010-12

“That this House welcomes the Stop the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Campaign launched on 30 March 2011 by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others to inform the public about the JNF – Karen Kayemet L’Yisrael, its ongoing illegal expropriation of Palestinian land, concealing of destroyed Palestinian villages beneath parks and forests, and prevention of refugees from returning to their homes; notes that the JNF’s constitution is explicitly discriminatory by stating that land and property will never be rented, leased or sold to non-Jews; further notes that the UN rejected the JNF USA’s application for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council on the ground that it violates the principles of the UN Charter on Human Rights; regrets that the Prime Ministeris a JNF honorary patron; and believes that there is just cause to consider revocation of the JNF’s charitable status in the UK.”

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/1677