The Jewish National Fund (JNF), a British charity implicated in human rights violations in Israel, received yet another blow when Green Party of England and Wales members voted overwhelmingly to support an international call for action against JNF practices in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to revoke its charity status in the UK.
Green Party member Deborah Fink, who is co-founder of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, moved the motion on Sunday. Fink alerted the conference to “JNF greenwash” and said that “the Green Party stands for environmental and social justice, the upholding of human rights, is against racism and is officially in solidarity with the Palestinian people who have called for this campaign. The JNF is a major impediment to realisation of Green Party policy on the Middle East, therefore the JNF should be condemned. As a charity, the JNF gets tax advantages, so through our taxes, we are subsidising injustice”. The motion passed with no one speaking in opposition and with only three people voting against.
The Green Party endorsement of the Stop the JNF Campaigns comes after similar motions were passed last year by the Scottish Green Party and Scottish Friends of the Earth, all repudiating the JNF’s claim to be an “environmental charity”. The JNF is known for establishing forests and parks over the remains of destroyed Palestinian villages. Last year the JNF lost high level political protection when David Cameron resigned as Honorary Patron, the first time in its 111 year history the serving British Prime Minister does not hold this position. Equally unprecedentedly, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg declined the JNF’s request to become Patrons when they became leaders of their parties.
Terry Gallogly, Green Party member and an organiser of the Stop the JNF Campaign in the UK, welcomed the decision this weekend,
“Our government has stood by for over sixty years doing nothing, or directly complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. The JNF is a key tool of Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing, operating as a para-statal organisation with powers over land administration.
“This decision, along with similar positions already taken by civil society organisations such as the Iona Community and trade unions, is a message to the JNF that their days are numbered – we won’t tolerate their abuse of charity status in the UK to fund a system of land theft and racism against Palestinians.”
Campaigners believe that another sign of the JNF’s increasing difficulty is the sixty-four MPs who have signed an Early Day Motion stating there is just cause to consider the revocation of the JNF’s charitable status.
Notes for editors:
1. Motion passed at the Green Party of England and Wales Spring conference on 26th February 2012
* The Green Party of England and Wales condemns the Jewish National Fund for its activities in excluding non-Jews from Israeli land and denounces the organisation for claiming to be an ecological agency.
* The GPEW endorses the international call for action against the JNF and supports efforts to revoke its charitable status in the UK.
* The GPEW will add its name to the list of signatories of the ‘Stop the JNF Campaign’. (http://www.stopthejnf.org//).
2. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 07931200361
3. ‘Cameron drops Israel ‘racist’ charity’, 27 May 2011
Stop the JNF Campaign: Media Release
4. Stop the JNF campaign makes steady gains as Israel charity goes “on the retreat” in UK
by Asa Winstanley, The Electronic Intifada, 22 February 2012
5. The JNF in the Negev (Naqab)
‘Shattering Israel’s image of ‘democracy’’, The Guardian, 3 December 2009
‘Cameron-backed charity accused of discriminating against non-Jews’, 10 June 2010
‘The Israelis keep bulldozing their village, but still the Bedouin will not give up their land’, The Guardian, 1 March 2011
‘Stop creating forests that are destroying Bedouin lives’, Amnesty International, 11 April 2011
6. Israeli government approves plans to transfer 30,000 Palestinian Bedouin by Mansour Nsasra
The Electronic Intifada, 1 October 2011
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 Minister is a JNF honorary patron; and believes that there is just cause to consider revocation of the JNF’s charitable status in the UK.”
Constituents can sign letters to the MPs here: http://coordin8.org.uk/app/index.php/com/edm1677