Open letter – SPD Gift to JNF

SPD-Parteivorstand
Willy-Brandt-Haus
Wilhelmstraße 141
10963 Berlin

The Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East, EJJP Germany) is disappointed to hear that the SPD is launching a campaign to raise donations for the Jewish National Fund (JNF) for the planting of an “SPD Forest” in the Negev.
The SPD has cynically noted that the German government considers donations to the JNF to be tax-deductible. This means that donations to the JNF are subsidized by the German government, which is thereby assisting indirectly in the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Beduin population of the Negev Desert.
But while the German government’s involvement is indirect, the SPD is directly supporting this criminal action. The SPD knows that the JNF’s goal is to “Judaize” Israel, and that its projects of planting forests in the Negev are part of an effort to stop the native Beduin population from using the land for agriculture and pasture as they have been doing up till now.
It is alarming that the SPD has chosen to give Israel a “birthday gift,” by giving money to an organization that actively promotes the expansion of one population group over another. The SPD has ignored the fact that the Negev (Naqab, in Arabic) is populated mostly by Moslems, whom the JNF is actively trying to displace from their lands. They are also citizens of Israel, but the “present” from the SPD would taste very bitter for them.
In March this year, the Jüdische Stimme already warned against donations to the JNF, a criminal organization actively engaged in illegal settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, mainly through its subsidiary “Himanuta.” In 2011-2012 the village of Al Arakib in the desert was demolished by JNF bulldozers more than thirty times. The JNF sought donations from U.S donors to plant a forest on the lands of Al Arakib in order to prevent the residents from rebuilding their homes and restoring their agricultural lands.
This year, the Jüdische Stimme noticed with great interest, that the world community is beginning to respond to the crimes committed by the JNF, and this year in the UK donations to the JNF were halved, after many donors refused to participate in ethnic cleansing projects. Unfortunately, the SPD appears to be lagging behind and is either unaware of, or unwilling to address the contradiction between supporting the JNF and the right of all Israeli citizens to be treated with dignity and respect.
Finally, as Jews we wish to stress that by mixing a “present for Israel” with a “present for Chanukah,” the SPD is mixing a Jewish tradition with discrimination against Palestinians and Beduins in Israel. We wish to stress that as Jews we reject the expropriation methods of JNF and its racist ideology promoting the “Judaization” of the Negev. The idea that a Jewish holiday, “Chanukah,” is an occasion to attack non-Jews is abhorrent, and we anxiously wait to hear an explanation from the SPD of why they chose to make this connection.
19. Dezember, 2012
1. http://www.spd.de/partei/82714/20121130_baum_statt_krawatte.html;jsessionid=CD01A2B77850FA5CFBDDF4E849BA1649
2. http://www.tarabut.info/en/articles/article/JNF-starting-to-pay/

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Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost

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