Feb 24, 2011

#BDS: Call for an international campaign to Stop the Jewish National Fund

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"The Jewish National Fund (JNF)[1] was instrumental in the ethnic cleansing[2] of Palestine in the 1948 Nakba, and continues to play a central role in maintaining Israel's regime of apartheid.[3] The JNF provided political, financial and intelligence[4] support for the Zionist forces in their conquest, massacres and ethnic cleansing operations that characterized the 1948-49 war and the Palestinian Nakba. Today, the JNF controls vast properties belonging to millions of Palestinians, developing them exclusively for persons of “Jewish nationality,” a concept established and promoted in the JNF’s charter to exclude all others.
The JNF was created in 1901 to acquire land and property rights in Palestine and beyond for exclusive Jewish settlement. While indigenous Palestinians are barred from leasing[5], building on, managing or working their own land, the JNF holds the land in trust for “those of Jewish race or descendency” living anywhere in the world to “promote the interests of Jews in the prescribed region.”[6]
To ensure such racist control over the majority of confiscated Palestinian lands, Israel adopted the JNF model of discriminatory land management as official state policy. In 1953, the Israeli Knesset legislated special status for JNF, enabling it to carry out governmental functions as a Zionist institution (“for Jews only”). The JNF continues to operate as a state-chartered organization[7] under Israeli law with direct control over some thirteen percent of the land in pre-1967 Israel. Further, the JNF appoints six out of thirteen members of the governing board of the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), which manages the JNF’s thirteen percent, in addition to another eighty percent of all land in Israel. It is through this relationship with the JNF that Israel, while portraying itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, in fact, outsources the land-management functions of the state to this discriminatory state-chartered organization.
After the 1948 Nakba and the expulsion of approximately two-thirds of the Palestinian population from their homeland, the JNF was repackaged as an environmentalist organization carrying out forestation activities. The JNF's forests, parks and recreational facilities, planted and built on the ruins of hundreds of destroyed and depopulated Palestinian villages, have critically served to veil from public view the continuing official Israeli attempts to erase the traces of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The JNF is thus fundamentally complicit in the denial of displaced Palestinians' rights to return, restitution and compensation, and in green-washing Israel's regime of apartheid, colonization and occupation."
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