The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has charitable status in over 50 countries, a status based on the JNF's claim that it preserves and advances Jewish culture, community, civic and political participation, rights and safety. In reality, the JNF was created in 1901 for the purpose of colonizing Palestine through the acquisition and management of land for exclusively Jewish settlement. Today, it continues to play a central role in the violent colonization and occupation of Palestine, and is a key institution in maintaining Israeli apartheid.
27 July 2009
Where once the JNF's role was birthing the State of Israel, it is now granted special privileges and an ongoing role in State function, such as their administrative role in the Israeli Land Administration. In turn, the JNF, as a private institution, can hold in trust land and property for the State of Israel, its Jewish population and Jews living outside of Israel and openly discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel-preventing Palestinian leasing of JNF land. Far from the charitable organization the JNF claims to be, it is a para-statal organization-enacting functions of the State of Israel as a private organization, but without the attendant legal accountabilities or regulation.
13% of land in '48 (Israel) is controlled directly by the JNF, most of it seized from Palestinians and transferred to the JNF after May 1948.
- The JNF and Israeli Lands Administration control, through a joint committee, 93% of the land in Israel.
- By its own description, JNF money is also used for the ‘Judaisation' (equating to ‘de-Arabisation') of the Galilee and the Negev.
- In addition JNF money is used to finance reservoirs in the West Bank that steal Palestinian water for settler-only use.
Most recently, the JNF has been involved in expanding Israel's colonial project into the Negev-displacing the indigenous Bedouin people from their "unrecognized" villages into "concentration zones" and destroying their economic, cultural and social way of life. More broadly, central to the mission of the JNF is the acquisition of Palestinian land and property in historic Palestine "for the purpose of settling Jews on such lands and properties." This includes JNF involvement in settler enterprises across the West Bank. When the Israeli army razed to the ground the Palestinian villages of the Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba villages in 1967 and expelled their inhabitants, the JNF took over the construction of the Canada National Park on the ruins. The JNF today claims to be a global environmental leader and trumpets their slogan of ‘Plant Trees and Bring Water to Israel'-a cover up to the ethnic cleansing and acquisition of Palestinian land and water involved in this process. Donors from around the world are then implicated in these crimes, as are the Canadian government and tax payers in the case of Canada Park.
Beyond this, the JNF is active in countries throughout the world and supports a broader network of Zionist institutions and organizations that support the Israeli military and militant Jewish settlements with direct funds. The JNF and its network of organizations also provide the political support necessary for legitimizing and promoting public policies and aid packages for Israel. Every year they bring thousands of public officials and community leaders to Israel to lobby their support. In individual countries, these organizations censor criticism of Israel and target individuals and organizations with blacklists, violence, imprisonment, deportation, unemployment and other economic hardship.
The JNF does not do what it claims to do. It claims to exist for the well-being of the Jewish people. In reality, its activities and the organizations that it funds exist almost exclusively for the purpose of securing and expanding Israel's colonization of Palestine and the apartheid Israeli State. The JNF claims that Jewish safety depends on a secure Israeli State. But Israel does not make Jews safe. Its violence and racism guarantees instability and fear for those within Israel, the rest of historic Palestine, and endangers the safety of all people, including Jews, far beyond its borders.
We are calling for an international campaign to challenge the legitimacy and actions of the Jewish National Fund. We are calling for sanctions against the JNF as a key institution of Israeli apartheid defined by the UN as a crime against humanity. We are calling for the JNF to pay reparations to the Palestinian people for the catastrophic damages done over the course of the JNF's 107 years of existence as a vehicle for the colonial settlement of Palestine.
Demands: revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund.
From states and the United Nations we call for:
- Sanctions against the JNF for its participation in Israeli apartheid
- Boycotting of JNF funded, directly and indirectly, delegations to Israel
From civic society, we call for:
- Civil suits by those whose property was confiscated by the JNF
- Jewish divestment from JNF and its subsidiaries
- An end to grassroots and NGO collaboration with the JNF, particularly by environmental organizations
- An active boycott of Zionist and Israeli events organized by JNF and its subsidiaries
- Take Legal action: challenge the charity status of the JNF and coordinate other judicial review process, support cases against the JNF by Palestinians whose land and property were stolen by the JNF and/or who were dispossessed by the JNF - from 1948 until today.
- Research and document JNF's activities, use of funds, and impact, support investigation into JNF funding of and participation in para-statal activities, collect testimonies, produce research reports and publications, write articles, publicize findings, collect land deeds, digital stories/videos of testimony and a book of specific cases that highlight JNF role in land confiscation and discrimination as part of a broader system of occupation and colonization
- Educate: produce printed materials, submit presentations for conferences, organize workshops and public speaking events, coordinate art exhibits, performances and speaking tours, create digital stories based on testimonies
- Boycott and Disrupt JNF Events: JNF organized fundraisers, delegation, and cultural, educational, sporting and political events
- Take Direct action: Petitions, letters, poster and sticker campaign, disruption of events, pickets, civil disobedience, demonstrations
- Produce and leverage mass and grassroots media: submit editorials and article to print and online journals, organize press conferences, buy advertisement, produce grassroots media, produce and/or screen documentaries, produce and participate in public radio and television series, produce poster campaign
- Support processes of accountability under international law: participate in review processes being organized bycivil organizations to hold Israel accountable under human rights and other international law (i.e. review of Israel for its treaty implementation under the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
Join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign National Committee (BNC), Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Habitat International Coalition of Cairo and the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network in coordinating this campaign.
(1) The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign National Committee include the following member organizations: Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine; General Union of Palestinian Workers; Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions; Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO); Federation of Independent Trade Unions; Union of Arab Community Based Associations (ITTIJAH); Union of Palestinian Charitable Organizations; Palestine Right of Return Coalition; Occupied Palestine and Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative; General Union of Palestinian Women; Union of Palestinian Farmers; Grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (STW); Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI); National Committee to Commemorate the Nakba; Civic Coalition for the Defense of Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ), and the Coalition for Jerusalem.