Story, in summary:
1. Scottish PSC accuses JNF of funding ethnic cleansing of Palestinians (on the occasion of a JNF fundraiser in Glasgow attended by Ruby Wax).
2. Solicitors for JNF threaten Scottish PSC with legal action for defamation etc and denies any role in ethnic cleansing.
3. JNF Letter
4. Scottish PSC writes to JNF welcoming legal action in order to expose JNF support for ethnic cleansing infront of a British jury.

5. JNF goes quiet -  retreats from threat
6. Ruby Wax pulls out of Israeli independence festival in London.

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1. PRESS STATEMENT BY SCOTTISH PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN

Ruby Wax
Ruby Wax Supports Racist Organisation Issued: 24 March 2004

For Immediate Release
Ruby Wax will be attending the Jewish National Fund dinner this coming Sunday evening (March 28th) at the Glasgow Hilton.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is an extremist racist organisation which promotes the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Palestinians from their land.

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign with other human rights campaigns is calling for a huge demonstration at the Glasgow Hilton.

The JNF has frequently broken the law by dispossessing peasant cultivators from their customary lands. Most of the lands acquired by the JNF since 1948 are lands which belonged to the refugees forced to flee in 1948 or lands expropriated by the government from Arab citizens. Once acquired by the JNF, land becomes an inalienable part of the Jewish national heritage -- that is, it may not be sold or leased to non-Jews.

The JNF has the right of first refusal when any public lands not owned by it outright are sold or transferred. The JNF has exclusive responsibility for land development. Non-Jews, regardless of their citizenship status, are not eligible for JNF services. This means they cannot lease or sublease JNF-owned lands and cannot work as hired laborers on these lands.

The JNF supports the occupation and helps to finance the illegal settlements in the territories. Since 1978 most JNF activities have been involved in acquiring and developing land for Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. The JNF has collaborated with the Israeli authorities in expropriating Palestinian lands, razing cultivated fields and bulldozing orchards, and denying equal access to water sources.

In December of 1998, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, under the aegis of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, issued a scathing report on Israel’s violations of its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in both Israel and the territories it still occupies.

The magnitude and extent of this discrimination is further underlined by Israeli practices with regard to land ownership as evidenced in the activities of the World Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency. Although these organizations are chartered under private law, the Government of Israel works collaboratively with them, facilitating their activities and often exercising a decisive influence on their policies. As stated in the UN report, "the Committee notes with grave concern that the Status Law of 1952 authorizes the World Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency and its subsidiaries, including the Jewish National Fund, to control most of the land in Israel, since these institutions are chartered to benefit Jews exclusively."

The activities of these groups with regard to the land are particularly troubling. The Committee noted that "large-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and property by the State and the transfer of that property to these agencies constitute an institutionalized form of discrimination because these agencies by definition would deny the use of these properties to non-Jews. Thus, these practices constitute a breach of Israel’s obligations under the Covenant."

For further information please contact
Mick Napier:
0795 800 2591 / 0131-620-0052
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
c/o Peace and Justice Centre, Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4BJ

www.scottishpsc.org.uk

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2. PRESS STATEMENT BY SCOTTISH PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN

Issued: 27 March 2004
For Immediate Release
THREAT OF LEGAL ACTION FROM JNF

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign deplores the decision of the entertainer Ruby Wax to appear at a Jewish National Fund dinner in Glasgow this coming Sunday. We have called on all individuals and groups opposed to discrimination on ethnic grounds to join us in protest at this event.

As a result of some of our publicity for this protest, the SPSC has been threatened with legal action by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). A letter to our campaign from solicitors acting for the JNF is attached. They have demanded a full retraction and apology, as well as substantial damages and legal costs. None of this will be forthcoming. In addition, the SPSC web site at was temporarily disabled this week as a result of a complaint from the JNF to our service providers.

The content to which the JNF objected included the following quotes:
"Ruby Wax to support ethnic cleansing in Glasgow"

"the Jewish National Fund (JNF) raises funds for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians"

"The JNF is a quasi-official organisation of the Israeli state that exists to raise funds for the acquisition and development of land for Jewish settlement. As such, it provides one of the main mechanisms through which Israel's system of ethnic segregation and discrimination is enforced."

This final paragraph is a restatement of the findings of the 1998 report of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural rights. Paragraph 237 notes "grave concern that the status Law of 1952 authorizes the World Zionist organization/Jewish Agency and its subsidiaries, including the Jewish National Fund, to control most of the land in Israel, since these institutions are chartered to benefit Jews exclusively...The Committee takes the view that large-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and property by the State and the transfer of that property to these agencies constitute an institutionalized form of discrimination". (our emphasis)

As the report implies, the JNF has been a major beneficiary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians perpetrated by the Israeli state. Following the removal of the inhabitants, the state "privatised" their lands by a transfer of ownership to the JNF and related bodies. Such lands may not under the JNF charter, be returned or even sold or leased to their original owners. Millions of Palestinians languish in refugee camps as a result.

According to Israeli historians, Josef Weitz, the head of the JNF lands division during the 1948 war, was directly involved in the forced removal of Palestinians. The following quote will suffice to indicate his thinking.

"There is no other way than to transfer the Arabs from here to neighbouring countries ... all of them; not one village, not one tribe, should be left."

The impression one would gain from JNF publicity is of a benevolent charity whose main activity seems to be planting trees. The reality is very different.

The SPSC calls upon the Charities Commission to investigate the charitable status of the JNF and to verify that it meets the requirements of the charity commission.

The SPSC is a small organisation with limited resources which opposes all forms of racial or ethnic discrimination. We reject all attempts by the JNF to silence the voices calling for justice.

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3. THREAT OF LEGAL ACTION FROM JNF:

Racists to the core
Dear Sirs,

JEWISH NATIONAL FUND

We act for the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a charitable organisation.

Today, 24 March 2004, we have been referred to an article on the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website set up or caused to be set up by you on the World Wide Web system. On the Internet address
<http://scottishpsc.org.uk> you published the following words defamatory of our client:

"Ruby Wax to support ethnic cleansing in Glasgow"
 "the Jewish National Fund (JNF) raises funds for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians".
 "The JNF is a quasi-official organisation of the Israeli state that exists to raise funds for the acquisition and development of land for Jewish settlement. As such, it provides one of the main mechanisms through
which Israel's system of ethnic segregation and discrimination is enforced".

These words meant and would have been understood to mean that our client supports the unlawful expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from their homelands. This slur is particularly damaging because of the inference that our
client is abusing its charitable status. The allegation and the imputation and/or inference are each entirely false.

Our client has never raised funds or used their funds for the purposes of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians or indeed of any ethnic group.

Your publication of these allegations on the Internet on a Website which is readily accessible to users of the system constitutes a very serious libel and has cause our client very serious embarrassment. The extent of the
damage caused to our client's reputation is evidenced by the fact that in the course of 2 ? hours your Website has been accessed over 100 times as recorded on the Websites' front page.

In the circumstances our client requires you to remove the Website or at least the words referred to above and any similar words or phrases. Also our client requires as a matter of urgency a full and unequivocal
retraction and an apology in terms to be approved by us together with an undertaking not to repeat these allegations. Our client is also entitled to substantial damages upon which we invite your proposals. In addition, our client will also require payment by you of all legal costs it has incurred in this matter.

We look forward to hearing from you without delay. If we do not receive a constructive response to this letter by 12 noon on 25 March 2004 our instructions are to issue proceedings for damages, costs and to apply for
injunctive relief. In that eventuality, we would be obliged if you could indicate to us as quickly as possible the name and address of a solicitor who can accept service of proceedings on your behalf.

In the meantime our client reserves all of its rights.

Yours faithfully,
PHILIPPSOHN CRAWFORDS BERWALD

Samantha Thomas

Philippsohn Crawfords Berwald Solicitors Lawson House 294-295 High holborn
London WC1V 7JG Tel : +44 (0) 207 831 2691 Fax : +44 (0) 207 405 8629
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.pcblitigation.com


This is an E-mail from Philippsohn Crawfords Berwald, Solicitors. The contents of this E-mail are confidential to the ordinary user of the E-mail address to which it was sent and may be privileged. No one else may
place any reliance on it or copy, disclose or forward all or any of it in any form. Our postal address is at Lawson House, 294-295 High Holborn, London WC1V 7JG at which address a list of our Partners may be inspected. If you receive this E-mail in error, please notify us immediately.

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4. REPLY FROM SPSC TO JNF

Don't negotiate with racists - fight them!
We have received a letter from your lawyers threatening to sue us and demanding damages and apology from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign on the grounds that we have stated publicly that “the Jewish National Fund (JNF) raises funds for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians".

As you know, every word we have written is true and we look forward to meeting representatives of your racist organisation in front of a British jury. We will produce witnesses to verify that they personally have been, and remain to this day, the victims of ethnic cleansing by the Israelis, which is supported by the Jewish National Fund. They will testify that this ethnic cleansing has gone on for over 56 years and continues to this day.

Hell will freeze over before we part with one penny to your Fund, which would only go towards the further violation of the human rights of Palestinians.

Your demand for damages is an impertinence – your organisers deserve to be in prison for the human rights violations they have encouraged and supported.

We stand by our statement and many similar statements and will continue, with many others committed to opposing Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, to publicise the evidence of your involvement in the world's longest-running, unfinished programme of ethnic cleansing.

The pathetic nature of your ‘case’ is made clear by your slight of hand, namely, that we implied that the JNF “supports the unlawful expulsion of Palestinian Arabs from their homelands.” Far from being unlawful, your atrocious violations of Palestinian human rights are perfectly legal in the racist State of Israel.

We are a campaign for the human rights of all; our supporters, Muslim, Christian, Jewish and many of no religious persuasion, are determined to see the end of a fund which violates in Israel/Palestine every generally accepted norm of human rights with the assistance of generous subsidies from Gordon Brown and the British taxpayer.

The JNF is the only group of organised racists we have corresponded with and it is not a pleasant experience. Please do not write back except to inform us of the date of the first court appearance.

Any decision on your part not to proceed with your threats of legal action will be taken as an admission that you are indeed, as we claim and insist, involved in racist activities and the ongoing programme of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Mick Napier Chair, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Caroline Greaney Secretary, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

c/o Peace & Justice Centre 2 Princes Street Edinburgh EH 2 4BJ 0131-620-0052
www.scottishpsc.org.uk 
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(5. From that day to this, SPSC has received no reply)

6. PROTEST WORKS - RUBY PULLS OUT OF NEXT ZIONIST GIG.
Ruby Wax cancelled an appearance at Israeli independence festival in London following a vigorous, 150-strong protest against her support for a JNF fund-raising event last Sunday 28 March 2004 at the Glasgow Hilton.

"Protests against JNF are working"
Wax cited Israel's assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin as her reason, but Zionist Federation President Eric Moonman added, "Miss Wax had a bad experience at a JNF function and after that she was thinking of pulling out."

The Jewish Telegraph reported:  Now she opts out of London date

Ruby Wax has sensationally pulled out of London's Yom Ha'atzmaut celebrations because she disagrees with Israel's politics. Speaking exclusively to the Jewish Telegraph in Glasgow on Sunday, the American-born entertainer said she would tell the organisers of Israel is our Future that she has no intention of participating.

It's because I don't agree with what Israel just did," she declared, referring to the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Alan Aziz, chief executive of the Zionist Federation, one of a number of organisations behind the celebrations, told me yesterday: "Nothing has been received as yet from her".  But he said that they had met Wax and her agent.

ZF president Eric Moonman added: "Representatives of Ruby Wax and the Yom Ha'atzmaut organisers are discussing the interview with the Jewish Telegraph. "No artiste would ever be asked to appear on a Yom Ha'atzmaut stage who was critical of Israeli policy and its people." He said that talks had been held with another world star "parallel to our negotiations with Ruby Wax" and he would be in London during the weekend of the event and prepared to fill the breach on Monday April 26." 

Report in Jewish Telegraph here 05 April 2004

 

 

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