The Jewish National Fund is a quasi-governmental, non-profit entity established in 1901 to acquire land in Ottoman Palestine for exclusively Jewish use. Its land is held in trust for "those of Jewish race or descendency" living anywhere in the world, and its constitution explicitly states that its land and property is not to be rented, leased, sold, or worked by non-Jews.
Over a century later, this racist policy remains unchanged.
JNF Collection Box
Since the beginning of the Zionist movement, the JNF has been the principal instrument of land acquisition and displacement of the indigenous Arab population of Palestine.
Linking the Zionist project in Palestine with the Jewish diaspora from which funds have long been raised for "the redemption of the land," both the JNF and Zionism became symbolized by the blue charity collection boxes into which contributions were faithfully deposited by the faithful over many decades. These many thousands of modest donations were supplemented substantially by large contributions from very wealthy donors.
Long before the ethnic cleansing campaign of 1948 which seized 78% of mandate Palestine by force of arms, land which had been 94% Arab-owned, the JNF acquired land by purchase from absentee Arab landowners offering inflated prices and often using deception and betrayal of cooperating Arabs.
Since the Arab tenant farmers who had worked these lands for many generations found themselves displaced and excluded, the corrupted Arab landlords were despised and sometimes attacked by their fellow Arabs.
The process was aided and abetted by the British authorities, leading to Arab revolts and the widespread Arab uprising against the British of 1936-39. Palestinian Arab forces were crushed by the British, which left them almost entirely unarmed and vulnerable to ethnic cleansing by Zionist militias following World War II.
However, to reduce tensions the British issued a White Paper in 1939 stating their intention to cap Jewish immigration at 1/3 the population of Palestine. It had grown from 10% at the beginning of the mandate period through permissive British immigration polices. Upon this policy decision, the British became targets of Zionist terrorism and the Lehi (aka Stern Gang) led by Yitzhak Shamir even offered to join the Nazi war effort against the British in World War II.
These were all ultimate effects of JNF machinations that have continued unabated to this day within the umbrella organization of the Israel Land Authority which controls nearly five million acres - 93% of the land of Israel. The JNF appoints 10 of the 22 members of the ILA, with the other 12 from the Israeli government. Established in 1960 by four "basic laws," Israeli land policy is administered by the ILA and excludes Arab citizens and non-Jewish foreign nationals from land ownership. Ownership in Israel consists of long-term leasing rights, typically 49 or 98 years.
The JNF now solicits contributions to "Plant a Tree in Israel," misrepresenting itself in the US and some 50 other countries as a charitable environmental organization innocently wishing to "make the desert bloom."
In truth, the trees are planted on illegally confiscated Palestinian land, and often to conceal depopulated and destroyed Palestinian villages euphemized as new parks and "reforestation."
The JNF is the principal instrument for greenwashing Israeli apartheid, and its tax-exempt status should be challenged and eliminated.
Its mandate alone warrants the revocation of the JNF's tax-exempt status because it forms the basis for the current-day JNF's discriminatory and racially motivated land-use restrictions that undermine the human and civil rights of indigenous Palestinians.
Moreover, the JNF funds activities in Israel and the Occupied West Bank that are both contrary to the public policy of the United States and inconsistent with activities of a charitable or environmental organization. These activities increase neighborhood tensions, increase prejudice and discrimination, and undermine human and civil rights.
Specifically, the JNF's tax-exempt status should be revoked because:
The JNF's discriminatory land-use restrictions largely bar indigenous Palestinians from leasing, living on, managing or working the majority of the land in the State of Israel. This is the historical outcome of the discriminatory mission of the JNF which, since its founding until today, has promised to hold land in trust for "those of Jewish race or descendency" only.
The JNF's "forestation" projects and parks in Israel and the Occupied West Bank have been planted with the dual purpose of covering up destroyed indigenous villages, from which Palestinians were removed by force, and preventing the Palestinian refugees from returning home in violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The JNF Kennedy Memorial Park was funded in the name of the citizens of the United States without those citizens' knowledge that the park covers the remains of several destroyed Palestinian villages whose inhabitants were forcibly removed in 1948.
The JNF continues similar projects based on its discriminatory land-use restrictions inside of the State of Israel and in the Occupied West Bank. In the Negev, for example, the JNF is assisting the State of Israel in forcibly removing Palestinians from their land, destroying the village of Al-Araqib more than twenty times. The JNF is then investing $600 million to plant forests, to landscape and to develop housing over Al-Araqib and other Palestinian land, for Jewish-only settlements.
These JNF projects have been funded by donors, including many in the United States, whom the JNF has deceived into believing that donated funds support environmental, charitable activities. The JNF's tax-exempt status helps to perpetuate this deception.
The JNF has inflicted grave harm on the natural Palestinian environment by its destructive manner of forestation that included a relentless onslaught on the land using fires, bulldozers, and pesticides to plant non-indigenous pine trees that continue to inflict environmental harm and by its continued use of hazardous chemicals. Indeed, the JNF's goals were not environmental but were: "to grab as much [land] as we could."
The campaign to revoke tax-exempt status of the JNS is thus based upon several compelling grounds, arguing that the JNF is part of a system of racial discrimination, is environmentally destructive, operates under false pretenses, conducts activities contrary to the public policy of the United States and to established charitable values, increases community conflict, practices prejudice and discrimination, and undermines human and civil rights secured by international law.
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