25 October 2015

Paola, did you see Michael's email on Friday? Last night, we held a rally outside JNF's donor reception, and I shared my story. I was on the Washington DC board of the JNF for 2 years, and for a long time, I wanted to believe that they were just another charity. But they're not -- the JNF is a major international supporter of land theft and dispossession. I resigned from the JNF board when they were publicly caught stealing a home in East Jerusalem and giving it to right wing settlers, and now I'm an activist with JVP. At JVP, we're fighting hard to stop the JNF's racist policies of segregation and discrimination -- but we need you to stand with us. Onwards, Seth Morrison.


Tell the JNF: we won't fund dispossession

Take Action!

Dear Paola-

This weekend, the Jewish National Fund will be in my hometown of Chicago for their annual conference.

While racist Israeli mobs march through the streets of Jerusalem chanting “Death to Arabs,” and Palestinians are being subjected to ever-increasing levels of collective punishment, the JNF will be celebrating how much money they send to Israel and toasting the segregation they enforce on the huge swathes of Israeli land they own. 

The oppression of Palestinians worsens every day. Yet the JNF will be gathering this weekend to double down on their support for discrimination, land theft, and occupation.

That’s why I’ll be in at the JNF conference in Chicago. Along with JVP members from across the country and our allies in the Palestinian liberation movement, we’ll be protesting, and making it clear that the JNF doesn’t speak for all Jews.

But we don’t just want to raise our voices -- we want to raise your voice too. We’ve started an open letter for Jews and our allies to publicly pledge not just to stop funding the JNF, but to actively expose the organization for what it is: a root cause of the escalated violence we’re all seeing. 

Add your name to our open letter -- we won’t fund dispossession. We’ll be displaying the letter loud and proud at the JNF convention.

Growing up at my synagogue, I was taught the importance of Tzedakah (charity), and lots of us grew up putting change in JNF’s blue tzedakah boxes. But the JNF isn’t just another neutral charity -- and the donations they receive from thousands of Jews around the world are being used to perpetuate hatred and persecution in Israel and Palestine.

The JNF controls 13% of all the land in Israel. [1] That's the equivalent of Texas, California, and New York states combined. And across that huge swath of land, the JNF prevents non-Jewish Israelis from renting it or using it. There’s a word for that: segregation. And the JNF admits it. In 2004, in response to a lawsuit, the JNF admitted that they “don’t have a duty to practice equality.” [2]

It doesn’t have to be like this. Sign our open letter, and make it clear that the JNF they can’t count on the uncritical support of Americans any longer.

We’ll be taking the fight directly to the JNF, but that’s not where this battle ends, because the JNF isn’t the only entity propping up Israeli apartheid.

Defenders of Israel’s racist policies want us to think that the current turmoil is the fault of the Palestinian people. But the fact of the matter is clear: NGOs like the JNF, Israel’s defenders in Congress, and Netanyahu’s extremist policies have created the conditions that lead to violence and instability.

It’s time to chart a new course. Send a message to the JNF -- we won’t fund dispossession.

This is an example of how we can all participate in the BDS movement from right where we are. Exerting non-violent economic and social pressure is a time-honored, extremely effective way of achieving political change. And we need to direct it at these major organizations that perpetuate injustice in Israel and Palestine. BDS begins at home -- by withholding money from the JNF -- and our campaign begins with you adding your name.

Thank you for all that you do,

Michael Deheeger
Chicago Organizer

[1, 2] Statement submitted by Habitat International Coalition and Adalah to the 62nd Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, April 2006.