On Tuesday, 16 April 2013, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) will make a present for Israel’s 65th Day of Foundation. The SPD has already called for donations for a â€œForest of the SPDâ€ for months. The money for this so called â€œsocial actionâ€ will go to the JNF.
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On its website the JNF calls itself Israel’s largest, politically independent and non-profit Green Organization and notes further that its colors blue, green and brown stand for the protection of water resources, the greening of the land and the ecological approach to the soil.
The beautiful appearances, however, are deceiving!
Behind its propagandised policy of environmentally responsible behavior, the JNF is hiding its contribution to Israeli policy of the ongoing expulsion of the indigenous Palestinian People from their land in Israel and in the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories including East-Jerusalem.
In southern Israel, in the Negev / Naqab tens of thousands of Palestinians who are non-Jewish citizens of Israel will be forcibly displaced. The JNF plans to create parks and forests on their land and build settlements reserved for Jewish people only. One of these forests will be the “Forest of the SPD”.
The JNF owns 13% of Israel’s land and together with the Israel Land Administration (ILA), where 6 out of 13 members of the steering committee are appointed by the JNF it maintains 93% of the total land. In a statement the JNF notes:
„As a landowner, the JNF is not a public body which acts on behalf of all the citizens of the state. Its loyalty is to the Jewish people and its responsibility is to it alone. As the owner of JNF land, the JNF does not have to act with equality towards all citizens of the state.“ 1
The unequal treatment of Israel’s population along ethnic lines, as practiced by the JNF according to its own principles, complies with the criteria of Apartheid as defined in Article 2 of the ‚International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid‘ 2 and in Article 7 of the ‚Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court‘ 3.
As a central pillar in Israel’s system of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid, the JNF and its branches are active worldwide in more than 50 countries. The JNF enjoys the status of a non-profit non-governmental organization and thus benefits from the tax deductibility of donations, despite its assigned role as described above.
For several years, however, protest against this semi-governmental organization increases. The StoptheJNF-Campaign founded in 2009 4 which so far mainly operates in the UK, North America and South Africa contributes significantly to expose the machinations of the JNF.
As part of the global movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with International Law, the international Call of the StoptheJNF-Campaign is supported by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC).
We call on you to join this international campaign against the JNF and to sign this petition to the persons responsible in the SPD as a first step.
In future the JNF should be boycotted by the international civil society and governments which regularly uphold the primacy of International Law.
The persons responsible in the SPD should be aware that with their appeal for donations for the JNF they are acting against human rights and International Law – contrary to their own principles.
BDS Berlin March 30th 2013 (Land Day)
Ending of the petition
To all signatories,
The petition “No support of the Jewish National Fund by the SPD” was a great success. About 1000 people, groups and organizations have signed the German petition; around 250 signed the English one from Europe, Israel and abroad – within a period of less than 3 weeks. We expressed, that we condemn the support of the JNF by the SPD.
Thanks to all of you!
It seems that the aim of the responsibles in the SPD was not achieved. The hope that “we Social democrats” can do more as Andrea Nahles (General Secretary of the SPD) and Christian Lange (whip) expressed in the flyer Help us to green Israel did not accomplish.
We do not know whether the responsibles in the SPD presented its â€œForest of the SPDâ€ to Israel’s 65th anniversary via the JNF. We can say, however, that the donations for this forest did not reach the intended 5,000 trees. (Wald der SPD).
Israel’s 65th anniversary is over now and we finish this petition.
Thanks again to all of you!
BDS Berlin, April 18, 2013
In case you missed this: Official complaint to the UK Charities Commission