The Jewish National Fund (JNF), a British charity implicated in human rights violations in Israel, received yet another blow when Green Party of England and Wales members voted overwhelmingly to support an international call for action against JNF practices in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and to revoke its charity status in the UK.
Green Party member Deborah Fink, who is co-founder of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods, moved the motion on Sunday. Fink alerted the conference to “JNF greenwash” and said that “the Green Party stands for environmental and social justice, the upholding of human rights, is against racism and is officially in solidarity with the Palestinian people who have called for this campaign. The JNF is a major impediment to realisation of Green Party policy on the Middle East, therefore the JNF should be condemned. As a charity, the JNF gets tax advantages, so through our taxes, we are subsidising injustice”. The motion passed with no one speaking in opposition and with only three people voting against.
The Green Party endorsement of the Stop the JNF Campaigns comes after similar motions were passed last year by the Scottish Green Party and Scottish Friends of the Earth, all repudiating the JNF’s claim to be an “environmental charity”. The JNF is known for establishing forests and parks over the remains of destroyed Palestinian villages. Last year the JNF lost high level political protection when David Cameron resigned as Honorary Patron, the first time in its 111 year history the serving British Prime Minister does not hold this position. Equally unprecedentedly, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg declined the JNF’s request to become Patrons when they became leaders of their parties.
Terry Gallogly, Green Party member and an organiser of the Stop the JNF Campaign in the UK, welcomed the decision this weekend,
“Our government has stood by for over sixty years doing nothing, or directly complicit in Israel’s violations of Palestinian rights. The JNF is a key tool of Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing, operating as a para-statal organisation with powers over land administration.
“This decision, along with similar positions already taken by civil society organisations such as the Iona Community and trade unions, is a message to the JNF that their days are numbered – we won’t tolerate their abuse of charity status in the UK to fund a system of land theft and racism against Palestinians.”
Campaigners believe that another sign of the JNF’s increasing difficulty is the sixty-four MPs who have signed an Early Day Motion stating there is just cause to consider the revocation of the JNF’s charitable status.