Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BDS protestors picket the Jewish National Fund in Melbourne

Dear friends,
pro-Palestine campaigners and BDS activists held a successful picketed outside the annual Gala Dinner of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.

As the call for the action noted:

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is a quasi- government organisation in Israel that buys up land in Israel from Palestinians and refuses to sell or lease it to non-Jews. Created in 1901 to acquire land for a Jewish State in Palestine, the JNF is most commonly known for its campaign to ‘plant a tree in Israel’ in order to ‘make the desert bloom.’ However, the trees are not planted in a barren desert empty of inhabitants that Jewish people have come to populate and make flourish. Lands were, and still are, obtained from their Palestinian inhabitants through exploitative land sales, forced removal or other apartheid state policies.

Sadly despite the JNF being an instrument of Israeli Apartheid, the JNF
currently has tax exempt status in Australia and is supported by the major political parties. The JNF’s Gala dinner on Sept. 21 will be attended by Victoria’s Premier and the Israeli Ambassador to Australia.
Protestors in line with the Palestinian initiated BDS campaign called for: 

End the occupation of Palestine.
Equal rights for Palestinians living in Israel.
Let the Palestinian refugees return.
No Australian support for apartheid. End the JNF’s tax exempt status.
In addition they called for: Australian state and Federal governments to break all economic, political and military ties with Israel and for Australia to Impose immediate sanctions on Israel.

Below is a copy of the media release issued by protestors.  

For more information on the BDS campaign and  the Stop the JNF campaign  - click here.

The Stop the JNF campaign was established by a coalition of solidarity organizations around the world including Palestinian and Israeli groups, aims to expose the JNF’s violations of Palestinian rights and international law, promote civil and legal challenges to the JNF throughout Europe, the Americas and Australasia, seeking to annul the JNF’s charitable privileges and tax-exempt fundraising, and have JNF offices world-wide shut down

Visit the Stop the JNF  website - click here

I have include a link to the also included a number of links, including my article which appeared in Direct Action about Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouin.  The articles outline the JNF role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and how the JNF and the Israeli state "greenwash" their actions.

Jewish National Fund: Zionism, ethnic cleansing and environmental racism - click here

Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Bedouin - click here

Israel approves plan to uproot 30,000 Bedouins - click here

In solidarity, 

JNF Protest - 21 Sept 2011, Melbourne
Photos by Gin Gordon

BDS Protesters picket the Jewish National Fund

When: 6pm, Wednesday September 21.

Where:  Crown Plaza. Cnr. Queenbridge St. and Whiteman St. Soutbank.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF), a Zionist organisation set up to confiscate Palestinian land and plants forests to hide the ruins of Palestinian villages are having a gala dinner. The event will be attended by Victorian Premier Ted Ballieu and Israel’s Ambassador to Australia.

At $150 a head, this gala dinner is the biggest annual fundraiser for the JNF.  It will be  attended an array of Australia’s “elite” collectively meeting to show their support for an organisation committed to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and whose constitution requires it to lease land ‘in perpetuity’ only to ‘persons of Jewish religion, race or origin’.   

Campaign Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA) will be there to show our opposition to the JNF and the Australian governments political consensus support for Israel and calling for the Victorian and Australian government to break all economic, military and political ties with the Israeli state.

James Crafti, a Jewish anti-Zionist and one of the 19 BDS protestors arrested on July 1, sees the need to break Australia’s ties with Israel.

He said, “JNF functions have been attended by Labour and Liberal leader. Kevin Rudd has attended past JNF events and Ballieu is attending this one. Australia is the largest per-capita sponsor of the JNF internationally and that is because Australian governments continue to back this apartheid state. Within the last three months, Baillieu wanted the ACCC to litigate against the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions movement. He employed Zionist leader, John Searle, as chair of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and is a guest of honour at the JNF’s function. The agenda of this government is clear.”

Since its inception, the JNF has played a key role in ethnically cleansing the indigenous Palestinian population from their land.  In the 1940s, units of the JNF were been responsible for compiling what was known as the “village files”, a systematic collection of data about the geography, demographics, economy and political affiliations of Palestinian villages, which was used to help ethnically cleanse more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes in 1948 during the Nakba.

Melanie Mayze, one of the rally organisers and a member of the CAIA says it is important to make a stance against the JNF, saying "Today, the JNF continues to play a central role in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians but now it is done under the cover of ‘enviornmentalism’”. 

Mayze said: “In the last year, one Palestinian Bedouin village, al-Arakib has been demolished more than 30 times by the JNF, so a forest can be built in its place. At this moment, the Israeli government are planning to forcibly move 30,000 Palestinian Bedouin from 13 unrecoginised villages in the Negev”.

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