The JNF/KKL: A Charity Complicit with Ethnic Cleansing by academic and civil rights activist Dr Uri Davis is the latest offering by MEMO Publishers and brings to light the on-going “greenwashing” policies of the Apartheid State of Israel, which has been facilitated with the collusion of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), an internationally-recognised charity that pre-dates the establishment of the Jewish state. As such, it is argued that the JNF is complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
The “alternative guide-book” to the organisation is a product of Davis’ years of scholarship and field-research and consists of relevant documents and case-studies carried out by the author over the past two decades. An introduction is also provided by esteemed anti-Zionist Israeli historian Ilan Pappé who describes the work as “an exposure of what really lies behind the past, present and future actions of the JNF” and an “exploration of the crimes Israel committed against the Palestinians”, which are continuing to this day.
“The JNF is registered, falsely, with the UN as an NGO, projecting itself abroad as one that is committed to sustainable development,” writes Davis. As a registered charity, the organisation also “benefits from tax exemptions in most member states of the UN.”
The JNF/KKL (Jewish National Fund/Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel) was founded in 1901, projected as a non-profit organisation with the goal of purchasing and developing land in Palestine for Jewish settlement. It was initially registered in Britain as a company limited by guarantee, and following the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, was incorporated as the JNF as it is currently known.
Following the signing of a covenant between the JNF and Israel in 1961, contends Davis, the charity and the state became “partners on an almost equal footing in the administration of 93 percent of the territory” in Israel’s pre-1967 borders. However, the JNF’s activities have extended beyond this, having been implicated in the destruction of several Palestinian Arab villages in the post-67 territories.
As part of its role in the development of Israel, the JNF continues to work on land reclamation, afforestation, and conservation projects. Yet the controversial charity has faced accusations of discriminatory land policies and practices, and of participating in the displacement of Palestinian communities.
These include the forced eviction of Palestinian communities from land that it controls, as well as its involvement in the construction of Jewish-only settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. According to Davis, the JNF’s environmental projects are used as a cover for these actions. The JNF “hides the core of Israeli apartheid under the cloak of an environmental charity”.
We learn that many of the afforestation projects overseen by the JNF are named after countries, such as Canada Park, British Park and the South African Forest as a part of a public relations scheme for the “only democracy in the Middle East”.
However, the ominous history behind these projects have been omitted by the JNF. Most of the forests planted by the organisation have been established over the ruins of some 500 Palestinian Arab villages, with photographic evidence of their undeniable existence still very much visible, based on Davis’ field research which is included in the book. This is despite the best efforts of the JNF to cover up these documented war crimes.
For example, Canada Park was planted over the ruins of three destroyed Palestinian Arab villages: ‘Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nabu. In the case of ‘Imwas, which has been completely obliterated, the only surviving structure is the shrine of Abu ‘Ubydah Ibn Al-Jarrah.
“The planting of the British Park over the lands of destroyed Palestinian Arab villages, including ‘Ajjur, and the development of recreational facilities in JNF forests cannot be described as ‘charitable’, and should not be granted tax exempt status under British law. Rather it ought to be classified as an act and as a policy of complicity in war crimes,” Davis explains.
The JNF/KKL… is an eye-opening and detailed expose of Israel’s attempt at greenwashing its past and present crimes against Palestinians. As Davis advocates, the JNF must be held accountable with its status as a charity in UN member states amended in reflection and recognition over its complicity in the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Moreover, the publication sheds light on the complicity of the countries where JNF affiliates are based, whose funding actively contributes to these dubious “environmental” projects.
Get a copy of the book here.