[Originally published in +972 Magazine]
Over the past few decades, the Jewish National Fund (JNF-KKL), an organization known to many in the diaspora for its work planting trees in Israel (I gave a portion of my Bar Mitzvah money to the JNF), has been working in coordination with ELAD, an extremist settler organization whose explicit goals include the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem. Since 1991, the cooperation between these two organizations has led to eviction of a number of Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. While ELAD’s methods of takeover in Silwan have included shady sales agreements and forceful confiscation in the middle of the night, they are also often done in complete accordance with Israeli law. This fact is often cited as a defense by the JNF and its supporters. In a 2012 op-ed, JNF CEO Russell Robinson wrote:
“JNF respects the legal processes of the democratic State of Israel. Asking us to make a declaration against any evictions — of Arabs or Jews — is beyond our mission. The money we raise is used only for the purpose of making Israel a better place. Everything about us is ‘neutral’…”
I’ll let the reader meditate on this quote, and the irony of the JNF’s —and the broader Diaspora Jewish establishment’s — admiration for the legacy of the Civil Rights movement in the United States. Even one of their forests in the Galilee is the Corretta Scott King Forest. The Civil Rights Movement was predicated on the violation of unjust ‘’democratic’’ laws. Robinson also writes that ‘’Those who use the term ‘judaizing’ insult the men and women who perished fighting for our democratic Jewish State of Israel.” I wonder if he realizes what he is saying about the administrators of the City of David, backed by virtually all levels of the Israeli politically establishment… [Read the full piece on +972 Magazine].