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April 14, 1989 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-04-14

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JNF Denies Charges
By Palestinian Group


Staff Writer


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FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 1989


rabs are going onto
publicly owned land
in Israel and claiming
it as squatters, Dr. Joseph P.
Sternstein, president of the ,
Jewish National Fund of
America, said this week.
"It's now a major problem
in Israel," Sternstein said in
refuting a pro-Palestinian
group's charges last Sunday
in Ann Arbor that the JNF
discriminates against Palesti-
nians on land the organiza-
tion owns in Israel.
The Palestinian protesters,
gathered outside an Ann Ar-
bor motel in which the JNF
was honoring U.S. Rep. Carl
Pursell (R.-Mich.), claimed
the JNF owns over 17 percent
of Israel's land and doesn't
allow non-Jews to lease or
work on the land. The group
also claimed the JNF builds
military outposts in the
Sternstein said Arabs can
work on the land, but money
for the land "is raised by Jews
all over the world for
cultivating" by the Jewish
From 1901 to 1948, money
from JNF blue boxes was us-
ed to purchase land mostly
from Arabs who thought the
land was worthless, Sterns-
tein said. The land was pur-
chased legally with recogniz-
ed claims and deeds. Any
owned or leased land in Israel
today was through transac-
tions prior to the country's
birth in 1948 because the
Israeli government doesn't
sell land anymore, he said.
Today, JNF collects money
for forestation and the con-
struction of parks and dams.
"Arabs are free to use JNF
achievements all over Israel,"
Sternstein added.
Regarding the claim of
"military outposts," Sterns-
tein said the reference pro-
bably was to mitzpe'im, or
"strategically located moun-
taintop areas cultivated for
residential settlement, most-
ly in the Galilee." The JNF
also builds recreational areas
for soldiers' children on
military bases.
Sternstein said Arabs "are
not being restricted, but the
land may not be owned by
them in the first place — it's
publicly owned land and they
are claiming it for
Laurie Nosanchuk, JNF
assistant regional director in
Detroit, said the Ann Arbor
event "was very successful

financially — we raised over
$20,000." Some 250 persons
attended the dinner honoring
Rep. Pursell, whom Nosan-
chuk described as a longtime
friend of Israel.
"I wouldn't put too much
credit in what they (the
Palestinian demonstrators)
say — the Palestine Libera-
tion Organization will accuse
our people of anything," com-
mented Dr. Henry J.
Gomberg, one of the dinner's
Rabbi Daniel Syme, a 1967
graduate of the University of
Michigan who was the din-
ner's featured speaker,
criticized the university's
Michigan Daily for "obsceni-
ty" and "unsubstantiated,
baseless lies" in asserting the

Today, JNF collects

money for
forestation and the
construction of
parks and dams.
"Arabs are free to
use JNF
achievements all
over Israel,"
Sternstein said.

JNF violates Palestinian
rights and that Israeli agents
planted the bomb that
destroyed Pan American
Flight 103.
The rabbi, who is vice presi-
dent of the Union of
American Hebrew Congrega-
tions, also criticized its
editorial page editor, Amy
Harmon, in his address.
"Saddest of all to me is the
assertion by the editor of the
Daily that the fact that she is
a Jew renders her immune
from being labelled anti-
Semitic. Perhaps in time her
study of history will instruct
her that such protestations of
Jewishness have often been
the last refuge of
humankind's most virulent
anti-Semitic scoundrels.
"I choose to believe,
however, that ignorance
rather than malice is the
issue here, and that one day
in the not-too-distant future
an awareness will dawn that
the right to publish anything
in America does not mean
that publishing it is right —
or true." He said that,
"while I would never call for
censorship," the paper "owes
all of its readers a prominent
admission of error and a
public apology. Journalistic
integrity demands no less." ❑

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