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April 07, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-04-07

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, April 7, 1989

The Michigan Daily

Don't

fund

JNF

discrimination

By Ann Arbor New Jewish
Agenda
Ann Arbor New Jewish Agenda believes
that, now, supporting the United Jewish
Appeal (UJA) or the Jewish National Fund
(JNF) is tantamount to placing money di-
rectly in the hands of Israeli politicians
and underwriting their policies. The UJA
and JNF are both controlled by the World
Zionist Organization, which is controlled
by the two major parties of the Israeli
parliamentary coalition. UJA and JNF
funds are fungible and are co-mingled with
government monies.
As progressive Jews, many of us have
very warm associations with the JNF.
From its establishment in 1901 it has
been an important link between world
Jewry and the practical projects of the
Zionist social movement. Like most
Jews, few of us paid attention to the de-
tails of JNF policies and activities. We
were in general sympathy with the goals
of the JNF.
We can no longer ignore the particulars.
To be honest with ourselves, we must
admit that our vision of what Israeli soci-
ety can and should be is not compatible
with the policies and goals of the JNF.

New Jewish Agenda has two main
criteria for "ethical giving" to groups in
Israel: 1) the distribution of funds should
not discriminate between Jewish and Arab
citizens of Israel, and 2) the money should
not support Israel's occupation of the
West Bank and Gaza. The JNF fails on

both counts.
The JF discriminates against non-
Jews. Some practices are unacceptable in a
society based upon democracy and equal-
ity. The JNF owns 17% and participates
in the administration of over 90% of all
"public" land in Israel. Most of the lands

acquired by the JNF since 1948 are lands
which belonged to refugees forced to flee
in 1948 or lands expropriated by the gov-
ernment from Arab citizens. Once acquired
by the JNF, land becomes an inalienable
part of the Jewish national heritage-that
is, it may not be sold or leased to non-
Jews.
The JNF has the right of first refusal
when any public lands not owned by it
outright are sold or transferred. The JNF
has exclusive responsibility for land de-
velopment. Non-Jews, regardless of their
citizenship status, are not eligible for JNF
services. This means they cannot lease or
sublease JNF-owned lands and cannot
work as hired laborers on these lands.
They are not eligible for development
funds or services. Land development in the
Palestinian sector of the economy must be
privately financed whereas Jewish agricul-
tural settlements receive large grants and
loans as well as continuous technical as-
sistance. Jews who have never lived in Is-
rael have more of a claim on these
"public" lands and development funds than
do Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The JNF supports the occupation of and
helps to finance illegal settlements in the
territories. Since 1978 most JNF activities
have been involved in acquiring and devel-

oping land for Jewish settlements in the
West Bank and Gaza. The JNF has collab-
orated with the Israeli authorities in ex-
propriating Palestinian lands, razing culti-
vated fields and bulldozing orchards, and
denying equal access to water sources.
New Jewish Agenda calls upon all those
who want to politically or financially
support Israel to contribute to organiza-
tions that promote peace and justice. There
are many progressive alternatives that we
would be glad to make known to those
interested.
As Jews who support Israel and who are
committed to a prophetic vision of peace
and social and economic justice, we call
upon our communities to shift support
away from the JNF and the UJA and stop
underwriting policies that are destroying
the social and moral fabric of Israel. New
Jewish Agenda upholds the Jewish tradi-
tion that all Jews are responsible for one
another. Our histories, traditions, values
and sentiments have created a special bond
between us and Israel. Israeli and North
American Jews share a concern for each
other's secure future and ethical character.
Contributions to the JNF and the UJA
jeopardize both by actively discriminating
against Palestinians and by supporting the
occupation.

Soldiers control crowd, Land Day, 1982, form opening of Gaza Ghetto. Note the
trees in the background.

abe LibigDanaig
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
Vol. IC, No. 129 Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
"Humanitarian" development expropriates Palestinian land:
Trees on a grave

JNF promotes

ON SUNDAY, the Jewish National
Fund will present U.S. Representative
Carl Pursell (R-Ann Arbor) with the
"Tree of Life" Award at a $150 per
plate fundraiser. University President
James Duderstadt is listed with his title
on the JNF's invitation as an honorary
chair of the dinner.
By accepting this position, Duder-
stadt lends undeserved support to the
JNF - an organization with a long
history of discrimination - and to
Pursell, whose disregard for people's
aspirations for self-determination is
exhibited by his repeated votes for
contra aid.
The JNF was created by the World
Zionist Organization in 1901 to
"purchase, develop, and settle lands [in
Palestine] as the inalienable property of
the whole Jewish people." The JNF
does not sell or rent land to non-Jews.
The JNF leases - applicable today
- warn that "the lessee is obligated to
carry out the work related to the
cultivation of the leasehold [sic] only
and exclusively by Jews. Should the
lessee violate this provision and em-
ploy non-Jewish labor, he shall be
subject to the payment of
predetermined compensation." The
JNF controls over 90 percent of the
land.
JNF land expropriation
Israeli scholars Benny Morris and
Simha Flappan both document the in-
volvement of JNF's colonization di-
rector Joseph Weitz in planning and
carrying out the forced evacuation of
Palestinians from their villages in
1948, and the subsequent bulldozing of
many of the villages to erase all traces
of Arab presence.
The JNF claims that since 1948 it has
worked mostly at land "reclamation"
and afforestation. But it does not say
that it takes land forcibly from Pales-
tinians, citizens or not, and that it cre-
ates national parks on top of the ruins
of Palestinian villages.
The JNF does not limit its activities
to within the 1967 border of Israel. It
creates settlements in the Golan
.Heights, on land taken from Syrian
Druze. In Gaza and the West Bank it

pied land. Most recently it has built
roads into southern Lebanon.
The Empty North: pop.
220,000 Palestinians
JNF president Rabbi , William
Berkowitz revealed the true nature of
JNF policies in a 1982 speech:
"A recent issue of our JNF publica-
tion 'Land and Life' carried on its
cover the headline, 'Galilee: The Empty
North.' That phrase sums up the chal-
lenge Israel faces in the North, for
there too, just as in the South, geopo-
litical and strategic significance attaches
itself to the facts we are creating.
"Are you aware that the population of
the area between Acre and Safed is
about 220,000 and that of this 65 per-
cent are Arabs? Do you know that in
some areas of the Galilee the Arab
population has a numerical majority of
as much as eight-to-one?
"The Jewish National Fund is meet-
ing the challenge, creating an infras-
tructure for the establishmentof strate-
gically vital new settlements as well as
the expansion of existing settlements."
(Jerusalem Post, 5/9/82, 11/21/82).
Economic violence
In 1974, Yitzhak Efron of the JNF
said, "The economic impact of our land
purchases and our activities on Arabs is
not considered.... The government
would have to look after all citizens if
they owned the land; since the JNF
owns the land, let's be frank, we can
serve just the Jewish people."
The JNF of America claims that its
financial gifts to Israel are humanitarian
because they are spent on parks and
swimming pools. But when a Pales-
tinian farmer is denied water for his
crops, and Israeli settlements have
swimming pools, that is a form of
economic violence.
Duderstadt is choosing to honor an
organization which deserves only cen-
sure and criticism. As a University
president who claims to strive for racial
equality, Duderstadt should withdraw
as honorary chair. Protest the dinner
by marching from the Union to the
Campus Inn at 5 p.m. Sunday.
V~_ . __ .., ....*-.. __ S --

By Paula Stern
Eric Jackson's recent article, "Dinner
Funds Discrimination," (Daily, 3/29/89)
presents an inaccurate picture of the work
of the Jewish National Fund. The follow-
ing are the historical facts and current-day
realities regarding the JNF.
The JNF was created to raise money to
help build a national home for the Jewish
people. Toward this end, the JNF pur-
chased land, mostly desert and swamp,
from absentee Arab land owners all too
anxious to rid themselves of what they
considered to be worthless terrain.
With the establishment of a Jewish
state, the JNF shifted its priorities from
land purchase to development and af-
forestation.
The Arab population believed that the
combined forces of seven Arab armies
would defeat the outnumbered and out-
flanked Jewish community and conquer the
entire land. The Arabs rejected the Parti-
tion Plan and invaded the newly declared
state of Israel.
Mr. Jackson incorrectly asserts that JNF
has a "Jews Only" rental policy for leasing
out land that it administers. No such stip-
ulation exists in the JNF Charter or By-
laws. The JNF does not rent land; they
raise money exclusively for land develop-
ment. There are no biases in the JNF's
work as proven by the recent approval of
the planting of a forest requested by mem-
bers of an Arab village.
Mr. Jackson refers to "mitzpim" and in-
Paula Stern is Coordinator of Pedagogic
Services of the Jewish National Fund's
Department of Education.

correctly implies that they are military
outposts. The mitzpim are hilltop com-
munities. They boast such weapons as a
school, a pool, and a basketball court.
They threaten the entire region with one
loan guard standing at the entrance to the
community. No one is safe from the
children who play in the roads while their
mothers hang out their laundry to dry.
Mr. Jacksons's implications regarding the
mitzpim are as inaccurate as his comment
that the JNF builds "military outposts."
Mr. Jackson's article protested the
fundraising dinner scheduled for April 9.
He correctly says that the "event boasts of
the Fund's work building mitzpim." We
are very proud that we are able to help
plant trees , create recreational parks, and
build playgrounds for children.
Perhaps one of the few correct state-
ments that Mr. Jackson makes is "Yes,
they do plant trees." Over 185 million
trees have been planted by the JNF to help
beautify and rejuvenate the land for all its
inhabitants. It should be pointed out that
this number includes more than 1.15 mil-
lion trees destroyed by fires last summer.
Many of the fires were proven to be delib-
erate acts of arson by Palestinians who
claim they love the land!
Mr. Jackson is against our tree-planting
program; in his view, it is part of a sys-
tematic plot to cover up former Arab vil-
lages. In fact, the trees are planted wher-
ever they are needed for their environmen-
tal benefits. When JNF plants trees and
creates forests, we provide a better quality
of life for all. Visitors to JNF parks will
see citizens from many backgrounds, in-
cluding Arabs, enjoying a tranquil atmo-
sphere that is all too rare in the Middle

growth
East.
In fact, every visitor to Israel should
visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Forest,
the John F. Kennedy Forest, or the Anwar
El-Sadat Forest. These are only a few of
the many forests that were proudly planted
by people around the world who believe
that by planting a tree in Israel, one is
creating a living memorial to a loved one,
giving testimony to the greatness of an
individual person or idea. Should a
tourist visit the American Independence
Forest, he or she may lament the
deliberate desecration of acres and acres of
trees, but celebrate the fact that through"
the JNF, anyone can plant a tree in Israel..
Those who truly love the land itself will
commend the students at the University of
Michigan, who planted over 170 trees this
year during their tree drive.
Mr. Jackson and others should applaud
the efforts of an agency that seeks to plant
and to cultivate. A dollar for JNF is a
dollar for peace and growth, trees and
forests, life and beauty.
Editor's Note:
Because the JNF of America does not
officially own land in Israel, it claims ex-
emption from the discriminatory policies
of the Keren Kayemeth Leisrael (KKL)
- the central Israeli branch of the JNF.
This is a legalistic distinction. Though
the money the JNF of America raises is
supposedly designated for "humanitarian
projects," it is managed and controlled
by the KKL, whose openly colonial and
discriminatory land policies are well
documented. (See "Trees on a grave,"
left).

4

4

4

Broaden

feminist agenda

By Camille Colatasti and
Pam Nadasen
The National Organization for Women
(NOW) has called for a "March for
Women's Equality and Women's Lives" in
Washington, D.C. to take place this Sun-
day, April 9, 1989. The focus of the
march and the reason it has been called is
to prevent an overturn of Roe vs. Wade,
the 1973 Supreme Court decision that es-
sentially legalized abortion. Many women
feel that our reproductive rights struggle
begins and ends with the maintenance of
Roe vs. Wade. While legalized abortion is

women and sterilization abuse, and the
poverty that prevents many women from
bearing the number of children they may
want and from raising them as they would
choose.
Women of color and poor women have
often been excluded from the white
women's movement both because
organizing strategies often target only
middle-class women and because the issues
central to working-class women's lives are
frequently marginalized.
Participation in the mainstream
women's movement frequently involves
donating money, or writing to elected rep-
resentatives, strategies which cannot in-
corporate the full participation of poor
women and women of color. The latter
strategy places faith in the same system
that encourages sterilization abuse for
women of color and assaults the Black
family. Limiting welfare benefits to fami-
lies headed by single women forces poor
Black men to leave their homes so their
families can survive.
A broader agenda includes not only a
change in organizing strategies, but also a

and social environment.
Often the same policies that aim to in-
crease the reproductive rate among white
middle-class women, by making abortion
illegal, force or encourage sterilizations for
poor women and women of color. Because
white middle-class women have often been
denied their personal choice for steriliza-
tion, they have often been reluctant to take
up the struggle to fight sterilization abuse.
But, women of color have a history of
fighting against sterilization abuse. More
than a third of all women of childbearing
age in Puerto Rico and one-quarter of all
Native-American women have been steril-
ized, often without their knowledge, and
certainly without their informed consent.
African-American women are twice as
likely to be sterilized as white women
while in municipal and voluntary hospi-
tals. Today Medicaid continues to fund
sterilization, but not abortion.
We have to continue to be vigilant in
our fight for control over our bodies. Le-
galized abortion and the pro-choice move-
ment is a very important part of that. But
we cannot limit the struggle to abortion

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