Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Please Sign the Petition Against the Knesset JNF Bill

Richard Silverstein of Tikun Olam, Daniel Flesher of Realistic Dove , and I, have banded together to produce a petition to sign against the JNF Bill recently passed (on a preliminary reading; it is now in committee) by the Knesset.

To sign the petition, please click here.

Basically, the bill would formally prohibit the lease of lands owned by the Jewish National Fund to "non-Jews and non-Zionists," i.e., Palestinians. This follows the Israel High Court Decision that such discrimination violates one of Israel's Basic Laws.

It cannot be stressed enough that most of the JNF land was not purchased by the Jewish people before 1948 for Jewish settlement, but expropriated from Palestinian owners following the 1948 war and managed by the Israel Land Authority.

The bill was sponsored by ultra-right wing members of parliament, and it has been attacked as racist by an excellent Haaretz editorial. Even the highly-respected neoconservative law professor and former minister, Amnon Rubinstein, has urged the government to kill the bill, and to reclaim the Palestinian land it had transferred to the Jewish National Fund to keep it out of Palestinian hands.

I am sorry that the Jewish National Fund's Ron Lauder (see post below) has embraced this bill without reservation. I assume that he was misinformed -- his statement had several factual errors in it.


Anonymous said...

Wait a second. Does it really say the land also can't be leased to "non-Zionists?" Doesn't that apply to a great many Israeli Jews? How are they going to enforce that? Make everyone recite quotes from Jabotinsky? Some guy from Netanya who just thinks of himself as an "Israeli" can't lease the land?

Jerry Haber said...

In explaining the origins of the bill, the sponsors mention that it comes as a response to the directive of the Attorney General, in the wake of the High Court decision, "according to which the government is not allowed to refrain from leasing JNF lands to those who are not Jews (and are not partners in the Zionist vision)".
לפיה אין הממשל רשאי להימנע מלהחכיר את קרקעות קק"ל למי שאינם יהודים (ואינם שותפים לחזון הציוני)
I am not sure whether the parenthetical is attributed to the attorney general, or is the bill's sponsors own explanation of his ruling. In any event, the bill comes to rectify the situation.

I am also not sure how to read the parenthetical -- either as an attempt to take the racist sting of it (but then, what would they do with a Zionist arab?), or to include Zionist non-Jews like the many gentile russians.

As for zionist loyalty tests...well, the sponsors are all for those...