The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was created in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Switzerland. Its purpose has always been to acquire land in historic Palestine “for the purpose of settling Jews on such land.” Crucially, this land could never again be sold or leased to non-Jews.
Today, the JNF enjoys charitable status in over 50 countries worldwide, including Canada. While the JNF asserts itself as an environmental NGO, it operates as a quasi-governmental body in Israel that has been deemed guilty of practising institutional discrimination by Israel’s Attorney General.
Through planting trees and supporting agriculture, the JNF claims to be “redeeming the land” and “greening the desert”, but in fact, the JNF’s parks and forests are largely situated over ethnically cleansed and demolished Palestinian villages, and therefore, serve as a means of erasing the historical presence of Palestinians, and make it difficult for Palestinians to exercise their right to return to their lands as enshrined under international law.
This workshop will explore national and international initiatives as part of the global Stop the JNF campaign, which have the ultimate goal of decolonizing Israel-Palestine.