Israel Israeli Arabs Zionism

Postscript on the JNF law: A matter of official Israeli policy, not private whim

Ken Bob, President of Ameinu, is a self-taught expert on the morass of official and semi-official Israeli institutions. For that alone, he deserves a medal. In an email, he cleared up an issue raised in the previous comment thread by “Chris,” who insisted that the JNF is a “private organization:”

[The term] “JNF” causes some confusion so let me just clarify this point. The entity that administers the lands and the funds in Israel is called KK”L – Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael. They are governed by a board of directors of Israelis only that reflects the political make-up of the World Zionist Organization. It is chaired by Efi Stensler, a Laborite. They use the term “JNF” as their English translation.

Thanks, Ken. This is not a matter of the whims of a private group. Because the Israel Lands Authority, a government body, is involved, this is about official Israeli policy. But it is also very much a matter for Diaspora Jews who have kept KK’l/JNFafloat. It is not too late to change that policy and bury this bill.

10 thoughts on “Postscript on the JNF law: A matter of official Israeli policy, not private whim

  1. Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael is the Hebrew for ‘Jewish National Fund’- literally Israel Building Fund.

    The Israel Land Administration (ILA) is the government agency responsible for managing all “privately-owned” land. “Privately-owned” land in Israel is actually leased from the government for a period of 49 or 98 years. This comprises 93 percent of all land in Israel. Seven percent is truely “private” and not under lease from the ILA.

    Dan, wake up. Stop believing what you want to believe and get some information before you regurgitate out your half-baked information.

  2. Chris,

    The point is that land and property ownership is different than what the NAACP does. If the NAACP bought half of New York City (for example) and then made all their property available only to African-Americans, then it would be violating the law and acting in a clearly racist manner. If all the JNF did was to advocate for Jews no one would be upset here. But this is much more, and legally a totally different matter.

    The issue is that it’s discriminatory and racist to have a charter that prohibits ownership of and access to land, even privately owned land. The fact that the Knesset may approve a law to officially sanctions this kind of policy only adds significant evidence to the claim that Israel is not a true democracy; a notion that seems to lose a little bit more of its credibility every day.

  3. I’m trying to wake up, Chris. I don’t follow. How does what you’ve written contradict what Ken says?

  4. Also, the NAACP represents a minority group. remember? To compare it to anything the JNF does for the Jewish majority in Israel is crazy. I must say that I admire Dan for not giving up on his “mad” quest to work against racism in Israel and the territories, and still remain (apparently) loyal to the idea of the Jewish state. I think he is fighting a losing mental battle, but it’s important to point out the injustices and maybe it’s better coming from somewhat confused Zionists than from people like Kevin and me.

  5. “If the NAACP bought half of New York City (for example) and then made all their property available only to African-Americans, then it would be violating the law and acting in a clearly racist manner.”

    The New York State Human Rights Law prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of several “protected characteristics”-
    Race, Color, National Origin, Marital Status

    However there is an exception: A religious institution can limit the sale or rental of housing to a member of the same religion to further its religious principles.

  6. The JNF is a private non-profit. They can decide how their land is used. The 1961 charter said that the land was purchased for use by Jews.

    The ILA upheld the 1961 charter.

    Stop babbling like Phil Weiss.

  7. Chris, an arm of the Israeli government is managing –i.e., sometimes selling– lands owned by this so-called “private entity.” So you could call it a public-private partnership. But regardless of which one is private and which one is public, Mazuz determined that the refusal to sell to Arabs violated Israeli laws –or were contrary to the spirit of the laws– against discrimination. A private entity should NOT have the right to do anything it wants or to enforce any charter it wants to enforce. That is precisely what white segregationists in the American South said to justify keeping African Americans out of privately owned restaurants and other facilities. Maybe that doesn’t bother you. But it is also what non-Jews once said to keep American Jews out of hotels and country clubs during the first half of this century. Remember the “No Jews and Dogs Allowed” signs in American hotels? The hotels were private parties doing what they wanted to do.

    So stop babbling like Lester Maddox

  8. The JNF charter did not violate Israeli law when the the JNF lands came under ILA control. The new law is upholding the values of the JNF charter.

    Your knee-jerk condemnation of the the JNF is what is so disappointing. They are not discriminating against Arabs, they are helping Jews.

    Saifedean Ammous: It’s too bad Arafat walked away from the 2000 peace proposal. There was tens of billions of dollars in compensation on the table for Arab landowners who lands were conquered in 1948.

  9. Chris,

    The sheer stupidity of typing out this statement is truly astounding: “They are not discriminating against Arabs, they are helping Jews.”

    Congratulations. You have just said the absolutely most idiotic thing I’ve read on the internet in 2007 (and that is no mean feat considering I read a lot of stuff by demented Israel-firsters.)

    But that was not enough for you. You went and topped yourself in the next paragraph, repeating this old nonsensical lie about Camp David.

    Truly, it is amusing to see mankind’s incredible ability to wilfully and stubbornly delude itself so comprehensively.

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