Jewish Activists Disrupt Jewish National Fund Conference
Hundreds of Chicago-Area Jews, Palestinians and Allies March to Protest Displacement and Violence Against Palestinians
October 25, 2015 (Chicago, IL)– 25 members of Jewish Voice for Peace disrupted the Jewish National Fund’s Annual Conference in the lobby of the Downtown Fairmont Hotel, while 250 Chicago-area Jews, Palestinians and allies joined together to march outside the hotel. The actions were organized by Jewish Voice for Peace-Chicago and the Coalition for Justice in Palestine to protest the JNF’s longstanding complicity in the displacement of Palestinian people and theft of Palestinian land and resources. Participants drew connections between these policies and the escalating violence happening in the region now, noting that discrimination, dispossession and state violence are at the root of the current crisis. Since October 1st, over 50 Palestinians have been killed and over 2000 injured by Israeli state and settler violence, and 8 Israelis have been killed and scores injured in individual attacks.
JVP-Chicago member Ari Levin said
The JNF likes to talk about how they plant trees - they don’t mention that they plant trees to uproot Palestinians, by bulldozing Bedouin villages like al-Arakib in the Naqab desert to plant a forest on top.
Former JNF-D.C. Board Member and current JVP-National Board Member Seth Morrison said, “I left the JNF because they lied to my face when I confronted them about their evictions of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem – their actions for decades have been among the root causes of the violence we’re seeing today.”
“The separate and unequal policies of the JNF are the personification of Israeli apartheid against our people,” says Sundous Daghash of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN). “It is why we protest them today, and fight against Israeli racism and state violence everyday.”
Jewish activists led the march carrying a giant model of a blue JNF Tzedakah (Charity) box, bearing the slogan “Land theft is not Tzedakah.”
The JNF racially segregates the 13% of Israeli public land it controls prohibiting its use by Palestinians. JNF asserts it “does not have a duty to practice equality towards all citizens of the state.” JNF’s control of 10 of 22 seats on the Israel Land Council, governing the Israel Land Authority, empowers it to pursue its discriminatory ideology throughout 93% of land within the Green Line. JNF collaborates with the Israeli government to replace Palestinian communities it destroys with Jewish-only settlements or manicured forests that erase any trace of Palestinian presence, including the Ambassador Forest planned to replace the village of al-Arakib within Israel’s Green Line (1948 Palestine).
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine. Jewish Voice for Peace has over 200,000 online supporters, over 65 chapters, a youth wing, a Rabbinic Council, and an Advisory Board made up of leading U.S. intellectuals and artists. The Coalition for Justice in Palestine represents all major Palestinian, Arab and Muslim organizations advocating for Palestinian human rights in Chicago.