BDS activists protest the Jewish National Fund in Philadelphia

on 18 Comments

“Ethnic cleansing is a crime – justice now in Palestine!” Chanting with great energy and exuberance, the Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel (Philly BDS) was once again a colorful and vocal presence in protest at the annual local fundraiser for The Jewish National Fund.


This year’s JNF fundraiser, “March Madness Poker Tournament” was held in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Manayunk on Thursday, March 21. Under the banner “STOP THE JNF’s APARTHEID ROYALE,” members of Philly BDS and allies costumed themselves as playing cards bearing the words “Stop the JNF!” Carrying signs reinforcing their message “Land Theft is not Charity,” protesters positioned themselves strategically on both sides of the driveway entrance to the event. Informational postcards and conversation were available to attendees and passers-by.


The demonstration called attention to the role of the Jewish National Fund in ethnically cleansing indigenous Palestinians from their homes. Since 1948, the JNF was re-branded as an environmental organization focused on forestation, while inflicting environmental devastation through fires, bulldozers, and pesticides in order to cover up Palestinian history. Each year, the JNF raises over $60 million in the United States alone. Despite its role in ethnic cleansing and apartheid, the JNF continues to enjoy charitable status.

“Protesting the JNF makes a slam dunk case for apartheid within Israel,” said Nathaniel Miller, longtime activist and founding member of Philly BDS. “Acquiring land and property rights exclusively for Jewish Israelis is an unambiguous example of Israeli apartheid and makes the case for the need to respond to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Philly BDS challenges the JNF to end its racist policies. We are committed to ending the occupation, full equality for all people of Israel-Palestine, and the Right of Return for refugees.”

Today’s protest is in support of the international “Stop the JNF” campaign that has been gaining ground in the UK, Europe and elsewhere. “We must work to revoke the tax-exempt charitable status of the JNF,” adds Miller.

The chanting continues non-stop, “Bulldozing homes, stealing land- it’s all part of the JNF plan!”

The Philly BDS consumer boycott targeting Sabra Hummus and Tribe Hummus is directly connected to the JNF. Tribe Hummus is owned by Osem foods, a company that contributes its profits to the Jewish National Fund. Since launching its campaign targeting Sabra Hummus and Tribe Hummus in October 2010, Philly BDS continues to stand for justice with Palestinians by responding to the 2005 Call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel until it meets it obligations under international law.

About Susan Landau

Susan Landau is a BDS activist who organizes and educates about justice in Palestine in secular and faith-based communities.

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18 Responses

  1. jimmy
    March 22, 2013, 3:23 pm

    1963: The year the Israel Lobby Transcended US Law

    over at antiwar

    Fifty years ago this May, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opened a series of unprecedented hearings investigating the clandestine activities of foreign agents active in the United States. The investigation focused most intensively on the operatives and financing of key Israel lobbying organizations such as the American Zionist Council, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the American Section of the quasi-governmental Jerusalem-based Jewish Agency. Thanks to a secret memo only declassified in 2010, the public may now know what fears motivated the hearings.

  2. pabelmont
    March 22, 2013, 3:50 pm

    Dear, dear Israel! Oh, my!

    Philanthropists creating a home for the homeless, despised, endangered — if Jewish! But had to rob Palestinians of their lands, communities and homeland to do it.

    Like a man who robs a bank and uses all the proceeds to found an orphanage. To some, a philanthropist. To others a robber and despoiler of the hopes and dreams of those whose bank accounts he stole.

    Dear, dear! Oh, poor Israel, so defamed, so unloved, so delegitimized. Maybe if, as it is now doing with Turkey over the 8 dead Turks on Mavi Marmara, it APOLOGIZED (and made restitution: will it do that, too, in the Turkish case?) to the Palestinians, all would be well? Well, maybe not ALL. There is the small matter of those additions to the orphanage, the 3 occupations from 1967 still in exuberant existance! While Palestinians may leave the question of the Golan to the Syrians, the West Bank and Gaza are additions bigger thanh a bread-box, surely, and deserve attention.

    Gosh, an addition, also stolen, after the original building was stolen in the first place?

    Poor Israel, so unloved. But — from my viewpoint — not sufficiently unloved. Some at least of all this philanthropy needs to be rolled back. And as we’ve all seen, love alone will not achieve that.

  3. OlegR
    March 22, 2013, 5:16 pm

    /Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel/

    What all 10 of you ?

    • MK_Ultra
      March 22, 2013, 11:14 pm

      Remember, the idea of Zionism got started with one guy completely delusional due to a high fever (which, luckily, killed him). And look at y’all today. :)

    • W.Jones
      March 23, 2013, 12:09 am

      Dear Oleg,

      In the first photo there are 8 people. In the second photo there are 10 people. Have another look at those photos.

      • W.Jones
        March 25, 2013, 6:52 pm

        By the way, I was there and I am not in the photos. And did you remember to count the photographer?

    • Djinn
      March 23, 2013, 1:11 am

      Yes because the number of people supporting an idea is a measure of its worth.

    • bo gest
      March 23, 2013, 9:54 am

      You tell’em oleg, nevermind the flash dancing, the harlem shake and the BDS fandango. The Cossacks is what you need!

  4. kayq
    March 22, 2013, 7:08 pm

    The JNF has been a part of colonising Palestine since 1901. Back then though, it actually bought land.
    The JNF has played a big part in land theft.

    • ToivoS
      March 23, 2013, 2:42 am

      since 1901. Back then though, it actually bought land.

      Well it is a little more complicated than that. They bought land in Palestine from absentee landlords who received rents or the equivalent from the Palestinian farmers. For the most part these farmers were not that concerned who owned the land, since they were still allowed to till the land and make a living. Once the Jews started buying the land that tradition changed dramatically. The Palestinians farmers were evicted from land that they had worked for centuries. It was not Jews buying the property that started the war with the Palestinians, it was the Palestinians being evicted from their farms that started the whole thing.

      In Europe from medeival times it was understood that the land belonged to the king, and he would grant title to those who swore obeisance. But at the same time the serfs who worked the land were entitled to remain. The land lords could extract rent but they could not arbitrarily evict the serfs who had ancestral claims.

      Something like this existed in the Ottoman empire. That is until the Zionists showed up and started evicting traditional Palestinian farmers from their land. These property disputes are documented starting in the early 20th century when evicted Palestinians began appealing to Ottoman officials. The violence didn’t begin until after 20 or 30 years when the Palestinians started to realize that Zionism was a new form of land ownership — basically ownership that excluded the native Palestinians from working the land.

      This all happened before 1948. After that date the Zionists realized that buying land and evicting the tenants was quite inefficient, after all they only controlled about 10% of Palestine by that point. War and ethnic cleansing turned out to be a much quicker way to achieve their goals.

      The Jewish National Fund has been front and center at every step while Israel has continued to expand its borders. This entire process from the earliest days to today have required funds that the JNF have raised in the West.

  5. MK_Ultra
    March 22, 2013, 10:47 pm

    Scottish council votes for boycotting Israel regime

    A county council in Scotland has passed a motion authorizing a boycott of the Israeli regime after comparing the regime to apartheid South Africa, local media reported.

    Condemning the Israeli regime’s occupation of Palestine, Clackmannanshire Council said it would resist all economic and political support for Israel in order to “end suffering in Palestine”.

    Pro-Palestinian activists from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign enforced the boycott, which was already being implemented by 11 other councilors, according to reports.

    The motion was proposed at a meeting last week by Independent Councilor Archie Drummond, where the boycott was passed with 11 votes in favour and five abstentions.

    The policy condemns the Israeli regime’s “continuing illegal occupation of Palestine’s east al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the West Bank” and the “illegal blockade of Gaza” and backs the United Nations’ recognition of Palestinian statehood.

    “Just as individual sanctions against apartheid South Africa led ultimately to its demise there, so individual and collective sanctions against the Israel regime will end apartheid and suffering in Palestine”, read the motion.

    “Clackmannanshire Council therefore resolves to resist, insofar as legislative considerations permit, any action that gives political or economic support to the Israel regime,” it added.

  6. IL1948
    March 23, 2013, 2:13 am

    What an impressive turnout!

    Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I am going to relax with a thirst quenching glass of soda stream water.

    • MK_Ultra
      March 23, 2013, 11:53 am

      With any kind of luck, that Streamwater soda was made with water from Gaza. He he he…and we all (you excluded, of course) know what that means. Enjoy it!

    • Accentitude
      March 24, 2013, 4:10 am

      Good, you’re using a product that supports Israeli settlements. Next, could you please lay down in front of a Caterpillar Bulldozer too? Thanks!

  7. talknic
    March 23, 2013, 3:02 am

    The Jewish National Fund and their like blatantly LIE!

    ILF “The State of Israel today was built on land which was legally purchased by Jewish organizations such as the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and other private individuals.”

    Apart from the fact that the JNF was not a citizen of Palestine and the fact that they and other private individuals purchased ‘real estate’, not ‘territory’, the Jewish State was built on ‘territory’ for which it paid a grand total of $0.00

  8. ToivoS
    March 23, 2013, 3:15 am

    It is encouraging to see that JNF is the focus of these protests. They deserve to be so.

    This statement is so true: Since 1948, the JNF was re-branded as an environmental organization focused on forestation, while inflicting environmental devastation through fires,

    We have discussed this before but it is worth repeating. The terrible fires that Israel has experienced over the last decade is the direct result of the JNF efforts to plant trees in Israel. What is often not mentioned is that the trees that the JNF planted were pines from Europe that are not at all drought tolerant. A few years of expected low rainfall these forests turn to match sticks. This crazy tree planting is related to Israeli introduction to Eastern Mediterranean ecology. Remember the slogan that the Israelis made the desert bloom. To a temporary degree that slogan was correct. The Israelis introduced deep aquifer pumping that hadn’t been there before. The problem with that is that they were pumping an aquifer that was below sea level. After about 20 years it started to become salty from backflow. Oops, no more “free” water. It was no longer possible to irrigate those European pine forests and they began to dry out. The Israel “miracle” was not just a disaster for the native Palestinian people but it has become an ecological disaster as well.

  9. Accentitude
    March 24, 2013, 4:08 am

    If you drive through the West Bank and Israel-proper (within the green line), you’ll clearly see the results of the JNF’s work: Forests and trees that are not indigenous to the land covering up hill-sides, mountains and other areas which were once the locations of pre-Israel Palestinian villages. Sometimes you can even see the ancient stones of some of the buildings still protruding from the ground. It’s very disturbing.

  10. W.Jones
    March 25, 2013, 6:54 pm

    Excellent and brave work, Susan!

    Thank you for being there!

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