Forward writer Josh Nathan-Kazis follows up on our post from last week on the fact that the iconic Jewish National Fund blue box fails to show the green line on its map of Israel:
Asked about this, a spokeswoman for JNF denied in an interview with the Forward that the maps on the boxes are maps of Israel. “This doesn’t say this is a map of Israel,” said Neta Yoffe, JNF’s director of communications. “This is a blue box… Nowhere do we talk about it being a map of Israel. We just focus on the wonderful work that we do for the country.”
Yoffe said that the map was a representation of where the JNF’s projects were located. “It kind of shows the area we focus on,” Yoffe said. “Our projects are not in the United States. You’re not going to see a region in the U.S. You’re going to see where our projects are based.”
The JNF does work on both sides of the Green Line, according to Yoffe. Yoffe said that JNF projects in the West Bank were limited to areas of what the JNF calls “national consensus.” The JNF has planted a forest near the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim in cooperation with the right-wing Zionist Organization of America.
Yoffe would not say whether the lack of a Green Line on the blue boxes signified opposition on the part of the JNF to a two-state solution. “I’m not going to get into a political discussion with you,” Yoffe said.
Oh, so it’s not a map of Israel. That explains it. It just “kind of” shows the area they focus on.
Moving on, here’s another interesting tidbit:
The JNF’s blue boxes have long been used as a propaganda tool. In a 2003 article in the academic journal “Israel Studies,” Haifa University professor Yoram Bar-Gal reported that the first blue boxes to include maps in their design, produced in 1934, depicted a borderless area that reached from the Mediterranean into Lebanon and Jordan.
Bar-Gal wrote that the map’s expansive claim was presented on the box in order to “transmit a political message, to which not only adults were exposed, but also the millions of children in the Hebrew educational system, who contributed their coins at special fundraising ceremonies.”
I guess that “borderless area that reached from the Mediterranean into Lebanon and Jordan” just kind of showed the area they hoped to focus on.
You can read the full article here.