Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, June 2013
Protest Greets JNF Fundraiser for Israeli Apartheid in VancouverCPA, June 10, 2013
Here is an article by Charlotte Kates in the Vancouver Media Coop on the successful protest against the JNF in Vancouver, June 9, 2013.
"The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is not welcome on West Coast native land," said Cynthia Taha of the Wet'suwet'en nation on Sunday, June 9, as Palestinians and their allies in Vancouver protested across the street from Schara Tzadek synagogue, where the Jewish National Fund was holding its annual gala; this year, the banquet honoured the Israeli military, featuring guest speaker Brigadier General Avigdor Kahalani and the "IDF Chorus" as entertainment.
The Canada Palestine Association protests the gala annually. The Jewish National Fund is the subject of a Palestinian and international campaign to expose its activities, its deep connections to Israeli apartheid and racism, and challenge its tax-deductible, charitable status in Europe, Canada, the US and other countries.
In Canada, Yves Engler, Ron Saba and others have documented the Canada Revenue Agency's continuing protection of the JNF's charitable status and tax-deductibility, despite challenges from advocates for Palestinian rights.
The JNF is one of the founding institutions of the State of Israel -
as Stop the JNF notes, "at the
forefront of the colonial project of establishing a Jewish homeland in
Palestine." The JNF directly owns 13% of the lands in Israel, and
appoints 6 of 13 members of the Israel Lands Authority, which governs
93% of all land within the "green line" or 1948 armistice line. These
lands are forbidden from being transferred to non-Jews. As Engler
Among other projects, the JNF is responsible for building "Canada Park," while enjoying exemption from Canadian taxation. This park was built on the ruins of three Palestinian villages, Beit Nuba, Imwas and Yalu, occupied, bulldozed and demolished in 1967, and bears the name of Canada Park to this day.
The Vancouver protest began with an introduction by Taha, who said
that what Palestinians are facing today is the same thing that the
native peoples of this land have faced for hundreds of years, expressing
her solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Hanna Kawas of the Canada
Palestine Association discussed the connection between settler
colonialism in Canada and Palestine and highlighted the expressed
support of Canadian officials such as John
Baird, Foreign Affairs Minister, for the JNF and the Israeli state.
Other speakers included Martha Roth of Independent Jewish Voices - Vancouver, Nino Pagliccia of Gaza's Ark and Charlotte Kates of the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign. The protest began with a "people's gala" of stuffed grape leaves, manakeesh, and bannock, combining Palestinian and Indigenous foods, as protesters carried Palestinian flags, a large banner emblazoned with "The Jewish National Fund is a Racist Organization" and signs highlighting the JNF's complicity in Israeli Apartheid.
Chants of "Stop the JNF! Stop funding racism!" and "Israeli Apartheid
- No! Right of Return - Yes!" were heard loud and clear as the affluent
JNF supporters arrived at the banquet, guided by valets and private
security and overseen by Vancouver police. Gala attendees yelled at and
raised their middle fingers toward protesters as they entered the event.
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