By Shimon Z. Klein

Many of us had left our countries of origin for Israel imbued with ideology of being part of a country full of challenges. We all felt that we could make our contribution and bring up our families here. Zionism, which is the national liberation movement of the Jewish People sought to bring the Jews back to their historical homeland where they could live in dignity, equality and under democratic rule. This is all very nice, ideological and pure – for whom? 
 

There were all kinds of bodies in the past (and present) which were involved in fund raising for various Jewish projects in Israel in order to improve Jewish quality of life as well as resettlement projects for Jews.
 

Over the years, the truth of the matter comes out. Israel has an indigenous Arab population as well who are citizens of Israel, are entitled to equality, and have the right to buy homes as well as land within Israel no less than its Jewish citizens.
 

It is a very sad day indeed when bills are discussed that is racist. A case in point is the bill entitled “the Jewish National Fund Law”. This is an extension of what the JNF (Jewish National Fund) really is. No matter which way one views it. The usual self righteous Zionists justify their racism, and it should come as no surprise that lobbying in the Knesset for passing racist bills preventing Arab citizens from buying land reserved for Jews. The clause in the bill stating that “the leasing of JNF lands for the purpose of settling Jews will not be seen as unacceptable discrimination,” even though it involves 13 percent of state-controlled lands and allows for further expressions of discrimination. This could mean that eventually cinemas, hospitals and universities could be established for Jews only. Racial discrimination once started can snowball into the lexicon of Israeli legitimacy and there will always be the right wing “herrenvolk” that will justify Jewish purity and settlement expansion at the expense of the indigenous Arab peoples within and beyond the green line. There are plenty right wingers in the Knesset who will support this.
 

This bill should be rejected by all those who believe in the equality of all Israel’s citizens, irrespective of race, colour and creed. This bill adds grist to the mill of equating Zionism with racism. This would further tarnish Israel’s image in the world.  Even though the Jewish National Fund purchased the lands for the Jewish people in the Diaspora, the State of Israel has already been established and these lands must now serve all its citizens.
 

There would be an outcry of Diaspora Jewry if certain property projects were reserved for non-Jews only. Can one imagine what would happen if Jews were forbidden to buy homes or property in certain areas of France, Britain, the US or any other country for that matter? Why does the JNF justify this discrimination in Israel – a country that arose from the ashes of those who suffered severe discrimination and genocide in Nazi Germany?
 

 

 

“The Jewish National Fund
Behaves as if
The State of Israel
Did not exist.
 

In a democratic State,
Land is not allotted
According to
Race, Nation, Religion or Gender.
 

A bill aimed at
Permitting this
Is a disgrace
To all Knesset members
Who vote for it.”
 

Gush Shalom
27th July 2007-07-28
 

 

 

 

 

 

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