Tony Greenstein | 24 January 2022 | Post Views:

Riddled by Racism: The Board of Deputies is Overrun by Islamaphobes and Racists yet it has the nerve to accuse people of ‘anti-Semitism’

 Beyond Satire – The Union of Jewish Students and Jewish Labour Movement Complain that the Head of a group committed to ethnic cleansing is a Racist!

In October 2010 49 of us had a letter published in the Guardian calling for Ed Miliband not to follow in Blair and Brown’s footsteps and become a patron of the ethnic cleansing JNF.

We were successful and Miliband defied tradition. A few months later David Cameron resigned his sponsorship.

Sam Hayek, the Chair of JNF UK responded to our letter writing:To accuse the JNF of being “actively complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians” represents a distortion of the truth on the grandest of scales. Our environmental and humanitarian work is not based on any political or religious affiliation, but rather on supporting Israel and its population – whatever their background.

wrote in reply:

If diplomats are virtuous men sent abroad to lie for their country (Henry Wotton), what is Samuel Hayek of the Jewish National Fund‘s excuse…. the JNF’s own entry on the Charity Commission website states that its objects include “such charitable purposes as benefit persons of Jewish religion, race or origin”.

Although JNF UK has now changed the wording it hasn’t changed its activities.

Top: the JNF’s Charitable Objects today and Bottom the JNF’s Charitable Objects in 2010

Out is ‘benefiting Jewish persons’. In is ‘For the benefit of the population of the State of Israel ’ The only mention of Jews is:

To advance the Jewish religion, Jewish beliefs and religious education (including supporting the education of Jewish culture, history, practices and beliefs).

Hayek did not respond to my letter because he had been showns to be a liar.

It is no surprise that we now learn that Hayek is an Islamaphobe who agrees with the neo-Nazi White Replacement Theory whereby Muslim immigrants are driving out White Christians from Europe.

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post Hayek declared that “Jews have no future in England”. He told the Jewish News:

The evidence is the number of immigrants to England. The demographic of British society is changing. Asked if he was referring to issues around Muslims, he replied: “You are not wrong,” adding: ‘Our problem in the West is that we do not understand Islam. In Islam there is not a term for ‘peace’.

Hayek suggested that British Jews should consider emigration, the Zionists’ wet dream:

Gary Mond – Islamaphobic bigot and JNF trustee

Last week the Senior Vice-President of the Board of Deputies, Gary Mond, was forced to resign. Mond had written on Facebook and tweeted that ‘all civilization’ is ‘at war with Islam.’ Mond is also a trustee of JNF-UK, as is Gideon Falter, its Vice Chair and CEO of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. The CAA’s 11 trustees are a roll call of some of the most viciously racist British Zionists.

The JNF’s 11 racist trustees

The Charity Commission, which has repeatedly been written to regarding its refusal to deregister UK JNF has at last been forced to open an investigation into this so-called ‘charity’.

Two motions have been submitted to the BOD which criticise the JNF for “failing to disavow the inflammatory and bigoted remarks of its chair Samuel Hayek”. One censures JNF trustees for not disavowing Hayek’s remarks. The other calls on it to suspend the JNF’s Board membership until Hayek steps down. The motions are proposed by Union of Jewish Students president-elect Joel Rosen and Finchley Reform Synagogue member Robert Stone.

Gary Mond, the then Senior BOD Vice-President, spoke of his “respect” for Hayek over the comments.

Mond also liked two tweets by Pamela Geller – a White Supremacist and fascist, who has been banned from entry to the UK. According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre

Geller has a long history of working with extremists and racists in the United States, Canada and Europe, including the Jewish Defense League, the English Defense League and the white nationalist group Bloc Identitaire, among others.

Facebook post by Mond stated that”We just have to hope that our leaders wake up to the fact that all civilisation-west and east, American, Russian, Chinese, Israeli, whatever – is at war with these evil bastards, and I have to say it at war with Islam. And, just as Islam has lost before in history, it will lose again.”

This profile of the average Muslim male appeared in a Report by the CAA – if such a drawing had portrayed the ‘average British Jew’ you can imagine the hypocritical fury of the Zionists

Mond attacked the Board for ‘leaning to the left’ (news to us!) and being unwilling to take account of different views. He didn’t mean anti-Zionist views either! But it’s true. The Board has silenced Palestinian voices for far too long.

Meanwhile, you will be glad to hear, a defence campaign for Hayek and Mond has been launched and who better to lead it than Jonathan Hoffman, the link man between far-Right Zionists and openly fascist groups like Britain First. Mond’s supporters are a roll call of openly fascist Zionists such as Damon Lenszner, Martin Sugarman, Sharon Klaff, David Collier, Board of Deputies member Yochy Davis and Ambrosine Shitreet of Pegida. In total more than 100 supporters signed an open letter in defence of Mond and Hayek, who has accused the Board of “cancel culture”.

Hoffman et al argue that

“the complex subject of anti-Jewish racism within the Muslim community appears a taboo subject — and those who dare mention it are branded ‘Islamophobic’!”

They declare support for Hayek’s right to express an opinion without being targeted, subjected to harassment’ or calls for his resignation. Expressing an opinion with which others disagree should not be the subject of cancel culture nor misinterpreted as ‘racist’.

Unless of course it is support for the Palestinians and anti-Zionism in which case it is ‘anti-Semitic’ and they want it cancelled immediately as the case of Professor David Miller at Bristol University shows.

They also make the risible claim that pro-Israel supporters were “nearly lynched” at the pro-Israel rally last May during the attack on Gaza. Even worse:

Many of the anti-Israel protesters were “visibly of Asian heritage. Why would Jews want to live in a country where there is a high risk of life-changing injuries simply for holding an Israel flag in the street?”

The BOD issued a statement saying that “The Board of Deputies believes that there is no place in any Jewish communal organisation for anti-Muslim hatred” which itself is a lie. The BOD is infested with anti-Arab racists.

Roslyn Pine – the Board were quite prepared to forgive her calling Muslims ‘the vilest of animals’

Three years ago the Board had to suspend for 6 years Roslyn Pine for describing Arabs as “the vilest of animals.” Three years previous to that Pine had said that it was a pity that the pro-Palestinian female Swedish foreign minister was “too old to be raped.” She has also called fellow deputies “kapos.”

Jewish News reported that ‘the Board’s executive ruled that she could return early if she apologised, showed contrition and expressed remorse’. Contrast that with the life-time expulsions that the BOD demanded for Labour members expelled for ‘anti-Semitism’ i.e. anti-Zionism. If the BOD was at all serious about tackling Islamaphobia in their ranks then they would have expelled her.

What was the reaction of her synagogue, Finchley United Synagogue, for whom she is a Deputy? Did it change its representative? Not at all. The Jewish News reported that

Finchley Synagogue will look into the plight of its suspended deputy Roslyn Pine as a matter of “urgency”. Note that word ‘plight’.

For some strange reason Tommy Robinson and Jonathan Hoffman’s solicitor, who is a member of the Board of Deputies, has blocked me

If the Board were serious about getting rid of its racists it would have to suspend Robert Festenheim, a solicitor and advisor to Tommy Robinson and Robinson’s solicitor Daniel Berke.

There has been one voice that has been missing in all this. It is that of Gideon Falter. Not a word, not a peep, out of someone who sees ‘anti-Semitism’ behind every stone and pebble. This is not surprising since the CAA has done its best to stir up Jewish-Muslim discord. It is a viciously Islamaphobic organisation.

Nina Friedman – the racist President of UJS

The Open Letter from Young Zionists re Hayek’s Comments come from hypocrites like Nina Freedman, President of UJS, Joel Rosen, Hannah Rose, ex-UJS President, and Edward Isaacs, former President of Bristol JSoc, an inveterate liar and Jack Lubner of UJS National Council and JLM.

These young supporters of the Israeli Labor Party, which is in government with the settler-right in Israel, is an example of the hypocrisy of the Zionist ‘left’. They criticise the trustees of JNF UK for racism but have nothing to say about the JNF itself.

The JNF is an organisation which was instrumental in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. In December 1940, Joseph Weitz, Director of its Lands Settlement Department, wrote in his diary (20.12.40) [Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, p.27):

There is no way besides transferring the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, and to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth and Old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [bedouin] tribe. And only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution.”

What do these young ‘left’ Zionists in UJS/JLM say about the JNF which, at this very moment, is involved in planting trees on Bedouin land as part of the ‘Judaisation’ of the Negev? (see below)

The JNF’s work has been firmly entrenched in our childhoods: many of us have fundraised for the JNF,… we have toured parts of Israel with the JNF. However, now we are gravely concerned about these comments and of JNF UK’s complete inaction on the matter. Our communal institutions… have taught us Jewish values of “loving thy neighbour”, and Hayek’s comments are the antithesis of this.

These hypocrites believe that ‘loving thy neighbour’ is compatible with the forcible dispossession of the Palestinians, the Judaisation of the land and the theft of Palestinian land for settlements in the West Bank.

I therefore thought it might be instructive to see what this ‘loving thy neighbour’ actually involved. Things like the destruction of the Samarin family home in Jerusalem and the planting of trees over Palestinian villages and now the same exercise in the Negev/Naqab.

What are the Jewish National Fund Up to in the Negev/Naqab?

The Times of Israel reported last week on a ‘controversial tree-planting project by the Jewish National Fund’. Controversial because the local Bedouin communities protested against the JNF’s afforestation project, a continuation of its historic mission of using tree planting as a means of displacing Palestinians, stealing their land and erasing all traces of Palestinian villages.

There has been extreme violence by the Israeli police which would never be used against Jewish demonstrators. The police treat the Bedouin protests as ‘potential “terror incidents” with a nationalistic motive.’ Only Jewish nationalism is allowed in Israel. The terror, which is all too real, is the terror of being displaced from your home and forcibly transferred to a township as happened to Black South Africans under Apartheid.

Note how the resistance of Israeli Palestinians to efforts to ethnic cleansing is classified as “terrorism”. Attacks by settlers are never described in such terms. Even Israel’s Army Radio noted that the

JNF had not consulted with police or other law enforcement bodies prior to starting the forestation project.

Nor did they consult the Bedouin of al-Atrash and other ‘unrecognised’ villages. The Times of Israel described how:

Negev Bedouin have a contentious relationship with the state. For decades, the government has sought to move them into recognized, planned cities, but many still live in a constellation of illegal hamlets that sprawl across Israel’s southern desert.

Bedouins accuse JNF of seeking to displace them, but the organization says it is merely fulfilling a request by other government bodies on public land. JNF works across Israel on nature and conservation projects

The ‘illegal hamlets’ are the villages where the Bedouin have lived before the State of Israel was founded. No Jewish villages are ever termed ‘illegal’. Note the reference to ‘public land’. This is a euphemism for Jewish National Land.

Far from the JNF’s Greenwashing preserving the environment it is destroying it

The ToI described how

Those with ideological objections call it colonialist, and environmentalists call it harmful because it has allowed a single species to spread unchecked, diminishing biodiversity and increasing the risk of forest fires.

The latter is a reference to the JNF practice of planting non-native pine which has enabled wildfires to spread rapidly.

The colonialism claims have resurfaced periodically in international media as part of their coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, linking forestation to the “Judaization” of previously Arab-owned land.

In fact the Israeli government drew up the Prawer Plan specifically aimed at Judaisation. Yaakov Franko, a lawyer specialising in landscape legislation claimed:

the trees, mostly Aleppo pines, are an invasive species and that each pine tree is like a gallon of petrol. The sap, the needles, the acorns, the trunks burn rapidly, spreading through the broken limbs near the root system, where no other plants can grow and moisten.

That’s why a single cigarette butt can light up the area between Hadera and Gedera,” he continued, naming cities at opposite ends of Israel’s center.

Far from benefiting the environment the JNF’s tree planting is causing environmental destruction. As befits European colonisers  the JNF

boasts about the Europe-like feel of its forests. One promotional article on their website from 2013 declares that Germany’s Black Forest “has got nothing on us.” And many hikers enjoy them. On a recent Saturday, Daniel Kobi, a father of two from Kiryat Ata, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he enjoys coming to the forest named for his suburb of Haifa because “it feels like the Swiss Alps right around the corner” from his home.

The ToI claimed that

While JNF did use some invasive species, including the eucalyptus from Australia, the Aleppo pine has grown in Israel for millennia.

Except that Israel has only existed since 1948, hardly a century let alone a millennium. The reference is to the small city state Israel that existed in the 10th Century BC, 3,000 years ago. But I forget. Palestine was a “land without a people for a people without a land”. In other words its people were invisible. To the colonialists indigenous people were always invisible. As even the Toi admits:

With their large crowns, Aleppo pines leave very little sunlight for lower shrubs. And they shed a thick blanket of needles that prevents the growth of most plants, and almost all of the flowers gracing the Israeli countryside — including its 30 species of orchids and 16 Iris species.

This means that the forests planted by JNF tend to have a much lower biodiversity than naturally occurring Mediterranean forests that nurture a multitude of insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.

The JNF give the game away when they said that

the tree planting began as an effort to “demonstrate ownership” over non-urban Jewish-owned land that could not be farmed.

In other words the JNF’s tree planting activities has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with ‘demonstrating ownership’, Jewish ownership i.e. theft of Bedouin land.

Dozens of Palestinians in the Naqab (Negev) have been injured and arrested, as Israeli police attacked protests against the JNF that is threatening the livelihood of Bedouin communities in the area. 

The protests are focused in the al-Naqe area of the Naqab, a fertile area of land in the desert, which is home to around 30,000 Palestinians living in a cluster of several Bedouin villages.

Since December the JNF has been razing Palestinian lands and uprooting trees belonging to Bedouin communities in order to prepare the area for forestation.

The JNF’s campaign in the Naqab, with the full assistance of the Israeli police, has sparked widespread protests by Palestinian Bedouin communities in the area, who say the forestation campaign is just another effort to dispossess them from their land.

Videos and photos on social media have shown Israeli forces teargassing and violently detaining protesters, as well as demolishing tents in the area.

Middle East Eye reported that Israeli police have arrested at least 35 Palestinians from the Sa’awa and al-Atrash villages. Al Jazeera reported that more than 80 Palestinians, including minors, have been detained since the protests began.

Local media also reported Israeli police setting up checkpoints and blocking the entrances and exits to villages in the area in order to prevent people from attending the protests, which have swelled in recent days, and which have sparked solidarity protests in other Palestinian cities in Israel.

A history of violence & displacement

The Naqab makes up around half of Israel’s entire land mass, and is home to an estimated 300,000 Palestinian Bedouins who hold a nominal Israeli citizenship.

The Bedouins living in the Naqab are the descendants of those who remained after an estimated 80,000-90,000 Bedouins were forced to flee the area during the Nakba in 1948.

Around half of the Bedouins reside in 40 “unrecognized” villages, which Israel calls “illegal clusters.” Despite the fact that many of the Bedouins are living on the ancestral homelands, while others were internally displaced after 1940, Israel views them as “trespassers” and does not recognize their ownership over the land.

Due to their “unrecognized” status, Israel does not offer the Bedouins living in these communities any services and they are excluded from state planning. That means they have no local councils, are offered little-to-no government services in terms of education and sanitation, and are not connected to the electric grids or water networks.

Because they are considered “illegal”, these communities are under constant threat of demolition, with Israel having destroyed some villages close to 200 times.

For decades the state has aimed to remove these communities from their homes and put them in planned residential areas, which rights groups say amounts to forcible transfer, a war crime under international law. All the while, Israel has invested billions of shekels to develop and promote Jewish settlement in the area.

The JNF: Colonialism disguised as environmentalism

Founded in 1901 as a non-governmental organization, the JNF was established to purchase land for European Jews to settle in Palestine, in order to create and maintain a Jewish-majority state.

The JNF purports to be an environmental organisation. Its tree-planting initiatives are designed to cover up the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Today that means actively dispossessing Palestinian communities in the Negev.

The areas where the JNF plants its forests are often the sites of destroyed Palestinian villages which the JNF aims to erase any trace of. Today the JNF owns an estimated 15% of all Israeli land.

In occupied East Jerusalem, the JNF has been tied to shadowy purchases of Palestinian homes which the organization then turns over to Israeli settler groups. In the West Bank the JNF purchases privately owned Palestinian land in Area C — where Palestinians are not allowed to build — for settlement expansion and construction.

The group has worked with the Israeli government to make it nearly impossible for the country’s Palestinian citizens to gain access to state lands for residential, commercial and agricultural use. In the Negev the group has advocated for the destruction of Palestinian Bedouin villages in order to plant trees as part of its “Ambassadors Forest” initiative.

See What’s happening in the Naqab? Israel uproots Palestinians to plant trees

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Tony Greenstein

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