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Palestine supporters, many Jewish, challenge Zionist conference

Published Oct 14, 2010 8:48 AM

Anti-Zionist Jews and Palestine solidarity activists disrupted the opening plenary of the Jewish National Fund conference held Oct. 10 in the upscale Intercontinental Hotel here.

Determined to confront the false images propagated by the JNF, five women and two men walked to the front of the large meeting room and began passing out a flyer that detailed the truth about the organization. They chanted “Stop the lies” and “Shame on you” and declared that JNF does not represent all Jewish people. Two other activists were filming the intervention.

Founded in 1901, the JNF’s purpose was to secure land in Palestine for the exclusive use of Jewish people, a key element in the Zionist agenda to permanently displace the indigenous Arab population. Once under the control of the JNF, the land cannot be leased to, built on, managed by or worked on by Palestinians.

In 1953 Israel passed legislation enabling the private JNF to carry out governmental functions. Its highly funded tree-planting program serves to erase remnants of destroyed Palestinian villages. For example, Canada Park in the occupied West Bank, which was created and is maintained by the JNF, was built on the grounds of three razed Palestinian communities.

The fact sheet handed out by the activists referred to the racist “Blueprint Negev” campaign, which is forcibly moving Bedouin communities onto seven reservations in order for the JNF to “revitalize the Negev.” The JNF is recognized as a charitable organization by the Internal Revenue Service, making donations to it tax-deductible in the U.S.

The 400 or so supporters of the JNF at the conference, including a number of Israelis, began assaulting the women protesters, who were kicked, pushed, hit and cursed at. One Israeli man attempted to arrest two of the women and prevent them from leaving the building. Still another Zionist complained to a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent that if this had happened in Israel, he “would have had his gun and would have put two in the chest.” The lens of a television camera filming the event was blocked while the attack took place.

The nine activists then joined a picket line in front of the hotel. The action was initiated by the Atlanta chapter of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and supported by the Movement to End Israeli Apartheid-Georgia.