Fact-Checking the Jewish National Fund of Canada

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1745 ... January 21, 2019
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Fact-Checking the Jewish National Fund of Canada

Michelle Weinroth

My parents first met in 1945 on the subway cars of New York city. They were 16 years of age. Like many Zionist youth of the post-war era, they were dedicated to world peace. Emissaries of the Zionist youth movement (Hashomer Hatzair), they gave fiery speeches in support of Jews seeking safe haven in Palestine. The little blue and white tin they passed around the subway riders served to garner countless donations for the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a charitable organization devoted to purchasing and ‘reclaiming’ land in Palestine for Jews -- for Jews only, that is.

Committed to the cause of social justice, but still blithe, my parents saw no contradiction in collecting money... for the JNF. They were determined to settle on an Israeli kibbutz and build an equitable and racially inclusive social order. In the early 1950s, they immigrated to Israel, wide-eyed and idealistic. They had not yet discerned the true nature of the JNF: that for all its charitable ‘largesse’, it was (and remains to this day), a powerful handmaiden of Israel’s ethnocentric settler colonialism.

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