Friday, June 7, 2013

Bill Clinton accepts half-million-dollar speaking fee from group accused of discriminatory land distribution in Israel, West Bank

Uri Zaki, Director of B’Tselem USA, reminds us at The Daily Beast that inspite of its good work, The Jewish National Fund has been "a leading factor both in controversial and discriminatory land distribution policies within sovereign Israel, as well as in the settlement enterprise in the West Bank."
    It is also reputedly paying Bill Clinton half a million dollars to speak at an event honoring Israeli President Shimon Peres' 90th birthday.
     Zaki concluded: "Former President Clinton, who led bold attempts for peace between Israel and the Palestinians during his time in office, and who is famous for his deep knowledge of the details of the conflict, should be more prudent in choosing the organizations from which he will receive honoraria, and avoid those that perpetuate the occupation."
An excerpt:
...Yet after the establishment of Israel, which was supposed to be the fulfillment of the JNF’s goal, the organization continued to exist, increasingly taking upon itself controversial policies as years passed. The Israeli government transferred a significant part of the lands it now owned to the ownership of the JNF. The latter, a so-called private organization, was able to implement discriminatory policies that a democratic government committed to the principle of equality could not. In many of the communities established by the JNF, the by-laws require that residents must be eligible to be members of the Jewish Agency, meaning that they must be Jewish. Given that many of those communities were established surrounding Arab communities (in lands appropriated from them by the state), the goal was pretty blunt. Only in the year of 2000, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled this policy as illegal. Yet even today, the JNF plays a major role in the land battles in Southern Israel, where the authorities have repeatedly demolished homes in unrecognized Bedouin communities.
Read more by Zaki at The Daily Beast about the JNF's violations of international law in acquiring and distributing land after the Six Day War...

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