The Jewish National Fund is an international charity with branches around the world, including Canada. The organization describes its work on its website this way:

“For decades the Jewish National Fund of Canada has cared for the land of Israel. This mission took the role of planting trees, building water reservoirs, preserving natural habitats, and building parks and bicycle trails.

More recently, JNF Canada has taken on projects to build the social infrastructure of the land of Israel for the benefit of the People of Israel.”

Critics say that its activities are not all benevolent. Today’s guest is one of them. David Mivasair is a rabbi living in Hamilton, Ontario.

In an email to rabble radio, David said “I am writing to people I know in Canada to ask you to please sign this formal, legal petition to Canada’s Minister of National Revenue to revoke the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund Canada, if it is audited and determined to be in violation of Canada’s Income Tax Act and foreign policy, as I am thoroughly convinced it is.”

He listed a number of reasons, including (in his own words):

1)  The JNF is dedicated to acquiring and providing land for Jews.  It excludes Palestinians and other non-Jews.  It outright owns 16% of the land in Israel and controls the management of about 90% of all land in Israel.  It violates the provision in the Canada Tax Act that stipulates that a charitable organization must provide a “public good”, which means does not discriminate on the basis of ethnic identity.  

2)  The JNF uses charitable donations from Canada to support projects and programs in coordination with the Israel Defense Forces.  Charitable organizations are not allowed to support foreign militaries.

3)  The JNF funds projects in Israel which displace Palestinians from their homes, demolish villages, build on their sites and otherwise make physical changes in a militarily occupied territory.  This violates international law and Canadian foreign policy.

He talks to rabble podcast executive producer Victoria Fenner about the petition which he has launched.  At posting time, it has been supported by approximately 1800 Canadians, including NDP MP Niki Ashton and Pierre-Luc Dusseault. 

You can find out more by going to the Stop the JNF Canada website.

Image: David Mivasair

rabble radio

Hosted by Breanne Doyle, rabble radio is the flagship podcast of rabble breaks down the news of the day from a progressive lens.

rabble radio brings you closer to the stories that matter to you. If you’re curious about the latest news in Canadian politics, labour, environment, or social justice, you’ve come to the right place. This is news for the rest of us – free of corporate influence.