After the Australian Jewish community with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd recently celebrated Israel’s 60th anniversary – something protested by many Arabs, Jews and other concerned citizens – similar shenanigans are occurring in Britain:
On April 7, Prince Philip will be hosting a dinner at Windsor Castle organised by the Jewish National Fund. They will be marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Israeli state. However this is not a private dinner. Nor is the JNF an ordinary organisation.
The JNF was established in 1901 as the land settlement wing of the World Zionist Organisation. It became one of the primary instruments involved in planning for the dispossession and expulsion of the Palestinians. Up until 1948 it purchased land for settlement, often from absentee landlords, and then evicted the peasants from that land. Unlike the normal practice under colonial rule, the Palestinians were not re-employed as wage labourers but excluded from the land altogether. This was the concept of Jewish land. But even by 1947 less than 7% of the land of Palestine had been bought up.
The JNF played a crucial role in planning for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. In the years leading up to the establishment of the state of Israel, the JNF was a key voice in establishing a consensus in the Zionist leadership for “transfer”. Although not discussed openly, among the Zionist leaders it was accepted that a Jewish state could only come into being if the Arabs were transferred out of the state. Palestine was a land where barely one-third of the inhabitants were Jewish, and even in the area allotted by the United Nations to a Jewish state, barely half of the inhabitants were Jewish. As the head of its Land Settlement Department, Joseff Weitz, wrote in his diary in 1940:
The only solution is to transfer the Arabs from here to neighbouring countries. Not a single village or a single tribe must be let off. [Ilan Pappe: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, page 62]
What other country’s ethnic cleansing is celebrated by heads of a state in supposed democracies?