7.00pm on Friday April 26th outside St Andrews Golf Hotel
On Friday April 26th, 2013 the St Andrews University Jewish Society’s Matzah Ball will be fundraising for, amongst others, two charities: the Friends of the IDF and The JNF. There is nothing charitable about racism and military occupation.
The IDF, or Israeli Defense Forces, is the policing and military body that is instrumental to the ongoing occupation of the West Bank. This occupation, which began in 1967, is illegal under international law and is condemned by governments worldwide, including the UK. Among the numerous horrific effects of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank are the denial of the freedom of movement (through the separation wall and checkpoints) restricting access of Palestinians to healthcare, education and use of natural resources, and devastating consequences on the local economy with high unemployment and little or no access to international trade. Palestinians are attacked or shot for protesting against these grave injustices on a daily basis. The IDF plays a key role in perpetrating these injustices. One key example is the way in which the IDF supports the existence and further construction of Israeli settlements (illegal under international law and criticised by politicians of all the main parties in the UK) and settlers at the expense of the Palestine population in the West Bank.
The IDF is also responsible for the killing of countless Palestinian civilians, for example numerous attacks on what has been called the largest open air prison in the world – Gaza. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9 Israeli Defense Forces killed 1400 Palestinians in Gaza, including around 350 children, and there is much evidence that the IDF used white phosphorus on civilian populations in the attacks, again illegal under international law. These crimes have been once again perpetrated with impunity during last year’s attacks on Gaza. Last week the IDF again showed its true character when, as reported by human rights agencies in the area, soldiers used a 17-year old Palestinian boy as a human shield while firing shots at Palestinian protestors in Abu Dis in the West Bank.
The Jewish National Fund has been one of the principal bodies responsible for dispossessing Palestinians from their lands, and preventing them from returning (e.g. by planting forests and building parks over the ruins of Palestinian villages). JNF land (currently 13% of Israel’s land) can only be used by Jewish people, discriminating against all others who may want to live or work on the land. Such discriminatory land distribution policies based on race and ethnicity are illegal under international law. The JNF continues to play a key role in displacing Palestinians today, for example in its strong involvement in the village of Al-Araqib, in the Negev, which has been destroyed over 40 times since 2010.
We deplore fund-raising for such institutions and will protest it wherever it occurs. Institutions that kill innocent civilians and are inherently discriminatory should be abhorred; they are not worthy of charity.
We call on the Jewish Society of St Andrews University to remove its support for Friends of the IDF and the JNF. We call on St Andrews Golf Hotel to retract its support for these fundraising activities unless these two “charities” are renounced by the organisers.
We further call on people of conscience and supporters of human rights to send a letter of protest to the St Andrews Golf Hotel, and join us at 7pm on Friday April 26th outside St Andrews Golf Hotel to protest fundraising for apartheid and ethnic cleansing.