Friday, January 21, 2011

Barbara Kay's Tu B’Shevat

Barbara Kay of the post brings to our attention that the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network is orgnizing an alternative Tu B'Shevat that better fits their 'values':
In its latest communiqué, the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) has announced its intention to co-opt Tu B’Shevat. IJAN claims to be “a growing international network of Jews whose Jewish identities are not based on Zionism, but on a plurality of histories and experiences. We share a commitment to participation in the legacy of struggles against colonization and imperialism. As such we struggle against Zionism…”
The communiqué says, “In order to honour the value of trees and counter the work of the JNF year-round, we will launch a Plant a Tree in Palestine Project in the coming weeks.” The project, they go on to say, will fund the planting of olive trees in the West Bank. There follows a website through which people may donate money to help the project.
OK... what's so International about it? I can understand that some Jews prefer not to be Zionists and to not feel any sympathy whatsoever to Israel. It's rather misguided as history teaches us that a Jewish state could mean the difference between life and death even for the most assimilationists of diaspora Jews. But how does NOT associating with Israel translate into helping the Palestinians? This logic is completely crooked... 

On a more positive note. Kay adds:
So when I read this communiqué about the latest foray into Israel-bashing, I was very pleased. What could be better than a “buycott” of trees? I think the JNF would be wise to consider an advertising campaign of its own, suggesting that the best thing Jews and other friends of Israel can do to combat the IJAN is to buy trees.
I am going to buy a few trees from JNF myself. In Israel both Jews and Arabs benefit from woodlands and public parks, because unlike in certain apartheid states one could name, Jews and Arabs, men and women, heterosexuals and homosexuals, Zionists and anti-Zionists share the same public spaces without fear of censure.
JNF is a very worthy cause. I encourage everyone who believes in Israel’s legitimacy to buy a tree or two to honour that special someone’s birthday, or commemorate a loved one’s death. It’s easy: Just visit the JNF website. And when you do buy that tree, please alert me. I won’t publish your name, but it would be nice to have a good tally to remind the anti-Zionists that trees, parks and vineyards are good for both Israel and for Palestinians, but bullying and hate-mongering don’t help anyone.
Planting a tree in Israel is a great cause. I have done so many times in my childhood :) Doing so as a donation is not as fun of an experience as getting down and dirty, but achieves the same goals none the less.


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