Press Release 26 March 2004

Scottish Friends of Palestine expresses concern over the association of comedienne and TV personality,

Ruby Wax, with the JNF fund raising dinner in Glasgow, 28th March.

As usual, by adopting the acronym, JNF, the organiser of the charity event, the JNF Charitable Trust, makes no effort to distance itself from its “cousin” the non-charitable JNF. In failing to make this distinction, this UK charity is happy to associate itself with the land grabbing and racist practices of the occupier, practices which reinforce the occupation, which strangle the Palestinian economy and which humiliate, brutalise and kill the Palestinian people under occupation.

Just as the Charity Commissioner has recently looked at the activities of this Charitable Trust, Ruby Wax should similarly take a hard look at this charity and ask questions. Given that she has taken the decision to lend her name to this charity she, unlike the Commissioner, can and should question why the charity, essentially constituted to alleviate poverty amongst the world’s Jewry, fails to publicly disassociate itself from similarly named bodies which contribute to the grinding poverty now faced by those Palestinians under occupation.

The last prominent visitor to Glasgow, at the behest of the JNF Charitable Trust, was former President Clinton. Despite the criticism levelled at Clinton for his participation in the event, not once did this Charitable Trust try to spare their famous guest embarrassment by publicly pointing out the distinction between the various organisations which lay claim to the acronym “JNF”.

Ruby Wax would be doing herself ,and her reputation, a favour by insisting that her hosts come clean on their relationship with a body which for about 100 years has acquired Palestinian land, by means fair or foul, and then refuses to sell it to non-Jews. She should be asking why the JNF, in its capacity as a quasi governmental body within Israel, only funds those who claim to be Jewish and is duty bound by its constitution to discriminate against the non-Jewish citizens of Israel.

And if Ms Wax does not have the courage to do this, then it falls to the media to press her and the JNF Charitable Trust on the issue. As it is, it is only when pressed by the Charity Commissioner investigating its funding activities that, in the privacy of its chambers, the JNF Charitable Trust claims “It wisnae me, am no one o’ them” – and is forced to clean up its website to avoid charges of misrepresentation and possible loss of charitable status.

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