This is a JNF collecting tin – one of hundreds of thousands of similar tins in hundreds of thousands of Jewish homes throughout the western world – and just like the one that sat for years on a shelf in our kitchen.
Nobody ever put anything in it but once a year this old guy came round to empty it and my mum and dad would suddenly get in a panic to give him something. The money was specifically to ‘build Eretz Israel’. God knows what it was really used for but, as far as this little kid was concerned, it was to plant trees “to bind the soil”. Why, I even had a little book in which I stuck ‘leaves’ on trees – each leaf paid for by some friend or relative I’d cajoled into helping me to ‘redeem the land’.
To the child me, Israel was a sunny garden full of fruit trees and singing children. The sun shone all day, and everyone picked fruit and then, as the sun went down, they danced till dawn. I stuck stamps in my JNF stamp book – tiny trees, five shillings each, collected from friends and relatives, and, when you’d filled the book, a real tree was planted. “to bind the soil.” Thus did I redeem the land. From “We stand with Israel“
Yes, I know it’s all wrong and I now know the narrative covered up some terrible atrocities and a grievous crime. But I can’t help a part of me still engaging with what seemed then to be a most heroic narrative.
And there’s something else I can’t help feeling: Whatever one may think about Jews and Zionists, they sure know how to fight their collective corner. Would their victims knew the same!
Anyway, the pieces below are about the very real and not-so-nice side of JNF activity – stealing land from Palestinians to give to Jews. It’s posted by Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JFJFP) – a group who, though inevitably sometimes exhibiting all the least likeable aspects of Jewish collective behaviour, also are capable of great compassion, generosity and dedication.
They’re certainly better than the Jewish ‘anti-Zionists’ (usually Marxist) who, to my mind, are a cold, heartless and ultimately murderous bunch.