Letter from Uri Davis to Gordon Brown
22 October 2007
Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, MP
10 Downing Street
London, SW1A 2AA
Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Your patronage of the Jewish National Fund - UK
My name is Dr. Uriel Hyman Davis (known as Uri Davis), and I write on the matter of your agreement to become a Patron of the Jewish National Fund-UK (JNF-UK). I do so in my capacity as a dual citizen of the State of Israel and the United Kingdom; as an anthropologist specializing in the study of the JNF and Israeli land tenure legislation; and as a human rights defender.
I wonder whether you were aware of the following:
1. In the Articles of Association of the JNF, as incorporated under English law in 1907, the primary object of the JNF is defined inter alia as settling Jews on such lands as it may “purchase, take on lease or in exchange, or otherwise acquire”;
2. Since 1961, the JNF is bound to the Government of the State of Israel by a
Covenant in terms of which the land tenure legislation and practice of the Government of the State of Israel are informed by the JNF constitutional limitation of “for Jews only”;
3. The greater part of JNF afforestation activity inside Israel is over the lands and on sites of destroyed Palestinian Arab villages, ethnically cleansed by the Israeli army in the course of and in the wake of the 1948-49 war (in itself a crime against humanity under the Geneva Conventions). Thus, in its role as “Israel's exclusive forestry agency”, the JNF is complicit with crimes against humanity and also in war crimes;
4. The JNF’s public projection of such complicity as a commitment to charitable “maintenance of an ecologically sound environment” is a misrepresentation, and the benefits of the said questionable charitable registration of the JNF-UK and its related instruments and their tax exemptions are drawn out of the general weal;
5. These benefits, awarded to the JNF-UK as a UK charity that funds such activities as are complicit with violation of international law, are thus funded by every tax-paying individual resident in the UK;
6. From the international legal advice available to me, legally questioning the compatibility of your patronage of the JNF-UK (or any organ related to the World Zionist Organization for that matter) with the basic terms of the IsraelEU Association Agreement of 2000, suggests that such patronage might expose you to the possibility of appearing before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
Needless to say, I would be happy to present you, or any person delegated on your behalf, with the documentary corroboration of each of the items above.
I urge you to consider whether your Patronage of the JNF-UK serves the best interest of all the peoples concerned, and take the liberty to suggest that, given the above, you may wish to renounce the said Patronage.
With all good wishes,
Uri Davis (Dr)
Highbury Grove, London & The Old City, Ramle