A lengthy group of names have signed off an open letter in today's Guardian to Ed Miliband, new leader of the UK's Labour Party, calling on him to break with the modern Labour Party tradition of patronising, albeit honorarily, the ethnic cleansers of the Jewish National Fund:
We welcome Ed Miliband's statement that Labour's foreign policy should be "based on values, not just alliances" (Leader's speech, 29 September). For too long Britain has blindly followed the US in supporting Israel, right or wrong. There is one, immediate decision Ed Miliband can make which will show that these are not empty words. Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were patrons of the Jewish National Fund. We urge Ed Miliband to break from this tradition.
The JNF is actively complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. For example, it established the Canada Park in the West Bank on the ruins of the villages of Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba. Today in Israel's Negev region it plays a major role in the establishment of exclusively Jewish settlements and the demolition of "unrecognised" Arab villages.
The JNF was founded in 1901 with the aim of purchasing land "for the purpose of settling Jews on such lands and properties". To this day it refuses to lease or rent land to anyone who is not Jewish. In 1953 and 1961, Israeli legislation made the JNF responsible for the land allocation policies of the state itself. In 1995 the Israeli supreme court, in the Ka'adan case, ruled that the JNF's partner, the Israeli Lands Administration, could no longer discriminate against Israeli Arabs by refusing to lease or rent state lands to them. This was held to be equally applicable to the JNF. The response of the JNF was that Israel was first and foremost a Jewish state not a state of its own citizens. Ed Miliband stood as the candidate of change in the Labour party. Now is the time to show that these weren't just words of spin.