26 January 2022

This Blog and others like it are Slowly Being Strangled by Facebook and the Social Media Giants – We Need Your Help

The use of Algorithms will Lead to the Demise of Alternative Media if they are Starved of an Audience unless Readers also take on Responsibility

This blog is 14 years old. It began on January 29th 2008 with An Open Letter to Indymedia asking why they were allowing anti-Semitic articles by Gilad Atzmon to be posted. I was myself suspended from posting on UK Indymedia. The political incoherence of Indymedia, its failure to distinguish between right and left in the case of Atzmon and its lack of class politics or perspective, coupled with state repression and the growth of social media, led to its death in 2016.

Gilad Atzmon - the anti-Semitic Jazzman

I ended 2008 with 11 articles which represent a fair summary of the kind of article this blog has carried. Charles Tannock - Zionist and Apologist for anti-Semites showed how a far-right pro-Zionist Tory MEP, Charles Tannock, had defended an openly anti-Semitic Ukrainian paper, " Silski visti (Village News). Silski visiti published a paid for article ‘Jews in Ukraine Today: Reality Without Myths’ which stated that ‘some 400,000 Jews had taken part in the Nazi invasion of the Ukraine?’ That anyone could really believe such garbage is in itself breathtaking.

This story was consistent with many blogs which I have published since. It describes how Zionists and supporters of the Israeli state have no hesitation, like Israel itself, in backing open fascists and neo-Nazis whilst at the same time crying ‘anti-Semitism’.

The 11 articles included one comparing the Warsaw Ghetto to the Gaza Ghetto during Operation Cast Lead. Another took Atzmon to task for writing stuff that the neo-Nazi Red Watch site had printed wholesale.

Ali Abunimah, Editor of Electronic Intifada

Contrary to the allegations of the Zionists that the struggle against Zionism and in support of the Palestinians is anti-Semitic, it was the statement Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon by Ali Abunimah, Joseph, Massad, Omar Barghouti and a host of other Palestinian and Arab personalities that delivered the coup de grĂ¢ce to Atzmon and his anti-Semitic supporters.

Another article mourned the passing of Harold Pinter (is it really that long ago that he died?). Another supported the Shministim, Israeli youth who refused to serve in Israel’s occupation army. I have always tried to highlight those brave few Israelis who stand up against Israeli Apartheid just as socialists stood with White South Africans who rejected Apartheid a generation ago.

The Arab baby that wasn't wanted by Jewish parents in Tel Aviv

An article on the Arab baby that wasn’t wanted at a kindergarten by racist Jewish parents set the tone for hundreds of articles that followed. Institutionalised Israeli racism. I quoted YNet about

Parents at (Tel Aviv’s) Hatikva neighborhood' s Hagalil School outraged by decision to integrate Arab students in classes, say their concerns are for school's academic level, not racially motivated.’

Bernie Madoff

The blog also had its lighter side. An article ‘Bernie Madoff - It's an ill wind that blows no good!!’ on one of the major collapses in the banking crisis took a more benevolent view of the malefactor. I wrote

Never was someone more appropriately named. Bernie literally made off with the proceeds of others' ill-gotten gains!’ To listen to some people the collapse of Bernie Madoff's $50 billion dollar investment operation, in reality the world's largest pyramid scheme, is the end of capitalism. Chance would be a fine thing. In fact it seems that the hand of providence is upon us. To listen to the squeals coming from the Jewish Chronicle it is the poor and vulnerable, the beneficiaries of Jewish charities, who are going to suffer.

I pointed out in mitigation that

this may be the best thing that has come out of the financial crisis. Zionist operations in both the USA and Israel have, in some cases been crippled

Many of those who had lost money were Zionist institutions!

In the intervening years I have written over 3,000 posts and there have been some 6¾ million hits. The blog started off quite slowly and built up to a crescendo in 2018 when I had over ¼ million hits in one month. For a long period I had around 100,000 hits a month. Today it is between 30 and 40,000 a month. The decline for other social media groups like The Canary has been even more pronounced. From some 7.5 million page views at the time of the 2017 General Election it has about 700,000 today.

Total Number of Hits Over Time

A Statistical Analysis of Tony Greenstein’s Blog

Over the 14 years 22.35% of all hits have come from Facebook. Today that number is 8.5%, a decline of two-thirds.

A third of hits have come from the UK, with 21.8% from the United States and 13.9% from Germany, followed by France, Norway and Russia.

In the last year there has been a slight decline in UK hits from a third over the whole period to 30.59%. In second place is France with 22.9% compared to 4.9% over the 14 years. The number of hits from the United States has declined from 21.8% over the whole period to 14.8% now. Germany has declined from 13.9% to 4.4% now. Make of these what you may. Japan has gone from 19th to 4th. Taiwan is 10th today have not even registered 13 years ago. Likewise Romania is now 12th having not figured in the statistics before.

Another blogger with similar problems is Jonathan Cook, an ex-Guardian journalist. Two days ago Jonathan wrote on a similar theme: Is it already too late to say goodbye?

My blog posts once attracted tens of thousands of shares. Then, as the algorithms tightened, it became thousands. Now, as they throttle me further, shares can often be counted in the hundreds. “Going viral” is a distant memory.

What distinguishes this blog from all others?

I have tried, not always successfully, to concentrate not only on current events but also to analyse those events and provide a theoretical background. A number of themes have come to the fore:

i.              Unlike many pro-Palestinian blogs (I except Electronic Intifada) I consistently defended Ken Livingstone when he referred in passing to the Nazis’ support for Zionism. This is a matter of historical fact and I am currently bringing out a heavily footnoted book on the subject. Indeed the Zionist record was far worse than Livingstone gave them credit for.

ii.            I have always insisted that you can’t understand what Israel is doing to the Palestinians if you don’t have an analysis and understanding of Zionism as a settler, colonial movement. It is this refusal to draw conclusions from Zionism, that from the start it sought to colonise the whole of Palestine, that led the Palestinians and PLO into making the fatal error of agreeing to the Oslo Accords. [see my article debating the Oslo Accords with Julia Bard of the Jewish Socialists Group in 1993].

iii.         I have always opposed anti-Semitism in the Palestine solidarity movement because genuine anti-Semitism is the ally of Zionism. Literally they are Siamese twins. Although Zionism is not in the least concerned with genuine anti-Semitism it welcomes manifestations (rare as they are) in the Palestine solidarity movement as ‘proving’ that their opponents are motivated by hatred of Jews rather than hatred of what Israel does to the Palestinians. There was no better friend of the Zionist movement than Hitler. Without the flood of immigrants from Germany and elsewhere, the Zionist movement would have found great difficulty in achieving a critical mass in Palestine.

Noah Lucas, a critical Zionist historian in the Founding of Modern Israel observed that:

As the European holocaust erupted, Ben-Gurion saw it as a decisive opportunity for Zionism... In conditions of peace,… Zionism could not move the masses of world Jewry. The forces unleashed by Hitler in all their horror must be harnessed to the advantage of Zionism. ... By the end of 1942… the struggle for a Jewish state became the primary concern of the movement.

Ben Gurion wrote, in October 1941, that:

Disaster is strength if channelled to a productive course. The whole trick of Zionism is that it knows how to channel our disaster, not into despondency or degradation, as is the case in the Diaspora, but into a source of creativity and exploitation. [Shabtai Teveth ‘The Burning Ground 1886-1948’ p.853]

Other themes have included a focus on Israelis opposed to Zionism and who refuse to serve in the IDF, a focus on Israel’s abuse and torture of Palestinian children.

My blog is, as it says, socialist, anti-racist and anti-Zionist.  In no particular order! My most popular blogs may come as a surprise to people but for the first time I publish a list of them.

Which were the most popular posts?

The most popular with an incredible 165,000 hits was in April 2018 Winston Churchill – a Mass Murderer to whom history was very kind. Quite why this was so popular I simply do not know. Maybe it caught the mood of the time and the attacks on this war criminal’s statue.

The second most popular blog, on New Year’s day 2018 was Feminist silence over Ahed Tamimi exposes the racist consensus at the heart of western feminism with 105,000 hits. Ahed Tamimi was the 16 year old girl who slapped an Israeli soldier and was put in prison for 8 months.  It highlighted the imprisonment of Palestinian children and the racism at the heart of their lack of justice system since no Jewish child would have served a single day. Both these blogs appeared within 4 months of each other.

My third most popular in April 2012 was Israeli Shop Sodastream (Ecostream) Opens in Brighton to Large Picket with 51,900 hits. I am an activist not just a writer and I was involved from the start in the campaign to remove Sodastream’s shop from Brighton.

My 4th most popular blog was Open Letter to John Mann MP from a 90 Year Old Jewish Dr Glatt in October 2016 with 35,900 hits. Dr Blatt, a Jewish doctor who has since died, was so angry that he wrote a letter to John Mann, the Tory Lord and anti-Corbyn Labour MP who had alleged that Glatt’s letter criticising him was in fact written by Alan Madison, a Momentum supporter. Mann put up a Facebook post which blatantly lied. I produced Glatt’s letter on my blog and Mann was shamed into taking down his lying post.

The 5th most popular blog was a curious one The Framing of Kelvin Hopkins MP with 18.9K on 5 November 2017 which drove holes in the allegations of a member of Progress Ava Etemadzadeh  that she had been sexually assaulted by this staunch left-wing MP. Unfortunately Corbyn abandoned Hopkins just as he did so many others. Despite criticism from some on the left I was convinced the allegations were false.

The 6th most popular blog in November 2018 with 17.8K was NW Friends of Israel, Tommy Robinson and the EDL, are Holding a Demonstration Against ‘Anti-semitism’ in Manchester this Sunday. The Zionist didn’t like that one but what I said came true with a vengeance last May when Tommy Robinson was given a hero’s welcome at the Board of Deputies demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy.

The 7th most popular blog in October 2017 was Professor Moshe Machover Israeli Anti-Zionist Expelled from Labour today for ‘anti-Semitism’ with 16,300 hits.

The only blog from 2021 to make it into the top 10 at number 8 is May Day 2021 – Brighton & Hove Trades Union Council Says Stop the Police Bill with 15,000 hits.

Number 9 was Israel is not only the world’s most racist state it is a nation of murderers from September 2019 with 14.9K hits.

Number 10 was a humorous How do you tell if someone is a Nazi? with 14.2K hits in August 2017.

There is just one blog in the top ten from last year and 2019. None made it in 2020. By contrast there were 3 in 2017 and 3 in 2018 with 1 each in 2012 and 2016.

In the past 12 months, apart from the blog on the Trades Council demonstration against the Police Bill, the only ones to gather more than 5,000 hits were Defend Bristol University’s Professor David Miller – Defend Academic Freedom – Defend Free Speech in February 2021 with 7.65K and Open Letter to the Guardian's Editor Kath Viner & its Zionist Gatekeeper, Jonathan Freedland on December 28 2021 with 5.07K.

Numbers 11-20 were:

A Desperate John Mann MP Tries to Undermine 90 year old Jewish Doctor's Letter by Falsely Alleging It was a Forgery October 2016

Destroying the Myths of Israel’s Birth – the Mass Gang Rape & Murder of an Arab Child, July 2017

Support Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, January 2011

Brighton & Hove Labour Party Suspended by National Labour Party, July 2016

Open Letter to the Lying Leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, Warren Morgan, October 2017

The Zionists admit that the IHRA is about defending Israel NOT Jews, September 2018

Owen Jones – the Final Betrayal - Supporting Zionist Apartheid & the Jewish Labour Movement, February 2017

Labour’s Expulsion of Cyril Chilson, a Child of Holocaust Survivors, Says Everything You Need to Know About Labour's 'Antisemitism' Witchhunt, April 2018

Torture couldn’t happen to a Jewish child - 16 year old Ahed Tamimi’s Detention is Extended by Israel's Military Court, December 2017

Crooked Iain McNicol Revives the Noble Nazi Role of Informer, August 2016

There was one post from 2011, three from 2016, four from 2017 and two from 2018. So of the top 20 posts:

1 was from 2011,

1 was from 2012,

4 were from 2016,

7 were from 2017

5 were from 2018

1 was from 2019 and

1 was from 2021

It is clear that the peak number of hits were from 2016-2018 and then there was a decline coinciding with the effect of Facebook's tampering with its algorithms as it affected other social media.

What Can You Do To Combat Social Media Censorship?

It is clear that after the shock of the 2017 General Election which Corbyn nearly won, with The Canary getting more hits than the mainstream media sites, that the corporate social media and Mark Fuckerberg’s Facebook have altered their algorithms in order to weed out people like Jonathan and me. Writing about Palestine is not welcome in the corporate boardrooms.

Part of the reason why this blog has weathered the storm better, proportionately than many other similar blogs, is because I post links to a large database that I have built up over the years. So one thing you can do, if your name is not already on it, is to send your email address to azvsas@gmail.com and I shall add you to it.

Another thing you can do is to share my blogs so as to overcome the dirty tricks of Facebook and Twitter. Twitter even banned me after I had responded to Zionist trolls abusing me. Calling a Jewish person anti-Semitic is not an offence in Twitter’s eyes but calling your detractors racists is.

Many people, like Jonathan Cook, depend on their blog for an income. I don’t. However it does cost money to maintain. I employ a local charity Sussex Community Internet Project. It isn’t cheap but without them the site would be vulnerable to attack. At the moment they are redesigning my site.

I should point out that I have two sites – Google’s blogspot www.azvsas.blogspot.com  but also  www.tonygreenstein.com. I took the decision in around 2017 to set up a mirror site because of threats from Zionists that they would get Google to remove my blog altogether. It was a precaution but it didn’t come cheap.

I also discovered that some posts had simply disappeared. Google had never notified me about them but they were no longer there. If the Zionists had hacked the site then they would have simply erased everything. For example one post on the activities of a particularly nasty Tammi Rossman Benjamin disappeared. Fortunately I have backed up all files on disc and shall be replacing it in the course of time.

There are 3 things you can do:

i.                   Share, share, share

ii.                Get added to my mailing list. No amount of algorithms can get round that!

iii.             Donate what you can afford, however little or however much, to my web appeal. I am happy to write articles (I know there have been fewer in the past few weeks but I am heavily involved in the production and editing of my forthcoming book on the Nazis and Zionists). You can donate in 3 ways:

a.     Straight to my Paypal account tonygreenstein111@gmail.com

b.    By bank transfer to

Brighton and Hove Unemployed Workers Centre,

Sort Code 09-01-50

Account Number: 04094107

but please put in the reference ‘Web’ or ‘Blog’

c.     By snail mail to:

BUWC, PO Box 173, Brighton, BN51 9EZ

Tony Greenstein

24 January 2022

Riddled by Racism: The Board of Deputies is Overrun by Islamaphobes and Racists yet it has the nerve to accuse people of ‘anti-Semitism’

 Beyond Satire – The Union of Jewish Students and Jewish Labour Movement Complain that the Head of a group committed to ethnic cleansing is a Racist!

In October 2010 49 of us had a letter published in the Guardian calling for Ed Miliband not to follow in Blair and Brown’s footsteps and become a patron of the ethnic cleansing JNF.

We were successful and Miliband defied tradition. A few months later David Cameron resigned his sponsorship.

Sam Hayek, the Chair of JNF UK responded to our letter writing:

To accuse the JNF of being "actively complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians" represents a distortion of the truth on the grandest of scales. Our environmental and humanitarian work is not based on any political or religious affiliation, but rather on supporting Israel and its population – whatever their background.

I wrote

If diplomats are virtuous men sent abroad to lie for their country (Henry Wotton), what is Samuel Hayek of the Jewish National Fund's excuse.... the JNF's own entry on the Charity Commission website states that its objects include “such charitable purposes as benefit persons of Jewish religion, race or origin".

Although JNF UK has now changed the wording it hasn’t changed its activities.

Top: the JNF's Charitable Objects today and Bottom the JNF's Charitable Objects in 2010

Out is ‘benefiting Jewish persons’. In is ‘For the benefit of the population of the State of Israel ’ The only mention of Jews is:

To advance the Jewish religion, Jewish beliefs and religious education (including supporting the education of Jewish culture, history, practices and beliefs).

Hayek did not respond to my letter because he had been showns to be a liar.

It is no surprise that we now learn that Hayek is an Islamaphobe who agrees with the neo-Nazi White Replacement Theory whereby Muslim immigrants are driving out White Christians from Europe.

In an interview with the Jerusalem Post Hayek declared that “Jews have no future in England”. He told the Jewish News:

The evidence is the number of immigrants to England. The demographic of British society is changing.

Asked if he was referring to issues around Muslims, he replied: “You are not wrong,” adding:

Our problem in the West is that we do not understand Islam. In Islam there is not a term for ‘peace’.

Hayek suggested that British Jews should consider emigration, the Zionists’ wet dream:

Gary Mond - Islamaphobic bigot and JNF trustee

Last week the Senior Vice-President of the Board of Deputies, Gary Mond, was forced to resign. Mond had written on Facebook and tweeted that ‘all civilization’ is ‘at war with Islam.’ Mond is also a trustee of JNF-UK, as is Gideon Falter, its Vice Chair and CEO of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. The CAA’s 11 trustees are a roll call of some of the most viciously racist British Zionists.

The JNF's 11 racist trustees

The Charity Commission, which has repeatedly been written to regarding its refusal to deregister UK JNF has at last been forced to open an investigation into this so-called ‘charity’.

Two motions have been submitted to the BOD which criticise the JNF for “failing to disavow the inflammatory and bigoted remarks of its chair Samuel Hayek”. One censures JNF trustees for not disavowing Hayek’s remarks. The other calls on it to suspend the JNF’s Board membership until Hayek steps down. The motions are proposed by Union of Jewish Students president-elect Joel Rosen and Finchley Reform Synagogue member Robert Stone.

Gary Mond, the then Senior BOD Vice-President, spoke of his “respect” for Hayek over the comments.

Mond also liked two tweets by Pamela Geller – a White Supremacist and fascist, who has been banned from entry to the UK. According to the Southern Poverty Law Centre

Geller has a long history of working with extremists and racists in the United States, Canada and Europe, including the Jewish Defense League, the English Defense League and the white nationalist group Bloc Identitaire, among others.

A Facebook post by Mond stated that"We just have to hope that our leaders wake up to the fact that all civilisation-west and east, American, Russian, Chinese, Israeli, whatever - is at war with these evil bastards, and I have to say it at war with Islam. And, just as Islam has lost before in history, it will lose again."

This profile of the average Muslim male appeared in a Report by the CAA - if such a drawing had portrayed the 'average British Jew' you can imagine the hypocritical fury of the Zionists

Mond attacked the Board for ‘leaning to the left’ (news to us!) and being unwilling to take account of different views. He didn’t mean anti-Zionist views either! But it’s true. The Board has silenced Palestinian voices for far too long.

Meanwhile, you will be glad to hear, a defence campaign for Hayek and Mond has been launched and who better to lead it than Jonathan Hoffman, the link man between far-Right Zionists and openly fascist groups like Britain First. Mond’s supporters are a roll call of openly fascist Zionists such as Damon Lenszner, Martin Sugarman, Sharon Klaff, David Collier, Board of Deputies member Yochy Davis and Ambrosine Shitreet of Pegida. In total more than 100 supporters signed an open letter in defence of Mond and Hayek, who has accused the Board of “cancel culture”.

Hoffman et al argue that

“the complex subject of anti-Jewish racism within the Muslim community appears a taboo subject — and those who dare mention it are branded ‘Islamophobic’!”

They declare support for Hayek’s right

to express an opinion without being targeted, subjected to harassment’ or calls for his resignation. Expressing an opinion with which others disagree should not be the subject of cancel culture nor misinterpreted as ‘racist’.

Unless of course it is support for the Palestinians and anti-Zionism in which case it is ‘anti-Semitic’ and they want it cancelled immediately as the case of Professor David Miller at Bristol University shows.

They also make the risible claim that pro-Israel supporters were “nearly lynched” at the pro-Israel rally last May during the attack on Gaza. Even worse:

Many of the anti-Israel protesters were “visibly of Asian heritage. Why would Jews want to live in a country where there is a high risk of life-changing injuries simply for holding an Israel flag in the street?”

The BOD issued a statement saying that “The Board of Deputies believes that there is no place in any Jewish communal organisation for anti-Muslim hatred” which itself is a lie. The BOD is infested with anti-Arab racists.

Roslyn Pine - the Board were quite prepared to forgive her calling Muslims 'the vilest of animals'

Three years ago the Board had to suspend for 6 years Roslyn Pine for describing Arabs as “the vilest of animals.” Three years previous to that Pine had said that it was a pity that the pro-Palestinian female Swedish foreign minister was “too old to be raped.” She has also called fellow deputies “kapos.”

Jewish News reported that ‘the Board’s executive ruled that she could return early if she apologised, showed contrition and expressed remorse’. Contrast that with the life-time expulsions that the BOD demanded for Labour members expelled for ‘anti-Semitism’ i.e. anti-Zionism. If the BOD was at all serious about tackling Islamaphobia in their ranks then they would have expelled her.

What was the reaction of her synagogue, Finchley United Synagogue, for whom she is a Deputy? Did it change its representative? Not at all. The Jewish News reported that

Finchley Synagogue will look into the plight of its suspended deputy Roslyn Pine as a matter of “urgency”. Note that word ‘plight’.

For some strange reason Tommy Robinson and Jonathan Hoffman's solicitor, who is a member of the Board of Deputies, has blocked me

If the Board were serious about getting rid of its racists it would have to suspend Robert Festenheim, a solicitor and advisor to Tommy Robinson and Robinson’s solicitor Daniel Berke.

There has been one voice that has been missing in all this. It is that of Gideon Falter. Not a word, not a peep, out of someone who sees ‘anti-Semitism’ behind every stone and pebble. This is not surprising since the CAA has done its best to stir up Jewish-Muslim discord. It is a viciously Islamaphobic organisation.

Nina Friedman - the racist President of UJS

The Open Letter from Young Zionists re Hayek's Comments come from hypocrites like Nina Freedman, President of UJS, Joel Rosen, Hannah Rose, ex-UJS President, and Edward Isaacs, former President of Bristol JSoc, an inveterate liar and Jack Lubner of UJS National Council and JLM.

These young supporters of the Israeli Labor Party, which is in government with the settler-right in Israel, is an example of the hypocrisy of the Zionist ‘left’. They criticise the trustees of JNF UK for racism but have nothing to say about the JNF itself.

The JNF is an organisation which was instrumental in the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. In December 1940, Joseph Weitz, Director of its Lands Settlement Department, wrote in his diary (20.12.40) [Benny Morris, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, p.27):

There is no way besides transferring the Arabs from here to the neighboring countries, and to transfer all of them, save perhaps for [the Arabs of] Bethlehem, Nazareth and Old Jerusalem. Not one village must be left, not one [bedouin] tribe. And only after this transfer will the country be able to absorb millions of our brothers and the Jewish problem will cease to exist. There is no other solution."

What do these young ‘left’ Zionists in UJS/JLM say about the JNF which, at this very moment, is involved in planting trees on Bedouin land as part of the ‘Judaisation’ of the Negev? (see below)

The JNF’s work has been firmly entrenched in our childhoods: many of us have fundraised for the JNF,... we have toured parts of Israel with the JNF. However, now we are gravely concerned about these comments and of JNF UK’s complete inaction on the matter. Our communal institutions... have taught us Jewish values of “loving thy neighbour”, and Hayek’s comments are the antithesis of this.

These hypocrites believe that ‘loving thy neighbour’ is compatible with the forcible dispossession of the Palestinians, the Judaisation of the land and the theft of Palestinian land for settlements in the West Bank.

I therefore thought it might be instructive to see what this ‘loving thy neighbour’ actually involved. Things like the destruction of the Samarin family home in Jerusalem and the planting of trees over Palestinian villages and now the same exercise in the Negev/Naqab.

What are the Jewish National Fund Up to in the Negev/Naqab?

The Times of Israel reported last week on a ‘controversial tree-planting project by the Jewish National Fund’. Controversial because the local Bedouin communities protested against the JNF’s afforestation project, a continuation of its historic mission of using tree planting as a means of displacing Palestinians, stealing their land and erasing all traces of Palestinian villages.

There has been extreme violence by the Israeli police which would never be used against Jewish demonstrators. The police treat the Bedouin protests as ‘potential “terror incidents” with a nationalistic motive.’ Only Jewish nationalism is allowed in Israel. The terror, which is all too real, is the terror of being displaced from your home and forcibly transferred to a township as happened to Black South Africans under Apartheid.

Note how the resistance of Israeli Palestinians to efforts to ethnic cleansing is classified as “terrorism”. Attacks by settlers are never described in such terms. Even Israel’s Army Radio noted that the

JNF had not consulted with police or other law enforcement bodies prior to starting the forestation project.

Nor did they consult the Bedouin of al-Atrash and other ‘unrecognised’ villages. The Times of Israel described how:

Negev Bedouin have a contentious relationship with the state. For decades, the government has sought to move them into recognized, planned cities, but many still live in a constellation of illegal hamlets that sprawl across Israel’s southern desert.

Bedouins accuse JNF of seeking to displace them, but the organization says it is merely fulfilling a request by other government bodies on public land. JNF works across Israel on nature and conservation projects

The ‘illegal hamlets’ are the villages where the Bedouin have lived before the State of Israel was founded. No Jewish villages are ever termed ‘illegal’. Note the reference to ‘public land’. This is a euphemism for Jewish National Land.

Far from the JNF’s Greenwashing preserving the environment it is destroying it

The ToI described how

Those with ideological objections call it colonialist, and environmentalists call it harmful because it has allowed a single species to spread unchecked, diminishing biodiversity and increasing the risk of forest fires.

The latter is a reference to the JNF practice of planting non-native pine which has enabled wildfires to spread rapidly.

The colonialism claims have resurfaced periodically in international media as part of their coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, linking forestation to the “Judaization” of previously Arab-owned land.

In fact the Israeli government drew up the Prawer Plan specifically aimed at Judaisation. Yaakov Franko, a lawyer specialising in landscape legislation claimed:

the trees, mostly Aleppo pines, are an invasive species and that each pine tree is like a gallon of petrol. The sap, the needles, the acorns, the trunks burn rapidly, spreading through the broken limbs near the root system, where no other plants can grow and moisten.

That’s why a single cigarette butt can light up the area between Hadera and Gedera,” he continued, naming cities at opposite ends of Israel’s center.

Far from benefiting the environment the JNF’s tree planting is causing environmental destruction. As befits European colonisers  the JNF

boasts about the Europe-like feel of its forests. One promotional article on their website from 2013 declares that Germany’s Black Forest “has got nothing on us.” And many hikers enjoy them. On a recent Saturday, Daniel Kobi, a father of two from Kiryat Ata, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that he enjoys coming to the forest named for his suburb of Haifa because “it feels like the Swiss Alps right around the corner” from his home.

The ToI claimed that

While JNF did use some invasive species, including the eucalyptus from Australia, the Aleppo pine has grown in Israel for millennia.

Except that Israel has only existed since 1948, hardly a century let alone a millennium. The reference is to the small city state Israel that existed in the 10th Century BC, 3,000 years ago. But I forget. Palestine was a “land without a people for a people without a land”. In other words its people were invisible. To the colonialists indigenous people were always invisible. As even the Toi admits:

With their large crowns, Aleppo pines leave very little sunlight for lower shrubs. And they shed a thick blanket of needles that prevents the growth of most plants, and almost all of the flowers gracing the Israeli countryside — including its 30 species of orchids and 16 Iris species.

This means that the forests planted by JNF tend to have a much lower biodiversity than naturally occurring Mediterranean forests that nurture a multitude of insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.

The JNF give the game away when they said that

the tree planting began as an effort to “demonstrate ownership” over non-urban Jewish-owned land that could not be farmed.

In other words the JNF’s tree planting activities has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with ‘demonstrating ownership’, Jewish ownership i.e. theft of Bedouin land.

Dozens of Palestinians in the Naqab (Negev) have been injured and arrested, as Israeli police attacked protests against the JNF that is threatening the livelihood of Bedouin communities in the area. 

The protests are focused in the al-Naqe area of the Naqab, a fertile area of land in the desert, which is home to around 30,000 Palestinians living in a cluster of several Bedouin villages.

Since December the JNF has been razing Palestinian lands and uprooting trees belonging to Bedouin communities in order to prepare the area for forestation.

The JNF’s campaign in the Naqab, with the full assistance of the Israeli police, has sparked widespread protests by Palestinian Bedouin communities in the area, who say the forestation campaign is just another effort to dispossess them from their land.

Videos and photos on social media have shown Israeli forces teargassing and violently detaining protesters, as well as demolishing tents in the area.

Middle East Eye reported that Israeli police have arrested at least 35 Palestinians from the Sa’awa and al-Atrash villages. Al Jazeera reported that more than 80 Palestinians, including minors, have been detained since the protests began.

Local media also reported Israeli police setting up checkpoints and blocking the entrances and exits to villages in the area in order to prevent people from attending the protests, which have swelled in recent days, and which have sparked solidarity protests in other Palestinian cities in Israel.

A history of violence & displacement

The Naqab makes up around half of Israel’s entire land mass, and is home to an estimated 300,000 Palestinian Bedouins who hold a nominal Israeli citizenship.

The Bedouins living in the Naqab are the descendants of those who remained after an estimated 80,000-90,000 Bedouins were forced to flee the area during the Nakba in 1948.

Around half of the Bedouins reside in 40 “unrecognized” villages, which Israel calls “illegal clusters.” Despite the fact that many of the Bedouins are living on the ancestral homelands, while others were internally displaced after 1940, Israel views them as “trespassers” and does not recognize their ownership over the land.

Due to their “unrecognized” status, Israel does not offer the Bedouins living in these communities any services and they are excluded from state planning. That means they have no local councils, are offered little-to-no government services in terms of education and sanitation, and are not connected to the electric grids or water networks.

Because they are considered “illegal”, these communities are under constant threat of demolition, with Israel having destroyed some villages close to 200 times.

For decades the state has aimed to remove these communities from their homes and put them in planned residential areas, which rights groups say amounts to forcible transfer, a war crime under international law. All the while, Israel has invested billions of shekels to develop and promote Jewish settlement in the area.

The JNF: Colonialism disguised as environmentalism

Founded in 1901 as a non-governmental organization, the JNF was established to purchase land for European Jews to settle in Palestine, in order to create and maintain a Jewish-majority state.

The JNF purports to be an environmental organisation. Its tree-planting initiatives are designed to cover up the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Today that means actively dispossessing Palestinian communities in the Negev.

The areas where the JNF plants its forests are often the sites of destroyed Palestinian villages which the JNF aims to erase any trace of. Today the JNF owns an estimated 15% of all Israeli land.

In occupied East Jerusalem, the JNF has been tied to shadowy purchases of Palestinian homes which the organization then turns over to Israeli settler groups. In the West Bank the JNF purchases privately owned Palestinian land in Area C — where Palestinians are not allowed to build — for settlement expansion and construction.

The group has worked with the Israeli government to make it nearly impossible for the country’s Palestinian citizens to gain access to state lands for residential, commercial and agricultural use. In the Negev the group has advocated for the destruction of Palestinian Bedouin villages in order to plant trees as part of its “Ambassadors Forest” initiative.

See What’s happening in the Naqab? Israel uproots Palestinians to plant trees