Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Last 'Australian Environmental Charity' Left Standing?

One to watch:

"Any move by the Coalition to narrow the definition of what constitutes an 'environmental organisation' - and strip them of their charitable status as a result - would represent an 'attack on Australian democracy', legal experts have warned. Donors to 600 Australian environment groups, including Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), face losing the right to deduct donations from their tax as a parliamentary committee investigates the register of organisations administered by the federal environment department. Campaigners believe the inquiry is being driven by the mining industry." (Environmental groups find there's no charity in politics, Heath Aston, Sydney Morning Herald, 19/5/15)

That'd be right.

But whichever environmental organisations lose their place on the Register of Environmental Organisations, and hence their tax-deductability status, you can be sure that one particular 'environmental' organisation will remain unscathed, namely, the Jewish National Fund Environmental Association of Australia Inc.

A most interesting outfit this one. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) was created at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1901, long before environmentalism appeared on the scene.

Back then, it was simply an integral component of the British-backed Zionist settler-colonial invasion, occupation, and colonisation of Arab Palestine, which began in earnest with the Balfour Declaration of November, 1917 and continues to this day with Palestine almost wiped off the map, and the Palestinian people living either in exile or under occupation.

The JNF's founding details clearly mark it out as a tool of Zionist settlement:

"(1) Ownership of the 'Jewish National Fund' was to be vested in 'the Jewish people'. (2) Administration of the Fund was to be by the Small Actions Committee (executive of the World Zionist Organization). (3) Proceeds of the Fund were to 'be used only for the purchase of land in Palestine and Syria'. (4) No expenditures were to be effected until 'a total to be determined by the Congress had been achieved'; 200,000 pounds was suggested. (5) Of this suggested total, one-half could be used for the purchase of land, the remainder to be held to accumulate interest; 'until colonization on a large scale is possible', annual collections could... be dispersed similarly." (The Jewish National Fund, Walter Lehn, 1988, p 21)

These days, however, with green-washing all the go, the JNF definines itself, in its mission statement, as the 'Environmental arm of the Jewish people. Promoting an improved environment in Israel through support from Jews throughout the world.'

Exactly what this arm of Zionist colonisation and apartheid is doing on a register of Australian environmental organisations is just another of life's little mysteries.

That any parliamentary/bureaucratic tinkering with definitions might prove uncomfortable to the JNFEAA may be gleaned from the following submission, dated 7/12/11, sent by Robert P. Schneider, CEO of JNF & JNFEA to Treasury's Philanthropy and Exemptions Unit. In Re: Proposed introduction of a statutory definition of 'Charity', we find the following cute attempt to internationalise this most national of organisations:

"The JNF is the Australian arm of the Jewish National Fund, an international environmental agency headquartered in Israel but with supporting offices in some 40 countries around the world... The organisation... is entrusted with the conservation of land and natural resources in Israel but through the expertise it has gained over the years - in particular in afforestation and water conservation - this expertise is shared internationally through the organisation's affiliation to world conservation bodies as well as through its various offices around the world including Australia."

The submission goes on to plead that any legislative change should not come at the expense of "a body whose dominant purpose is charitable will not be precluded from being considered 'charitable' by reason only of the fact that it provides benefits in accordance with that purpose in an overseas country or countries." (PDF, treasury.gov.au)

Or countries? Pull the other!

And just in case you're wondering what those benefits might entail, here's the hard-sell from the latest full-page JNF add in the Australian Jewish News (20/3/15):

2015 JNF BLUE BOX PESACH CAMPAIGN: HELP KIDS LEARN FOR A BETTER FUTURE

"Every child deserves the right to live, learn and play without fear. So please help us create new Garden Classrooms for children in Israel's South. These children endure financial hardship and have been traumatised by years of rocket fire from Gaza. The Garden Classroom will become a haven for learning and activity and will give these vulnerable children an opportunity for educational and emotional development."

It's all in the labeling, you see: classrooms are classrooms are classrooms, but call them 'garden classrooms', and they somehow become 'environmental' and can be paid for by untaxed Australian dollars.

[FYI: Read my JNF backgrounder, A Certain Jewish Tree Planting Group (14/6/08).]

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