Pro-Palestinian activists attacked the Jewish National Fund’s office in Paris Sunday during celebrations for Tu Bishvat, a Jewish nature holiday.
According to news portal Walla, dozens of protesters stormed the organization’s offices as part of a campaign to boycott the JNF’s tradition of planting trees in Israel in honor of the holiday, known as the trees’ new year, which falls on Wednesday.
The activists, who support the international boycotts, divestment, and sanctions movement, rallied against Israel’s policies in the West Bank.
A French BDS group named Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste spread the word of the JNF’s tradition of planting trees around Israel, claiming, “its environmental claims are merely a pretext. Since its inception, the foundation is a key player in the colonization of Palestinian land and the expropriation of Palestinian residents from their land particularly through land confiscations.”
The group accused the JNF of “land theft and ethnic cleansing,” and called on its activists to mobilize and stop the holiday festivities.
According to the JNF, nobody was in the office at the time, but Jewish community officials, including the Israeli ambassador, were in a hall nearby. The protesters at first demonstrated at the hall, but were forced away by hundreds of police, according to the JNF, and from there went to the offices, where they affixed Palestinian flags to the door.
JNF-KKL is a 100-year-old organization involved in land and water development in Israel. The group’s website states that is has planted 250 million trees, built over 210 reservoirs and dams, and developed over 250,000 acres of land.
Much of the organization’s funding comes from donations from Diaspora Jews.