28 March 2015
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Stop the Hebron Fund!
New resource available.
Every Saturday, Israeli and foreign tourists gather in Hebron’s Old City for a
tour that presents a false and racist history of Hebron and denies the legacy
of Muslims and Jews living together for centuries. The tour is accompanied by
dozens of Israeli soldiers and Border Police, who ID check and detain
Palestinians. In December 2014, soldiers detained thirty-nine Palestinians,
including fourteen children, and thereby preventing them from leaving or
returning to their homes. Between December 2014 and March 19, 2015, soldiers
invaded thirty-five homes, mostly to use these families’ rooftops as lookout
posts. Settlers and tourists frequently chant as they walk through Palestinian
neighborhoods, and sometimes yell threats at local children.
Nonviolent resistance to this
invasion occurs every week. Palestinians who live in the neighborhood refuse to
be bullied into staying off the streets. Many document the tour with their
phones and video cameras.
We at Christian Peacemaker Teams – Palestine started a
petition just over a month ago, demanding that the Hebron Fund, the
group that organizes these tours, cease this weekly harassment of Palestinian
neighborhoods. To date we have collected over 450 signatures.
Now, we are calling on all
people to cease donations to the Hebron Fund. Many synagogues in the United
States, and some churches, make donations to the Hebron Fund. Many do
not know the full extent of what their money does. We have produced a
pamphlet that helps explain who the Hebron Fund is and the damage they cause in
Hebron’s Old City.
Jewish tradition has named
Hebron one of the “four holy cities” in Palestine. A Jewish community lived in
Hebron for centuries. Abraham, Sarah, and other patriarchs and Matriarchs
important to the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths are buried in the Cave of
the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron’s Old City.
Since 1967, radical right-wing
Israeli settlers have occupied a number of buildings and formed illegal
settlements inside Hebron’s Old City. These settlements house at most a few
hundred settlers guarded by an immense regime of checkpoints, road closures, guard
towers, military outposts, and military patrols.
The same is true of the entire
project of illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank. In 2012, the Israeli
government allocated 60.3 million shekels ($15 million US) to support
settlements, but spent nearly
272 million ($70 million US).
This year, Israel will allocate nearly $35 million US to the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division, which funnels to support settlements. This
disproportionate funding also hurts Israel’s poor and working class. Foreign and Israeli banks and
international companies provide services to settlements that are denied to Palestinians, and
Israel intentionally obscures the origins of settlement products so they can qualify for preferential access to European
This is where the Hebron Fund
comes in. The Hebron Fund is a Brooklyn, New York-based non-profit that
organizes this tour to support the Israeli settlements that sit on top of
Hebron’s Old City. The Hebron Fundraises money, primarily in the United States,
to support settlements and a military occupation that are illegal under
international law and financially unsustainable without outside contributions.
The Hebron Fund claims to support cultural events, but their money can be used to buy weapons, vehicles, and
other “security” items used to terrorize Palestinians.
Purim this year, the Hebron Fund fundraised to support such seemingly positive
things as meals and the Purim carnival. But Purim has a dark history in Hebron
– in 1994, on the day of the holiday, US-born settler
Baruch Goldstein walked in the Ibrahimi Mosque and massacred 29 Palestinian
Muslim men while they prayed. Last
year, the Purim Carnival camped outside a Palestinian school and trapped the
children inside, while settlers yelled threats and blared loud music. This
year, Palestinian schools wisely let their children go early, but families
walking the streets during the day encountered dozens
of military vehicles and random
ID checks. After Purim
settler men in Beit Hadassah threw their empty wine bottles into nearby
These are just a few examples of the
oppression and harassment Hebron Fund explicitly or implicitly supports.
Internationally, many Jewish
people have protested against the Hebron Fund. Organizations like J Street U came out in opposition of the Hebron Fund’s inappropriately
named “Hebron Aid Flotilla” fundraiser. Hundreds of people gathered to protest the “Flotilla.” Hundreds
more protested and called on the New York Mets to cancel a Hebron Fund dinner at their stadium.
This resistance will continue,
and it will grow. We encourage everyone to use our pamphlet in engaging their
local community, and we ask all people of conscience to stop donating to the
Hebron Fund and other organizations that support violent settlements in the