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Friends of the Arava Institute


Friends of the Arava Institute is an NGO which does international fundraising for the Arava Institute, an organization funded by and affiliated with the Jewish National Fund (JNF) which works to promote "progressive" and "greenwashed" narratives about Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland and theft of Palestinian resources. Friends of the Arava's Institute website describes the Jewish National Fund as "our partner," and notes that donations to Arava go through the JNF. Friends of the Arava's Institute's form 990 from FY2019 indicates that Friends of the Arava Institute gave $53,423 to the JNF for "environmental studies" in FY2019.

Friends of the Arava's FY2019 financials also indicate that Friends of the Arava gave $110,222 to Hazon, a New York based organization which is itself engaged in greenwashing of Israel's crimes. Hazon boasts on their website about how they are “greening Israel,” featuring writing by members of the Green Zionist Alliance which recycles familiar narratives about European settlers "making the desert bloom" in Palestine. Hazon organizes an opportunity to plant trees called “JTree,” which is essentially a slightly less aggressive version of familiar JNF efforts to prevent Palestinians from returning to expropriated lands through the planting of pine tree forests. According to Hazon’s website:

We Jews have experience in planting trees. A century ago, the Zionist movement took on the task of re-foresting the Land of Israel, which had become barren. This effort mobilized adults and children across the Jewish world. But now we see that the planet itself is in need of such an effort. JTree calls upon Jewish communities and their leaders to help take the lead in our campaign to plant trees and support forests, wherever they are needed. We can do so by contributing to the responsible environmental organizations listed above. JTree has partnered with the National Forest Foundation to plant trees.

The Arava Institute, Hazon, and the Jewish National Fund work together to disseminate propaganda aimed at branding Israel as a beacon of environmentalism. For example, The Arava Institute and Hazon have collaborated to organize a JNF propaganda tour of colonized Palestinian land. Hazon is also linked to smaller Boston-area organizations, such as Ganei Beantown (Beantown Jewish Gardens), which provide similarly greenwashed narratives about Israel aimed at erasing the realities of Israel's ethnic cleansing and resource theft. Ganei Beantown, for its part, received its first grant from Boston area Zionist donor advised fund Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and, in addition to its partnerships with Hazon, Ganei Beantown has partnered with Tufts University's Hillel, the Jewish Arts Collaborative, Hebrew College, and other local institutions which provide material and ideological support to the Zionist project.

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