For many of us American Jews we donate to Israel. Now in my diaries I don't hide who I give too. My giving tends to be political in nature and I give to both Americans for Peace Now and MeretzUSA. Both groups (well Meretz is a party) are on the left of the political spectrum.
Recently Volleyboy Mom is turning 90! As such volleysister set up a gift of donating to the Jewish National Fund (JNF) to put a grove of trees in Northern Israel. Now the JNF while being mainly ecological also has involvement (limited) in some questionable ventures including the travesty of evicting the Shaya family. In donating to my mothers fund I called the JNF and registered a complaint regarding the Shaya family. I am donating for the trees because that is something my 90 year old mother wants but, I also asked for explanations and told them I would consider witholding future support in lieu of actions regarding the Shaya family.
So how do we give to Israel but not support various adventures in settling or helping oppression?
UPDATE CAVEAT HERE: The argument below regarding the JNF is multi-faceted. Please see: With all due respect for the 'blue box' (thank you sofia). For many individuals below the JNF represents a force that discrimminates against Non-Jews and land ownership. For others it represents an ecological concern and a way to legitimately buy parts of and preserve a Jewish Homeland. I recommend that all follow the debate closely and read up on their own from both perspectives about the controversy behind the Jewish National Fund.
In the case of our JNF donation as a family, myself and other volleyfamily members were concerned that our donation NOT go land confiscated from Palestinians in the West Bank, or Gaza. Nor did we want it to go to the Golan - as that territory is still disputed. We made a special request and they agreed - the grove will be placed in Northern Israel. Now there are some here who would say the JNF are the most evil group on the face of the planet. I don't see that. But here is the the link to the JNF
But there are less controversial groups like Magen David Adom that do blood drives and help victims of Rocket attacks. They are a wonderful group of people generally and help all people in all situations.
On the political side there is my favorite group: Shalom Achshav or Americans for Peace Now. These groups help foster the Peace Process through positive action. Right now Shalom Achshav is heavily involved in cataloging the settlements, tracking illegal settlements and publicizing settlement building activity so that the world knows what the Right Wing is up too. Their American group is APN. These groups can be found at either www.peacenow.org (APN) or http://www.peacenow.org.il/... (Israel Shalom Achshav)
BUT AMERICAN DONORS (KOSSACKS BEWARE!) - Ha'artetz reports How does the U.S. help fund pro-settler IDF troops?
There is a group operating as an NGO called: The Global Task Force to Save the Nation and the Land. According to Ha'aretz they meld the religious nature of Chabad with the politics of Genghis Khan (ok being snarky)... No, they have donated to soldiers that refuse to enforce the temporary settlement ban.
This group according to Ha'aretz is NOT a proper NGO:
Like many of the extreme right-wing organizations receiving money from U.S. supporters, the funding for the group enjoys tax-free status. Peace groups and Palestinians have complained to U.S. authorities, but there has been no change in the status of the organizations supporting the right wing.
This group should not enjoy tax-free status. Please join Israeli Peace Groups and their Palestinian Counterparts in arguing against this groups NGO status and help bring a fair settlement to the Middle East conflict by not allowing these obviously Right Wing political organizations to misuse our donation dollars.
UPDATE 2X: After a discussion with volleyboymom - it turns out that it was volleyboysister who wanted trees. Turns out volleyboymom wanted Magen David Adom or Shalom Achshav. We discussed it and picked Shalom Achshav (I will probably send a similar donation to Magan David Adom since they truly Rock the house). Hence the donation goes to Shalom Achshav.