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Jewish NGO denied U.N. status

A United Nations committee denied the Jewish National Fund accreditation within the U.N. Economic and Social Council.The 19-member committee on non-governmental organizations voted last Friday to deny consultative status to JNF, which would have allowed the organization to participate in the council meetings without voting rights. The vote was 8-7, with three abstentions. Two Israeli non-profits seeking accreditation were approved. An Israeli official said the Palestinian and Syrian delegations led the effort to block JNF’s application, though neither is a committee member with the right to vote on the matter.In explaining their opposition, both the Syrian and the Palestinian representatives referred to Keren Kayemeth L’Yisrael’s work in the territories, which they contend runs counter to the Geneva conventions and the principles of the U.N. charter. JNF maintains that it is distinct from KKL, its Israeli partner.Rabbi Eric Lankin, JNF’s chief of institutional advancement and education, vigorously disputed that charge, calling it a “smokescreen” aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish connection to Israel.”It’s not about the territories,” said Lankin, who led the JNF accreditation effort. “It’s literally about the Jewish connection to the land of Israel.”Israel, which is a member of the committee, voted in favor of the
accreditation, along with the United States, the United Kingdom,
Colombia, Peru, Romania and Turkey. Voting against were Burundi, China,
Cuba, Egypt, Guinea, Russia, Qatar and Sudan. JNF’s application was
backed as well by 57 members of the U.S. Congress who wrote personal
letters of support, according to a JNF spokesperson.

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