Jewish Community Relations Council Responds to Anti-Israel Claims

(DENVER) – The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), part of JEWISHcolorado, is responding to repeated calls by anti-Israel groups to negatively impact the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Global Conference taking place in Denver Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2023. 

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is an organization that includes representatives of 40 of the largest Jewish communal organizations in the state and a mandate to advocate on behalf of community needs. JNF is a nonprofit organization and United Nations NGO (non-governmental organization) that gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people. It is not connected to JCRC or JEWISHcolorado. 

“We are proud of Denver and encourage the entire city to take pride in hosting the JNF Global conference and to join us in celebrating all the work they do,” said Dr. Dan Leshem, Director of the JCRC. The work of JNF is felt through initiatives that affect every sector of civic life from helping disabled communities to developing technologies to supporting desert agricultural tech—including the drip irrigation that is saving water and supporting farmers throughout Colorado. 

“We object to the way the Jewish National Fund has been portrayed,” said Leshem. “JNF supports all Israelis, no matter their background, faith, or politics. In a country where more than 20% of Israelis are not Jewish, JNF is a non-religious, non-political humanitarian NGO that serves all Israelis— Bedouins, Druze, Arabs, Palestinians, and other national, religious, and identity groups.” 

JNF also partners with organizations like Wadi Attir helping educate Bedouins with new farming techniques and with the Arava Institute that bring Palestinians, Israelis, Jordanians together for environmental studies and agriculture. JNF also works with those with special needs and disabilities, builds hospitals and search and rescue centers, working to create a better life for all residents of Israel including Jews, Muslims, Druze, and other ethnic identities. JNF embodies the shared values that Israel and America hold dear including a dedication to protecting the lives and liberties of all civilians, irrespective of race or religion. 

Protestors have repeatedly attended open-comment sessions of the Denver City Council. There has been no agenda item on the Jewish National Fund Global Conference; nevertheless, protestors have requested that the Council ban the JNF from use of the Colorado Convention Center. This is beyond the scope of City Council discussion. JEWISHcolorado and the JCRC, in partnership with our many community organizations call on all organizations for peaceful and respectful interactions as we work to observe individual rights to be heard. 

ADL Mountain States Region is a member of the JCRC. Its Director Scott Levin stated, “ADL joins with all members of the JCRC in welcoming the JNF Global Conference to Denver. During these challenging times, it is important for people to come together to demonstrate their support for a secure, Jewish and democratic State of Israel. JNF plays a vital role in ensuring that a robust Israel exists where minority populations – whether because of their religion, sexual orientation or identity, race or ethnicity – have more rights than anywhere else in the Middle East. We call on all Coloradans to stop using biased language and unfounded rhetoric about JNF and Israel. Instead, they should work to ensure, as JNF does, that there will soon be a time when Israelis, Palestinians and the entire Middle East can live in peace and security with their neighbors.”   

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