NBA’s Stoudemire helps group that funds Israeli settlements

Man in goggles during basketball game

Amar’e Stoudemire is scheduled to showcase his wines at a poker tournament on 11 March to raise funds for the racist Jewish National Fund-USA.

John Jones Sportswire

Former NBA all-star Amar’e Stoudemire is slated to participate in a Jewish National Fund-USA poker tournament on 11 March to promote the work of the Israel-linked group and his own brand of wine.

For over 100 years, the Jewish National Fund has pursued the acquisition and colonization of Palestinian land for the exclusive use of an expanding Jewish settler-colonial population.

The organization openly discriminates against Palestinians and finances racist organizations in the United States.

JNF-USA in 2018 promoted a wine branded with the basketball superstar’s name from Kfar Tikva’s Tulip Winery in northern Israel.

Stoudemire, who became an Israeli citizen in 2019, is currently back in the US and working as a player development assistant with the Brooklyn Nets, an NBA team.

He celebrated his citizenship with Israeli interior minister Aryeh Deri, who served two years in prison for corruption and is notorious for his racism and hostility toward African refugees in Israel.

Expanding settlements

The poker tournament, scheduled for the same evening as a Nets game, comes amid news that JNF-USA’s Israeli partner organization Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-JNF (KKL-JNF) is moving toward the purchase of Palestinian properties adjacent to illegal Israeli settlements in order to help them expand.

JNF-USA has made feeble efforts to separate itself from the settlement-promoting Israeli branch. But “KKL-JNF Israel serves as a ‘vendor’” for the American organization, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Nor can any cosmetic separation between the US and Israeli branches of the Jewish National Fund hide that JNF-USA is also profoundly committed to the colonization of occupied Palestinian land.

JNF-USA’s website features a map including present-day Israel, the occupied West Bank and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights – an apparent endorsement of Israel’s claim to all of these lands.

The map shows that JNF-USA finances projects in settlements throughout the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

In 2018, according to its filings with the Internal Revenue Service, JNF-USA granted $1.3 million to Nefesh B’Nefesh, an organization that assists Jews from around the world to move to settlements in the occupied West Bank.

JNF-USA funds have also gone to a promenade and memorial site in Gush Etzion settlement for the three Israeli teens killed in 2014 reportedly by two rogue members of Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the slayings as a pretext for large-scale war crimes and killings of Palestinians in Gaza.

Two fire trucks provided with JNF-USA funds also went to illegal West Bank settlements.

JNF-USA’s national campaign director Deb Rochford, for her part, makes clear her support for a greater Israel by sporting a necklace that includes the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights.

JNF-USA’s work, which routinely discriminates against Palestinians, indicates she is not a supporter of one state with equal rights for all, but one state in which Jewish citizens hold superior rights in an apartheid state.

Funding hate

The discrimination inherent in JNF-USA’s work is not limited to Palestinians.

According to its 2018 filings, JNF-USA gave a grant of $10,000 to the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the group founded by and named after the notoriously Islamophobic and anti-Black demagogue.

It also granted $20,000 to the Gatestone Institute, a think tank notorious for spreading anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.

JNF-USA’s support for discriminatory propaganda does not stop there. The Israel on Campus Coalition received a $375,000 grant from JNF-USA in 2018.

Al Jazeera’s censored undercover documentary on the Israel lobby – obtained and released by The Electronic Intifada in 2018 – revealed how the Israel on Campus Coalition has been working secretly with the Israeli government to spy on and harass students and educators at US universities because of their advocacy for Palestinian rights.

On stolen land

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy describes Israel’s KKL-JNF as a body “most of whose land is land that was stolen from its owners in the Nakba and was never returned to them.”

He adds that after taking this land belonging to ethnically cleansed Palestinians, KKL-JNF “covered over the ruins of hundreds of villages in forests, just to erase their memory from the face of the earth and block the possibility of their owners returning.”

Levy notes accurately that for decades, KKL-JNF “sold lands only to Jews, and since 2009 even legalized this practice in an official decision.”

He observes that as far as the KKL-JNF is concerned there are no borders, “just one state between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, in which you buy land only for members of one people.”

For Levy, the KKL-JNF’s recent step toward buying land in the West Bank means the organization has “declared its partnership in the war crime called settlement too, after years of doing so via a front company.”

Yet JNF-USA continues proudly to highlight its connection to KKL-JNF, while directly supporting Israel’s settlements in the West Bank whose construction is a war crime.

In the 1980s, those who chose complicity and received money from South Africa’s apartheid regime were lambasted – “Ain’t going to play Sun City.”

In 2021, those helping whitewash, fundraise for and promote Israel’s apartheid – as Amar’e Stoudemire and the JNF-USA are doing – should be no less ashamed.


Michael F. Brown

Michael F. Brown is an independent journalist. His work and views have appeared in The International Herald Tribune,, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The News & Observer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and elsewhere.