Stop the JNF given leave to take case against Jewish National Fund Charitable Trust to Upper Tribunal

Campaigners who say the trust and two affiliated charities are involved in violations of human rights have been given leave to appeal the striking out of their case

Campaigners who want the Charity Commission to remove the Jewish National Fund Charitable Trust and two affiliated charities from its register have been given permission to take their case to the Upper Tribunal.

Stop the JNF argues that the JNFCT, the Jewish National Fund Educational Trust and KKL Charity Accounts are racist, sham charities involved in violations of human rights and international law.

The JNFCT, which had income of £17.5m in 2012, raises funds for causes in Israel; the education charity provides information and education about Israel and Judaism; and KKL drafts wills and helps people to donate to charity.

Stop the JNF applied to the commission in March 2013 to remove the three charities from its register. After this and subsequent appeals were rejected, John Nicholson, a barrister and member of Stop the JNF, appealed against those decisions at the charity tribunal in March 2014.

The JNFCT said at the time that the campaigners were seeking "to obstruct important charitable work because of a misplaced and skewed sense of injustice".

The tribunal decided last month to strike out the appeal on the grounds that Nicholson and the other campaigners added to the case had no legal standing to make it because they had not shown that they had suffered any disadvantage, had their rights infringed or been otherwise affected by the decision.

Nicholson then applied for permission to appeal against the striking out. A charity tribunal document published this week shows that he gave three grounds for appeal.

"His first ground is that my ruling did not adequately address all the arguments in support of standing, in particular his argument that he was ‘affected’ by virtue of being the addressee of the Charity Commission’s decision," writes judge Alison McKenna in the document. It was on this ground that permission to appeal was granted.

The two other grounds – McKenna’s alleged reliance on an absence of evidence and failure to take into account the commission’s failure to exercise its powers – were not accepted.

McKenna says in the ruling that she considers the matter suitable for a paper hearing, but that the campaigners and the Charity Commission will be asked by the Upper Tribunal if they wish to have an oral hearing.

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