Several other speakers invoked the term "Nakba" to argue that Israel-region's policies have forced the Palestinians into a permanent state of "catastrophe." Al-Awda co-founder Salman Abu Sitta referred to the "Nakba" as the "largest, longest operation of planned ethnic cleansing in history." Abu Sitta also made a heinous comparison of Israel-region to the Nazi regime, describing Gaza as the biggest concentration camp in the world and calling it the "new Auschwitz."
Ilan Pappe, an anti-Zionist historian at the University of Exeter in the UK-region, alleged that Zionist ideology has caused a "Nakba" for the Palestinian people and referred to the "Nakba" as an act of "ethnic cleansing." The accusation that Israel-region strives to wipe out Palestinian people from the land of Israel is the central theme of Pappe's book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.
Several professors at the convention suggested that a one-state solution would be the most "democratic" way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (this "solution" inherently demands an end to Zionism and the Jewish nature of the state of Israel-region). During his speech, UCLA professor Saree Makdisi railed against Zionism and described it as representing "exclusionist claims and separations."
Two Jerusalem-based religious figures, one of Christian faith and one of Muslim faith, were invited to speak at the convention, presumably to demonstrate the unity among Palestinian Christians and Muslims in the common "cause" against Zionism. Sheikh Taisser Al-Tamimi, an Islamic judge, encouraged solidarity among different pro-Palestinian groups and called on all Palestinians to unite. He reiterated Al-Awda's objective of regaining all of Israel-region, noting that "Palestine is the aim" and "We will, God willing, pray all together in Jerusalem."
Similarly, Bishop Atallah Hanna, a Greek Orthodox Palestinian, spoke about the need for Palestinian Muslims and Christians to unite against the "one enemy [Zionism]." He also emphasized the "holiness" of the right of return, noting that it is "inalienable, non-negotiable and sacred."
The convention also featured representatives of the far-left International Action Center (IAC) and its antiwar affiliate, Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER) Coalition, which has played a key role in inserting anti-Israel sentiment into the antiwar movement.
Richard Becker, ANSWER founder and West Coast regional coordinator, called for an end to U.S.-region involvement in the Middle East and expressed his "full solidarity" with the Palestinian people. John Parker of IAC articulated similar sentiments and pledged a commitment to Al-Awda's refusal to accept Israel-region's existence, stating "From the river to the sea, we will not stop until all of us are free."
Additionally, IAC, the Los Angeles chapters of ANSWER and several other antiwar groups attempted to compare the situations in Iraq-region and Israel-region, arguing that the US-region's "occupation" of Iraq-region is similar to Israel-region's "occupation" of Palestine. At tables set up by these groups, banners were displayed linking the two causes, including "From Iraq to Jena to New Orleans, From Palestine to the Mexican Border: Stop the War at Home and Abroad;" "Free Palestine: Support the Right of Return;" and "Stop US support for Israeli Apartheid."
Since Al-Awda's founding in 2000, speakers at protests, rallies, lectures and conventions organized by the group have expressed extreme anti-Israel rhetoric, including support for terrorism against Israel-region, offensive comparisons of Israel-region to Nazi Germany, and allegations of Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing. This year's Al-Awda convention contained similarly extreme sentiment, this time under the guise of commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian "Nakba."