The "Nakba": A Driving Force Behind U.S. Anti-Israel Activity in 2008
Posted: June 3, 2008
Local anti-Israel groups have formed coalitions to organize "Nakba" commemorations as well. The Philadelphia "Al Nakba Coalition," which argues on its Web site that "the Israeli government's policies toward the Palestinian people manifest both racism and state terrorism," pledged to have 60 days of "Nakba" commemorative events from mid-March to mid-May. Many of these events were unrelated to the "Nakba" anniversary and simply provided the opportunity for participants to accuse Israel of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and human rights violations.
The coalition also sponsored lectures by Columbia University professor Joseph Massad and Sara Flounders, co-founder of International Action Center (IAC); hosted a Palestine Film Festival that included anti-Israel films such as Occupation 101 and Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land; and helped organize Students for Justice in Palestine's (SJP) Palestinian Awareness Week at Penn State University, which featured protests against "Israeli apartheid" and a speech by anti-Israel professor Norman Finkelstein.
The Seattle "Al-Nakba Coalition," comprised of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), Palestine Solidarity Committee (PSC) and Palestinian Concerns Task Force of the Church Council of Greater Seattle, among others, organized an appearance by Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electronic Intifada, at the University of Washington on April 23, 2008. In his speech, "One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse," titled after his controversial book, Abunimah advocated a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. According to The Daily, the University of Washington's student newspaper, he also compared the situation in Israel to South African apartheid, noting that "There's nothing new or different here. There's people who are in power and don't want to give it up."
On May 10, the "Local Nakba Committee" of San Francisco hosted a "Free Palestine Peace and Solidarity Festival." The event, which was sponsored by Al-Awda, had been advertised as an opportunity to stand in solidarity against "Israel's occupation, apartheid-wall and illegal settlements." Tents were set up depicting themes of "Israeli occupation" and a card included in the program warned participants to "Respect the concert – don't engage the Zionists!" and, "We are here today to come together to enjoy the concert and commemorate the Nakba. The Zionists will try to distract us from this…Talking to or arguing with the Zionists will only help them to disrupt things and distract" us from the event.