NGOs Mark 75 Years of “Nakba”
Each year around May 15, the network of anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs) marks the “Nakba,” an Arabic word meaning “catastrophe” used to describe the establishment of the State of Israel. The NGOs repeat this term to declare Israel as inherently illegitimate and to push for a Palestinian “right of return” that would result in the elimination of the Jewish state. These efforts often rest on false historical claims and portrayal of Jews as “alien” or “foreign” to the Middle East. They erase Arab rejection of the UN partition plan and the launching of war against the fledgling state of Israel in the immediate aftermath. These activities are enabled by extensive funding from foreign governments, primarily from Europe.
In their commemorations, the NGOs accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing”, “colonialism,” and “apartheid” to characterize all Jewish aspects of Israel as inherently racist, thus denying the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. As stated in the consensus working definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), this is an example of antisemitism.
This year, as seen in the selections below, many of the NGO events reference the 75th anniversary of 1948 in promoting divisive campaigns.
- On May 19, Al-Haq founder Raja Shehadeh will participate in a “book talk” at the Museum of the Palestinian People’s “series of events…to commemorate the 75th year since the Nakba began.”
- Since 2020, Al-Haq has received funding from Denmark, Sweden, European Union, Italy, France, and Norway.
- In April 2023, BADIL held a poster competition “under the slogan: “75 years of ongoing Nakba… 75 years of ongoing Resistance.” The competition called for submissions to “reflect the ongoing resistance of the Palestinian people against the Israeli colonial-apartheid regime.” The winning posters will be featured in an exhibition at the UN headquarters in Geneva and New York.
- Donors have included Ireland, Spain, DanChurchAid (Denmark), Diakonia (Sweden), and Trocaire (Ireland).
Viva Salud/Solsoc/Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique/Intal/Association Belgo-Palestinienne
- On May 21, ABP, Viva Salud, Intal, SolSoc, and other Belgian NGOs will hold a conference titled “Palestine: 75 Years of Nakba, 75 Years of Resistance.” The conference will feature Salah Hamouri and Ilan Pappe.
- Salah Hamouri, a lawyer at PFLP-linked Addameer, was arrested and convicted in 2005 for “attempting to assassinate Ovadia Yosef…and for his involvement with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.” According to Addameer, Hamouri was banned from entering the West Bank until September 2016, following his release in a prisoner exchange deal in 2011. (Hamouri was released in December 2011 as part of a swap of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit). Upon his release in 2011, according to the PFLP, Hamouri stated that “there is no option for the Palestinian people except resistance because it is the only way for us to achieve our people’s rights, our freedom, and our self- determination.”
- Ilan Pappe is an academic at the University of Exeter and author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. He is a BDS supporter and has stated,: “I support Hamas in its resistance against the Israeli occupation.” Pappe’s article “Genocide in Gaza” refers to the “Palestinian resistance” and uses terms such as “imprisoning Gaza,” “massacres,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “genocide politics” to describe the actions of the Israeli government. In a 2014 lecture, Pappe claimed that a two-state framework is “just a tool where [Israel] maintains control over the [Palestinians].”
- Viva Salud, Intal, UPJB, ABP, and SolSoc have received funding from Belgium.
PAX (NL) with EAPPI and Salah Hammouri
- On May 12, PAX Netherlands held a lecture titled “75 years of Nakba: the Palestinian past/present.” The lecture featured Salah Hamouri (see above), Maha Abdallah (Cairo Institute for Human Rights), and Julia Tebbe (EAPPI).
- EAPPI sends volunteers to the West Bank to “witness life under occupation.” Upon completion of the program, the volunteers return to their home countries and churches where many engage in anti-Israel advocacy, including advocating for BDS campaigns in churches, comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany, and other delegitimization strategies.
- PAX has received funding from the Netherlands, Sigrid Rausing Trust, and Open Society Foundation.
- EAPPI has received funding from the European Union, Norway, Sweden, Canada, DanChurchAid (Denmark), Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (United Kingdom), Finn Church Aid (Finland), and HEKS (Switzerland).
War on Want, Middle East Children’s Alliance, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Amos Trust
- In March-May 2023, War on Want, Amos Trust, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and the Middle East Children’s Alliance sponsored a bike ride to mark “75 years of the ongoing Nakba…75 years ago marks the start of the ongoing Israeli colonisation and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. We will be highlighting this historic atrocity as part of the 2023 Big Ride for Palestine.”
- War on Want has received funding from Open Society Foundation, Christian Aid (United Kingdom), and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Germany).
- Middle East Children’s Alliance has received funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Open Society Foundation.
- On May 13, Amos Trust and PSC held a “Nakba 75: national demonstration” to mark “the Nakba not just as a historical event but as a continuing process of oppression enacted over the past 75 years upon Palestinians.”
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)
- On May 9, PSC hosted a webinar titled “Nakba 75 – Exist, Resist, Return.”
- On May 14, PSC hosted a “Demonstration and March” to “mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba.”
Association France Palestine Solidarite (AFPS)
- Published a series of articles and reports to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba.
- AFPS has received funding from France.
Collectif Palestine Vaincra (CPV)
- On May 13, CPV hosted a “Palestine Tour on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Nakba” to “reaffirm our solidarity with the Palestinian resistance.”
Palestine Return Centre (PRC)
- On May 15, PRC will host a webinar titled “Ongoing Nakba at 75: Palestinians Demand Right of Return.”
Adalah Justice Project (AJP)
- On May 4, the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace held a series of programs titled “THE NAKBA @ 75: The Ongoing Palestinian Catastrophe” to “commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba.” One event featured an interview with Adalah Justice Project Executive Director Sandra Tamari.
- AJP has received funding from the Tides Center and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
- On May 14, AMP held a rally in Washington DC to “Commemorate Nakba 75.”
- On May 13, AMP and CODEPINK held a rally in Los Angeles “On the 75th anniversary of the Nakba…in solidarity with rallies around the world to protest the continued violence and displacement of Palestinians.”
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)
- On May 14, JVP held a “Nakba commemoration” to “learn more about the Nakba — ‘catastrophe’ in Arabic — through artwork, videos, photos and conversation with local Palestinians and supporters.”
- On May 20, JVP, alongside the Palestinian Youth Movement, will hold an event titled “Commemorating 75 Years of Nakba: Reclamation and Resistance.”
- JVP has received funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Tides Foundation.
US Campaign for Palestinian Rights
- On May 21, the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Pax Christi USA will hold a film event titled “ NAKBA 75: Remembering the Voices.”
- USCPR has received funding from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
- On May 13, Samidoun held a “Nakba 75 Community Gathering, Rally, and March” in Seattle to “commemorate the 75th anniversary of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine—Al-Nakba— and create a space to channel our grief into action.”
- On May 13, Samidoun held a demonstration in Germany to “commemorate our brave martyrs and to be an echo of the voice of our prisoners and a soul for the captured remains of our martyrs.” According to Samidoun, “All the tragedies experienced by the Palestinian people can be traced back to one point: the day European Zionist militias destroyed our land.”
Amnesty Canada and Alternatives Canada
- Amnesty Canada, Alternatives Canada, and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East endorsed the campaign “Nakba75Action” to “commemorate the Nakba not just on May 15 but in an ongoing campaign for the entire year.”