Israelis Defy Nakba Law on Independence Day

17 May 2011

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On May 9th, Israelis poured onto the streets to celebrate the 63rd year of Israeli Independence. Weeks earlier, at the end of March the Israeli parliament passed the controversial Nakba Law, part of numerous laws termed as anti-democratic by the association for civil rights in Israel. This law bans the mourning of the Nakba, which Palestinians commemorate to mark their expulsion from Palestine during the 1948 war. 

The Nakba means "catastrophe" in arabic and refers to the war of 1948 when two thirds of the palestinian population became refugees. Many still hold the keys to their original homes, but to this day they are not allowed to return. Today millions of Palestinians live in refugee camps throughout the Arab world.

The Nakba Law is an attempt to erase from history, the unjust expulsion of Palestinians from their homes.

In protest, an Israeli organization named Zochrot (Hebrew, feminine “we remember”) decided to do defy the law by posting a sign describing the law in German in the heart of Tel Aviv during independence day celebrations.

Eitan Bronstein, Founder of Zochrot, explains that the Nakba undermines the justification for the Jewish State as a place only for Jews. To maintain the arguments for the creation of the Jewish State, the Nakba must be hidden away he argues. "Once you reveal it, it really undermines these justifications"  for an Israeli state.

Editor's Note: Thirteen pro-Palestinian demonstrators were killed by Israeli troops during Nakba day rallies on 15 May 2011. For footage of the confrontation between pro-Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli troops, please click here.

You might also be interested in this: The UK's "Channel 4" is showing a four-part drama, titled "The Promise." It is the story of 18-year-old Londoner, Erin, who sets off to spend summer in Israel with her best friend, Eliza. She unearths an old diary belonging to her seriously ill grandfather, Len. Erin takes the diary with her, and is stunned to learn of his part in the post-WWII British peace-keeping force in what was then Palestine. Erin witnesses the complexities of life -- for both Jews and Arabs. And as Len's story comes to life from the pages of his diary, Erin discovers the disturbing truths about his time in Palestine and the atrocities he witnessed in the 1940s. Find an interview with Peter Kosminsky, director of 'The Promise', here.

You can find this page online at http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/371.19.

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