Seventy-three years after al-Nakba, or “the Catastrophe,” Palestinians and their supporters from all around the world took to the streets to stand with the Palestinian resistance to Israeli apartheid, demand an end to U.S. aid to Israel and called for support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.
As many as 100,000 people in the U.S. attended solidarity actions throughout the week and on Saturday, May 15–Nakba Day—and May 16, too. Liberation News was there.
As many as 50,000 people marched through the streets of Brooklyn during a demonstration called by the NY 4 Palestine Coalition on Nakba Day. The action was well received by enthusiastic workers and storekeepers, who played Palestinian national songs as the march passed by.
Another rally that was held on May 11 drew a crowd of 5,000 to the Israeli Consulate in Midtown Manhattan. “The genocide of Palestine is ongoing. It’s been going on for 73 years, and we will be the ones to end it. But the only way to do so is [to] get organized, stay organized, and fight for Palestine–not just today, but every single day!” Nerdeen Kiswani of Within Our Lifetime said to the crowd.
A 20,000 person march made its way through the streets of Los Angeles on Nakba Day. The action was organized by American Muslims for Palestine, Palestinian Youth Movement, Palestinian American Women’s Association, Al-Awda The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Free Democratic Palestine movement, Yalla Indivisible, US Palestinian Community Network, ANSWER Coalition, Black Lives Matter, and Jewish Voice for Peace.
Selene from Palestinian Youth Movement pointed out that, “For too long, we know that Western governments have played an active role in the perpetuation of military occupation and ethnic cleansing of our people. The U.S. government provides more than 3.8 billion Dollars in direct military aid to the Zionists. The U.S. Government continues to provide diplomatic cover for Zionist crimes and actively works to clamp down on proponents of Palestinian rights and freedom from government repression, anti-BDS measures, and the conflation of anti-Zionism with antisemitism.”
Shareef, a Palestinian American, told Liberation, “People have a right to resist. It’s in the UN Charter. People who are occupied have a right to resist, and Israel does not have a right to bomb civilians.”
A march was held in Chicago on March 16 to commemorate Nakba Day with over 25,000 people in attendance.
Nearly 4,000 people also gathered for a march and rally on May 12 in Chicago that was organized by the Coalition for Justice in Palestine. The multinational, multigenerational crowd marched through downtown Chicago to the Israeli consulate where they chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”
A Nakba Day march, rally, and mural painting event held by the Palestine Action Network in San Francisco drew nearly 10,000 participants. Thousands of people marched past the community mural site that has “WE WILL RETURN” written in Arabic and English.
As many as 5,000 people gathered for a rally and march organized by Falastiniyat. Nada Elia, scholar, activist, and member of the Palestinian Feminist Collective, spoke about the guarded optimism she feels despite the pain and suffering the Palestinian people: “Our circumstances are difficult, but we are rising up together, from the river not only to the sea but the to heart of empire.” Elia spoke of how Palestinians in Palestine say “We will not leave,” and Palestinians who have been made refugees in other lands say, “We will return.”
Some 3,000 marchers took to the streets of Atlanta on Nakba Day to demand that the U.S. end all aid to Israel, in an action called by the Palestinian Youth Movement. The Palestine march merged with a rally for Justice for Jabril Robinson.
Robinson’s family chanted, “Free Palestine” and Palestinians chanted Jabril Robinson’s name. The same police department that killed Jabril received training from Israel through the GILEE program.
Approximately 3,000 people gathered for a rally and march from Copley Square to the Israeli Consulate in Boston on Nakba Day. SJP chapters from several colleges, the Harvard Palestinian Solidarity Committee, the Palestinian House of New England, JVP Boston, ANSWER Coalition Boston, and other organizations co-sponsored the action.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Some 3,000 community members of Triangle, North Carolina came out to an action organized by ANSWER Coalition and Muslims for Social Justice with 30 co-sponsors. The rally and march took place May 15.
A rally in Cleveland that was co-sponsored by Al-Awda, Cleveland Peace Action, and PSL Northeast Ohio drew a crowd of around 2,000 on May 14.
“Palestinians have a right to resist; the Palestinians have a right to defend their homeland; the Palestinians have a right to defend Al-Aqsa; they have a right to defend their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, because nobody is doing anything about it. Don’t be ashamed of that ever,” Abbas Hamideh of Al-Awda told the crowd.
A thousand members of the Dearborn community came out for a May 15 march and rally organized by Palestinian Youth Movement Detroit and endorsed by PSL Detroit. Speakers at the rally denounced Israel as a tool of U.S. imperialism and linked the Palestinian struggle against Israeli terror to the struggles of oppressed people worldwide, including African Americans.
On May 14, around 1,000 people from across Colorado convened at the state capitol building and led a rally and march demanding freedom for Palestine. The march wound through downtown Denver and ended with a spirited rally and prayer. The event was co-sponsored by a number of groups including the Colorado Palestine Club, ANSWER Coalition, Friends of Sabeel, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Nearly a thousand people gathered in St. Louis for a march organized by St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, Progressive Jews of St. Louis, Uhuru Solidarity Movement, and Universal African Peoples Organization. The Nakba Day action followed a vigil that took place the night before.
Over 700 people rallied and marched through Balboa Park in San Diego on Nakba Day. The action was organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement and co-sponsored by PSL, Karama, Free Democratic Palestine Movement, Anakbayan, Union del Barrio, SJP at UCSD and SDSU, JVP, and many other community organizations.
In a passionate speech, Reem Zubaidi of PSL San Diego highlighted the resistance of Palestinian communities: “We have witnessed the courageous families of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan continue to organize against the theft of their homes via state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing by Zionist colonist organizations who march through the streets of Jerusalem chanting ‘Death to Arabs.’”
About 600 people marched through downtown New Orleans on Nakba Day, ending with a rally on the Mississippi River.
“[Corporate media] will never show our victories, they want us to feel defeated but that is not the case,” Christina Tareq of New Orleans People’s Assembly told the crowd.
Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island School of Design Students for Justice in Palestine, Brown Students for Justice in Palestine, Reclaim Rhode Island, DSA, PSL, Providence Sunrise Movement, ANSWER, BLM RI PAC, and Showing Up for Racial Justice RI held a 500 person Nakba Day demonstration in Providence. In a speech, Aya Ghanameh, Palestinian organizer with RISD SJP said, “It is not a conflict, it is genocide. Zionism is genocide. Zionism is racism. Zionism is violence.”
Andira Ture an organizer with PSL expressed solidarity: “Let us be clear, the resistance of Palestinian people is a right to struggle for land and national liberation.”
A coalition composed of over 50 Connecticut-based peace and justice organizations put together a 500 person demonstration in Hartford on May 16. The crowd marched from the Ribicoff Federal Building in Downtown Hartford to the Connecticut State Capitol.
During a speech, Connecticut activist Basel al-Najjar said, “The people in Palestine need our push to keep going. Do not give up on the people of Palestine because we will see a free Palestine. We are a movement so don’t let your voice die right now. It is not a matter of if Palestine will be free but when Palestine will be free!”
400 people descended upon the sunrise sculpture at 800 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Milwaukee on May 12, waving Palestinian flags. As the crowd grew, chants of “Free free Palestine!” rang out. The event was organized by Students for Justice for Palestine at Marquette University and UW-Milwaukee and endorsed by PSL Milwaukee.
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was the site of a 400 person rally in Indianapolis on Nakba Day. Participants heard speeches from organizers in the Butler and IUPUI Students for Justice in Palestine, Movimiento Cosecha Indiana and Indiana Undocumented Youth Alliance, Indy10 Black Lives Matter, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Jewish Voice for Peace before marching around Monument Circle to the Indiana State House. The event concluded at Monument Circle.
Memphis Voices For Palestine organized a 400 person march on Nakba Day. Participants marched from City Hall to the National Civil Rights Museum.
Syracuse, New York
The Islamic Society of Central New York hosted a 300 person march around the Federal Building in Syracuse on Nakba Day. The event was high-energy with a strong youth presence.
ANSWER, Pittsburgh BDS Coalition, Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee, Friends of Sabeel – North America, Christian Alliance for Peace, Allegheny Green Party, New Afrikan Independence Party, Western PA Unemployed Councils, and Pittsburgh Anti-Imperialist League organized a 125 person rally and march.
“Donald Trump moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and Joe Biden kept it there…U.S. imperialism transcends partisan politics,” Brian Gonnella of the PSL said in a speech.
Ithaca, New York
Students for Justice in Palestine, Cornell Arab Student Association, and Muslim Education and Cultural Association organized a 400 person Nakba Day march at Cornell University. “Palestinian resistance in East Jerusalem and Gaza and elsewhere throughout their land, and among all the refugees elsewhere, is truly a testament to the human capacity to struggle for freedom, justice, dignity—simply a decent human life,” said Mona Sulzman of PSL Finger Lakes and JVP.
Over 100 people also gathered for a “Tompkins County Protest Against US-Israeli Racist Violence” on May 16. Co-sponsors included Ithaca Committee for Justice in Palestine, Ithaca Jewish Voice for Peace, CODEPINK, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Congregation Tikkun v’Or Committee for Justice in Israel/Palestine, Cornell Muslim Life, VFP Ithaca, Interfaith Veterans Fellowship of Reconciliation, Finger Lakes Veterans Peace Coalition, Ithaca DSA, PSL Finger Lakes, and other organizations.
Palestinian high school and college student speakers talked about Palestinian resistance and the importance of rallies like this to demonstrate international solidarity with the Palestinian people. Code Pink National co-director Ariel Gold and her 18 year-old daughter spoke out against apartheid: “As an American Jew, I say, not in my name.”
Albany, New York
ANSWER Coalition, Palestine Rights Committee – Upper Hudson Peace Action, and Jewish Voice for Peace held a rally in Albany on Nakba Day. 150 people gathered, including several local Palestinian families.
New Paltz, New York
A vigil organized by New Paltz Women in Black with support from Middle East Crisis Response, Jewish Voice for Peace, and Veterans for Peace drew around 100 people on Nakba Day. The event was met with a positive response from tourists and community members.
Actions also took place in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Tri-Cities, Washington; Anchorage, Alaska; Arcata and Eureka, California and elsewhere.