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Minnesota marks 67th anniversary of Al-Nakba

By Meredith Aby-Keirstead |
May 17, 2015
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 Minneapolis marks Al-Nakba, stands in solidarity with Palestine.
Minneapolis marks Al-Nakba, stands in solidarity with Palestine. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - Over 50 protesters picketed in front of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office, May 15, and then marched across 35W to the Minneapolis West Bank neighborhood to commemorate Al-Nakba, which means the catastrophe in Arabic.

Jess Sundin, a member of the Anti-War Committee, explained why they organized the protest, “May 15, 1948, marked the end of British Mandate over Palestine and the establishment of the state of Israel on Palestinian land. During the 1948 war, at least 750,000 Palestinian men, women and children were ruthlessly attacked, massacred and driven from their homes and have never been allowed to return, in violation of international law. From 1948 through 2013, Israel had received $233.7 billion in U.S. aid, which is used to occupy Palestine. That number compounds every day, as 2015 marks 67 years of U.S.-backed Israeli occupation. We organized this protest to show our solidarity with Palestine and to say no to U.S. aid to Israel.”

Karmel Sabri, a member of the Anti-War Committee, opened the rally and thanked people for coming out. She reminded everyone that protesting in the streets will be the key strategy to ending U.S. aid to Israel.

Ilana Grossoff, the Midwest organizer for Jewish Voices for Peace, was the second speaker. She spoke to the crowd before the march about why she remembers the Nakba, “We remember the Nakba because never again means never again for anyone. When those who carry out atrocities against Palestinians or raise fears about being attacked to justify preemptive war do so in the name of the safety of Jews, they often invoke the memory of those who died in the Nazi Holocaust to say never again will we accept such horror to be committed against people. But the Nazi Holocaust cannot be cover for human rights violations of Palestinians. We know that never again means never again for anyone.”

The crowd took to the street following Sabry Wazwaz, who led chants. Protesters marched past thousands of people to the plaza in front of the May Day Bookstore on the West Bank of Minneapolis.

At May Day Plaza, Mick Kelly spoke for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression about Rasmea Odeh’s case, a Palestinian leader from the Chicago area who is appealing her unjust conviction. He urged supporters to mobilize for her appeal in Cincinnati in September.

Then Anti-War Committee members performed a skit which highlighted to the crowd the importance of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement and called on the audience to join the U.S. Palestinian Community Network’s boycott of Coca-Cola for its theft of Palestinian land.

The action in Minneapolis was a part of a broader call for Al-Nakba anniversary protests to demand a free Palestine. Aljazeera reports that Palestinians protested in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza to mark the anniversary. Al-Nakba protests also took place in the U.S. in Salt Lake City and Milwaukee.