May 15th marks the 75 anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic). Nakba Day is observed in Palestine and around the world to commemorate the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians surrounding Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948. Significantly, 2023 will be the first time Nakba Day is officially observed by the United Nations.
The Nakba is not a historical event, but an ongoing process of ethnic cleansing and colonization. The Zionist dream of a “land without a people for a people without a land” was a lie, and a nightmare for Palestinians. We know that there was a people on the land of Palestine – one with a rich history and culture. On the rubble of destroyed villages, Israel built a nation-state based on Jewish supremacy, and a democracy for some, but not for Palestinians.
Much like in 2021, as we approach Nakba Day this year, Israeli war planes are raining missiles down on the besieged and occupied people of Gaza. Dozens of civilians have been killed, including several children. Their lives cannot be taken in vain. It is incumbent on all of us to do everything we can to put an end to these Israeli war crimes.
As Canadian Jews who stand proudly in solidarity with the Palestinian people, we say that 75 years of so-called “Israeli independence” is nothing to celebrate. The Nakba continues today with every Israeli bomb that falls on Gaza, with every journalist killed in the line of duty, with every Palestinian home demolished and with every brutal attack on a place of worship. Enough is enough.
When Palestinians put the call out to take to the streets, we respond. And we stand with them. Over the coming days, Nakba Day events will be happening across Canada. Find the one closest to you. Join a protest. Look out for IJV contingents and help carry a banner or sign. Talk to people in your synagogue, shul, community, union or school and encourage them to come out with you.
We must speak the truth about the Nakba. And we must turn our words into actions. For a free Palestine.
Nakba Day demonstrations and events in Canada
Toronto – May 13, 1:30pm, Younge and Dundas Square
Ottawa – May 13, 2pm, Human Rights Monument
Winnipeg – May 13, 2pm, Memorial Park
Montreal – May 14, 2pm, Israeli Consulate (1 Westmount sq.)
Vancouver – May 14, 1pm, Vancouver Art Gallery
Edmonton – May 14, 4pm, Victoria Park
Kitchener-Waterloo – May 14, 1pm, Waterloo Public Square
St-John’s, NL – May 14, 6pm, Colonial Building
Quebec City – May 15, 11:30am, 65 rue Sainte-Anne
Montreal – May 15, 11:30am, 1000 place Jean-Paul-Riopelle
Toronto – TPFF Nakba Commemoration event, May 15, 5:30pm, Innis Town Hall Theatre
Kingston – May 15, 7pm, Springer Market Square
Saskatoon – May 15, 2pm, Broadway and 10th Street