Reflecting on the ongoing Nakba after 76 years

Fleeing constant bombardment, a doctor – descended from refugees, like most of the population of Gaza – scribbles “remember our names” on a hospital whiteboard. A teenage boy carries his father’s remains in several plastic bags. A mother drags her children in makeshift sleds over kilometres of rubble. 

The Nakba is often understood as an event, one singular catastrophe. But the truth is that the Nakba has never ended, just as the Zionist project has never ceased in its churning violence. The Nakba is many layered catastrophes, unfolding together. 

A six-year-old girl dies alone in her family car, surrounded by Israeli tanks. 

These catastrophes are multiplied as each loss splinters family after family. As each bomb destroys home after home, hospital after hospital, university after university.

In the face of such intense, unrelenting Nakba, how can we look anywhere but towards Palestine?

The Canadian government would rather continue to conflate support for Israel with Judaism, undergo distracting hearings to assess antisemitism (read: anti-Zionism) on campus while implying that support for a genocidal state is a Jewish value.

Canada recognizes Israeli “independence” day and stays silent in the face of the Nakba. It claims to uplift “international law” while excusing Israeli human rights violations at every turn.

At the United Nations, Canada abstained from the vote last week on recognition of Palestine as a member state rather than voting against such resolutions, as has been its usual practice. These indications of a shift in Canadian policy toward Palestine pale in comparison to the myriad ways in which Canada aids and abets Israeli aggression.

This complicity trickles down through organisations like universities, whose investments fund the war machine. It flows from charities supporting Israeli settlers and funding the IDF – charities like Mizrachi Canada, which provides tax receipts to Canadians financing the continued dispossession of Palestinians.

Complicity comes from Zionist organisations like CIJA and B’nai Brith, which seek to defend Israel at every turn, and uplift some of the most reactionary views within the Jewish community. Through Jewish National Fund greenwashing projects and local sales of illegally occupied territory, from Hebrew school Israel advocacy trainings to the mass manufacture of consent for genocide, they are complicit in the ongoing Nakba.

But what also continues, what is growing every day, is resistance to the Nakba. The movement for a free Palestine is reaching a critical mass, with opposition to the genocide in Gaza springing up around the world as millions wake up to the reality Palestinians have weathered for decades.

Students across Canada have taken up the resistance together, with Jewish students at the heart of many encampments across the country. As shabbats for Gaza and solidarity seders bring together Jewish and Palestinian allies, our movement is growing stronger together.

Palestinians in Gaza, in every corner of historical Palestine and throughout the world have been resisting the erasure of their culture, land and lives brought forth by Zionist settler-colonialism. Their resistance is crucial and urgent. Today, as millions throughout the world join Palestinians in their resistance, we have the opportunity to create a peaceful future governed by justice.