Events across the US commemorate Al-Nakba, support Rasmea Odeh

The following articles from Fight Back News highlight events in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, South Florida and Utah, marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba and the occupation of Palestine in 1948, […]

nakbarasmeaThe following articles from Fight Back News highlight events in Minneapolis, Milwaukee, South Florida and Utah, marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba and the occupation of Palestine in 1948, and demanding justice, freedom and an end to the persecution of Rasmea Odeh:

Minneapolis protest marks Al Nakba, demands end to aid to Israel

Drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh

Minneapolis, MN – More than 50 people jointed a protest in front of the Federal Building here, May 15, to mark the 66th anniversary of Al Nakba. Organized by the Twin Cites based Anti-War Committee, the demonstration called for an end of U.S. aid to Israel and for justice for Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh. Al Nakba, Arabic for “the Catastrophe,” marks the Zionist terror that accompanied the mass expulsion of Palestinians from Palestine in 1948 and the founding of Israel.

Emcee Sabry Wazwaz of the Anti-War Committee led the crowd in chanting, “Long live Palestine.” Misty Rowan, also from the Anti-War Committee stated, “So let me just say it loud and clear for everybody here today. Israel is an apartheid state. They discriminate, they abuse, they continue to take land and build illegal settlements and a separation wall – that is supposedly for their own safety but is really just another way to gobble up land.”

Tracy Molm spoke for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. She condemned the government prosecution of the prominent Chicago Palestinian leader Rasmea Odeh on trumped up charges and urged people to come to her June 10 trial in Detroit. Around the U.S., other events marking Al Nakba also demanded justice for Rasmea Odeh.

Sarah Martin, of the Women Against Military Madness Middle East Committee, told the crowd, “It’s time for us to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and demand an end to the occupation. The Zionist project was costly and bloody. It failed. It cannot continue to occupy Palestinian land and deny Palestinians the most basic of human rights, to return and live in their own homes.”

Mariam Al Khatib of Students for Justice in Palestine spoke of the growing movement on campus in support of Palestine.

The Anti War Committee Al Nakba protest was endorsed by American Muslims for Palestine (MN), Freedom Road Socialist Organization, MN Committee to Stop FBI Repression, MN Immigrant Rights Action Committee, MN Peace Action Coalition, Socialist Action, U of M Students for a Democratic Society, U of M Students for Justice in Palestine, Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, Welfare Rights Committee and Women Against Military Madness.

South Florida commemorates Al Nakba, supports Rasmea Odeh

Miami, FL – Anti-war activists, students and Palestinian Americans gathered here to commemorate Al Nakba, which means “the catastrophe.” Al Nakba refers to the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians when they were violently forced off their land by Zionist militia groups in May 1948.

Organizers planned three days of remembering Al Nakba. The first occurred May 15, at Saint Jude Melkite Catholic Church in downtown Miami. 40 people gathered to give personal and historical presentations, share food provided by Al-Awda ( the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition) and read stories of those who experienced forced removal from their homes and land. It was very moving. As one Palestinian speaker explained, “That night I cried too, as I tried to sleep alongside thousands on the ground. Would I ever see my home again?”

The next day, organizers posted on social media sites to defend Rasmea Odeh, an Arab American activist in Chicago being politically targeted by the U.S. government. Although Odeh is charged with immigration fraud, activists around the U.S. say she is being targeted because of her powerful activism for Palestinian liberation, especially concerning women and girls. Across the country, mobilizations are under way for her June 10 court date in Detroit. Supporters can learn more and sign the petition at

On May 17, Palestinian solidarity activists met again to watch the Oscar nominated documentaryFive Broken Cameras. The documentary is told from the perspective of a Palestinian participating in non-violent resistance to the partition wall being built through the land. The U.S. government funds Israel with more than $3 billion per year, while Israel ignores the Obama administration calls to stop building new settlements.

Organizer Cassia Laham, from People’s Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR) said, “It is important to remember that Al Nakba is not just an historical event. It is still ongoing as illegal settlements are continuously being built on Palestinian land. The U.S. government should stop sending our tax dollars to Israeli.”

Activists discussed the current struggle of the Palestinian people, including the growing international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. Muhammed Malik, local Palestinian American organizer and former member of Students for Justice in Palestine at Florida International University, said, “Although the mainstream media doesn’t cover it, activists are constantly winning victories. I am hopeful that we will see justice for the Palestinian people.”

Milwaukee vigil remembers Al Nakba, calls for solidarity with Rasmea Odeh

Milwaukee, WI – Dozens of Palestine solidarity activists gathered on the lakefront here, May 15, during rush hour to commemorate Nakba Day.

Al-Nakba or “The Catastrophe” refers to May 15, 1948, the day after Israeli “Independence Day.” In 1948, 700,000 Palestinians were expelled by Zionist troops under the pretext of establishing a Jewish state of Israel on Palestinian land. 400 Palestinian villages were depopulated and taken over or destroyed by the Israelis, laying the foundation for the continuing occupation of Palestine.

In response to continuing occupation and oppression of Palestinian people by the U.S. and Israel, activists held signs demanding “End U.S. aid to Israel,” and “Drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh!”

Members of the Milwaukee Palestine Solidarity Coalition responded to the national call to action to support Rasmea Odeh, a veteran Palestinian activist. Odeh is a 66-year-old community organizer who has dedicated her life to the empowerment of Palestinians, especially Palestinian women. She is the victim of a U.S. government attack which is intended to jail or deport her for allegedly lying on a 20-year old immigration form. Her trial is set to begin on June 10 in Detroit.

As the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel grows more successful by the day, activists are facing repression from the U.S. government. Activists in Milwaukee say they will continue to win victories for the BDS movement while defending Palestinian community leaders like Rasmea Odeh from political attacks.

Utah Protest of U.S. aid to Israel on Al Nakba

By Ikaika Cox

Salt Lake City, Utah – Students and international solidarity activists held a protest, May 15, to mark the 66th anniversary of Al Nakba. The students called for an end to U.S. aid to Israel and demanded justice for Palestinian American activist Rasmea Odeh. Protesters stood on the corner of the William Bennett Federal Building during rush hour waving signs and holding Palestinian flags. The protest featured speeches by local anti-war, Palestine solidarity and Palestinian activists. The rally, organized by the Utah Valley University Revolutionary Student Union, united groups that want to cut U.S. taxpayer money that goes to war and occupation.

May 1948 marks the Zionist establishment of Israel. For Israelis, it’s a time of celebration. For Palestinians and Arabs it commemorates a time they call Al Nakba – Arabic for “the Catastrophe.” During the 1948 war, at least 750,000 Palestinian men, women and children were ruthlessly attacked, massacred and driven from their homes into refugee camps by Zionist terror groups. In a gross violation of international law, Palestinians continue to be denied the right to return to their own land. At the same time, the establishment of Israeli settlements steals more Palestinian land every day. The U.S. government does nothing to stop it.

Bill VanWagenen, representing The Mormon Worker explains, “Though the Israeli government constantly demands that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, we must of course wonder when Israel will recognize the crimes which allowed the Jewish state to come into existence. Also the crimes Israel has committed since that time to keep the Jewish state in existence that allows it to continue to confiscate and colonize more and more Palestinian land each year.”

After outlining possible ‘solutions’ to the conflict, Utahns for a Just Peace in the Holy Land member Mahan Khalsa said, “Israel will be an apartheid state until 100% of the people have access to 100% of the land. Apartheid is a legal crime against humanity.”

Protesters also demanded justice for Rasmea Odeh, a leader of Chicago’s Arab community who faces serious charges in a case that is part of a long-standing campaign of repression against Palestinians and those who work in solidarity with them. Her case is tied to the FBI and grand jury investigation of the Antiwar 23 and others. Rasmea Odeh’s case is set to come to trial in Detroit on June 10.

Freedom Road Socialist Organization member Chris Manor said, “It’s outrageous that the U.S. government arrested and is prosecuting Rasmea Odeh for refusing to recognize the military occupation of her country. It’s important that people understand what she’s facing. We need to stand in solidarity with Rasmea Odeh as she goes to trial. We need to stop U.S. taxpayer funding of Israeli apartheid.”