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Israel Penalizing Nakba Commemoration: One More Step Down the Path of Apartheid PDF Print E-mail
Mar 03, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Badil Resource Center [3 March 2010]

The Israeli parliamentary Law Committee has recently approved a law proposal the (“Nakba bill”) that, if passed by the Knesset, would impose economic sanctions on the organizers of Nakba commemorations. Every year in May, Palestinians and supporters of their right of return commemorate the Nakba of 1948, which marks the single most traumatic and far-reaching event in the long and ongoing process of forced displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian people by the state of Israel. Nakba commemorations are important events in Israel, where some 335,000 Palestinians, citizens of Israel, continue to be denied their right to return to their homes, lands and communities, and are forced to live as internally displaced persons within their own country.

Palestinian citizens of Israel have experienced the Nakba (an Arabic word meaning catastrophe) not only in 1948 but every day since then. The “ongoing Nakba” is caused by Israel's system of institutionalized racial discrimination which is composed of laws, policies and practices that have resulted in second-class citizen status of Palestinians, more land confiscation, discriminatory development planning, segregation of Palestinian communities, home demolitions and forced evictions, in order to ensure Jewish privilege and domination. Forcible displacement of Palestinian citizens continues as result, in particular in the Naqab (Negev), the Galilee and in towns with a 'mixed' Jewish and Palestinian population. Every aspect of Palestinian citizens’ life is affected by Israel's system of institutionalized racial discrimination, including an education system that has worked to deprive Palestinian students of knowledge of their history and identity.

The proposed “Nakba bill” forbids government-supported organizations from spending money on activities that commemorate the Nakba, and will deduct as much as ten times the amount of money they spent on such activities from their budget. In effect, the bill requires that Palestinian citizens of Israel deny their history and identity, and identify with “Zionist values” that negate their Palestinian national identity. It requires that Palestinians sanction their own historical dispossession and accept their current status as second-class citizens in the “Jewish state” and their detachment from the Palestinian people.

The Knesset prepares to discuss the Nakba bill at a time when it has already passed another law that declares all Jews who have immigrated to Israel from Arab countries to be refugees. This law, similar to an earlier resolution passed by the U.S. Congress, was passed in an attempt to cloud and undermine the quest for rights-based solutions for the Palestinian refugees. It aims to distract from the fact that the individual and collective rights of refugees are not a matter of a trade-off but to be examined on the merits of each case. As with all refugees, including Palestinian refugees, Jewish persons who are refugees under international law, must not be denied their right to return to their places of origin.

In the 62nd year of the Palestinian Nakba, BADIL calls upon the international community to condemn Israel's Nakba bill and to hold Israel accountable to its obligations under international law, including its obligation to respect, protect and promote the right of all displaced Palestinians to return to their homes of origin as part of reparations.
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Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians slams Canadian Jewish Congress exclusion

PRESS  RELEASE          For immediate Release            2007-07-03
 
The Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians responded today, to the decision by the Canadian Jewish Congress to deny membership to the progressive Jewish group. The CJC issued a letter which gave no reason for its decision.

“The decision by the Canadian Jewish Congress to exclude the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians illustrates the sectarian orientation of the forces controlling that organization,” declared ACJC Administrative Secretary Abraham Weizfeld. “The rejection of our application to become a member of the Canadian Jewish Congress and the refusal seat our delegates at the CJC Plenary on June 17th amounts to a refusal to acknowledge growing Jewish opposition to the Israeli occupation and siege of the Palestinian territories.”

“CJC’s refusal to include all tendencies in the Jewish community should be seen as a futile attempt to marginalize growing Jewish opposition to Israel’s behaviour and to the exclusive character of the Israel State,” Weizfeld continued.

 He contended that this refusal also motivated the decision by the June 17 plenary of the Canadian Jewish Congress to annul the process of conducting elections to the Board of Directors. As a result of this decision, the Board will now have 25% of its seats reserved for the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy which controls the CJC funding agency, the United Jewish Appeal. Weizfeld explained that these organizations provide unquestioning support to Israel, regardless of what it does.

The resulting vote on a resolution to amend the CJC constitution with regard to election of officers may not have passed if the Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians’ delegates had been included.

“We do not share in the uncritical support for Israel,” Weizfeld stated. “It is our position that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, which began in 1967, must end immediately. This is the view that the ACJC wanted to bring to the Canadian Jewish Congress and that the CJC leadership was determined to ignore.” The refusal to hear our independent voice is proof that the CJC is not a body representative of diverse currents in Canada's Jewish population.

“It is essential that Israel and the Palestinians – including the duly elected Prime Minister Haniyeh – begin negotiations to conclude a lasting peace without prior conditions from either side. Only this approach can put an end to this ongoing tragedy for both the Palestinian and Israeli communities,” he concluded.

Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians
Alliance de Canadien/nes juif/ves concerné/es
68, av. Duluth est
Montréal QC H2W 1G8 Canada
(514) 284-6642

ACJC2006@yahoo.ca
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ACJC2006

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