Milwaukee, WI – june 15 marked the 74th anniversary of the Nakba, the day that Zionist paramilitaries began the violent removal of Palestinians from a majority of their historic homeland. Various organizations in Milwaukee, led primarily by American Muslims for Palestine and Students for Justice in Palestine, hosted a rally near the lakefront downtown to commemorate the tragedy that drew over 100 people. The event was co-sponsored by a variety of faith-based organizations representing Muslims, Christians and Jews.
The speakers also used the time to condemn the Israeli Defense Forces assassination of prominent Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and to call on legislators to end U.S. support for Israeli war crimes. Many of the faith leaders made appeals to the people who follow their respective religions to practice what they preach and stand up for justice.
Leaders from the Milwaukee branch of Jewish Voice for Peace condemned the complicity of some members of the local Jewish community, particularly highlighting the fact that many choose to celebrate the Nakba as “Israeli Independence Day.”
“We know that American Jewish support is the backbone of U.S. support for the criminal, racist, apartheid state of Israel, and without it, Palestine liberation would be closer to reality,” said Lorraine Halinka Malcoe, co-founder of Milwaukee JVP.
Janan Nejeeb of the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition gave an impassioned speech uplifting the role of struggle. “Palestine will be free because we have generation after generation that has not forgotten and will never forget,” said Nejeeb. “And to those who are celebrating the racism and the brutality of Israel over on the North Side, we want you to know that Palestine will be free and that we grow like seeds!”
Since the wave of mass actions around the Palestinian struggle in the spring and early summer of 2021, the local branches of both American Muslims for Palestine and Students for Justice in Palestine have been revitalized. Within the last several weeks, the SJP chapter at Marquette University was successful in getting the student government to pass a resolution endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction campaign. The students continue their work to get the university to remove all Israeli products from campus, starting with Sabra hummus.
Like all other things, the movement for justice in Palestine has expanded as the contradictions in the whole system become sharper. More and more people now than ever before are standing up and joining the fight to free Palestine and end Israeli apartheid.