4 Jews Talk About the Palestinian Nakba on Israeli Independence Day [Video]

Today on the Israeli calendar is Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. But to Palestinians, it is known as al-Nakba, the catastrophe. Here, four Jews reflect on learning about the Nakba.




Rebecca Vilkomerson: I first learned about the Nakba actually at a JVP retreat. My first two reactions were: first shock and second embarrassment that I knew so little about the actual history of the founding of Israel.

MJ Edery: When I first learned about the Nakba, I felt angry I felt devastated, I felt sad, but most of all I felt moved to take action.

Rabbi Alissa Wise: It took me a while to understand that the history of the Nakba is part of Jewish history. And it’s our responsibility as Jews to understand what happened leading up to and in 1948.

Dorothy Zellner: I don’t see any going back to social justice I don’t see any increased consciousness without going to the central issue which is do the Palestinians have a right to their own home? That’s the issue: why can’t they come home? They need to come home.

MJ: When people talk about the Nakba, they’re able to address historical trauma and understand how the Nakba also relates to what’s happening in Palestine today.

Alissa: I find meaning from the painful history of the Nakba as part of Jewish history by dedicating my life as a rabbi to educating Jewish communities and supporting Jews to act in accordance with their values to realize justice for Israelis and Palestinians.

MJ: What changed for me when I learned about the Nakba is I wanted to deeply interrogate my family history and learn more about their experience as Moroccan Jews arriving in Israel. That’s when I learned that Israel also committed violence against my family.

Rebecca: When we grapple with the Nakba as Jews I think we have a better understanding of our own history and our own place in the world and it’s the only thing that will enable us to create a vision of the world to come that we want to see: one with justice.

Dorothy: Underneath it all we know it’s wrong. It’s wrong what Israel is doing. And when people try to justify an essential injustice, they become corrupt. And that’s what’s happening to us we’re becoming corrupt. So we have to stand up whatever it takes we have to stand up.



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