#Nakba75: Ben-Gurion to Ben-Gvir: Ongoing Nakba, Ongoing Resistance
On this earth there is what deserves living for: April's hesitancy, the smell of bread, …the beginning of love, grass on a stone, …and the conquerors’ dread of memories.
- Mahmoud Darwish
Even 75 years after the destruction of the Palestinian homeland and the ethnic cleansing of most of the Indigenous people of Palestine by Zionist militias and later the Israeli military, and despite the ongoing Nakba, especially the rolling massacres in Gaza, on this earth there is much that “deserves living for.” The promise of freedom; of justice; of refugees’ return to their lands; of self-determination; of our people’s reunion; and of the smell of fresh taboon bread in the beautiful Palestinian mornings, untainted by the miseries of relentless mournings over our martyrs and stolen land, are all well worth living for.
Many around the world are witnessing the slaughter of entire families in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, including the intentional murder of our children in their sleep, again. Weeks ago, they witnessed Israel’s latest pogrom by fascist Jewish-Israeli militias against Palestinians in Huwara near Nablus in the occupied Palestinian territory. Many have witnessed senior Israeli government minister, Bezalel Smotrich, a self-declared “fascist,” inciting to state terrorism by saying, “I think Huwara needs to be erased. The state should be the one to do that.” Many may have seen the savage violence unleashed repeatedly by Israeli forces and fascist fundamentalist settlers against Muslim and Christian Palestinian worshippers and holy places. But many may forget that acts of “incremental genocide” against Palestinians, including pogroms, massacres, siege and other forms of extreme colonial violence, are as Israeli as the flag.
Labor Party leader Matan Vilnai in 2008 threatened Palestinians with “a bigger Holocaust” if resistance groups did not stop their armed retaliation to Israel’s criminal siege and violent attacks on Gaza. A recent error by Israel’s censors has accidentally revealed secret documents exposing Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion’s championing of “wiping out” Palestinian villages during the 1948 Nakba, with a minister in his first government admitting, “Let us say that instances of rape occurred in [the ethnically cleansed Palestinian city] Ramle. I can forgive instances of rape, but I will not forgive other acts,” such as forcibly removing “jewelry from women.” Ben-Gurion, whose guiding principle was maximum land with minimum Palestinian-Arabs, has led the planned campaign of ethnic cleansing of a majority of the Indigenous Palestinians, a crime against humanity that the current far-right Israeli “national security” minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was convicted for supporting terrorism, could only dream of perpetrating. From Ben-Gurion to Ben-Gvir, the Nakba continues.
Still, Israel’s new far-right government is the most racist, fundamentalist, corrupt, authoritarian, sexist and homophobic ever—without masks. It constitutes an escalation in Israel’s ongoing regime of colonial oppression against Indigenous Palestinians that has existed since the creation of Israel as a settler-colony in Palestine. It simultaneously presents a potentially irreversible rupture with the status quo in its far-reaching plans for judicial, social and cultural “reforms” affecting Jewish Israeli society. Already Moody’s has downgraded Israel’s credit outlook, following months of economic instability, unprecedented upheaval in the prized high-tech sector and an accelerating capital flight. This provides advocates of Palestinian rights worldwide, particularly in the BDS movement, an even more urgent responsibility and an opportunity that is unprecedented in 75 years.
Opportunities alone, though, do not lead to change; they only provide the fertile ground for it. The anti-racist BDS movement, led by the largest Palestinian coalition ever, provides the most effective form of solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle. After 75 years of settler-colonialism and apartheid, and facing an Israeli government that has shed all masks, we demand international recognition of the fact that Israel’s regime of oppression constitutes apartheid, as well as an end to state, corporate and institutional complicity in it as a fulfillment of legal duties and a moral obligation to do no harm. This is a prerequisite of solidarity, not charity.
We call on our partners worldwide to use this unprecedented opportunity to build people’s power. This demands two parallel tracks:
Broadening our principled, intersectional coalitions to grow our cultural, academic, sports and economic boycott and divestment campaigns, and to push in the mainstream, including the UN, the obligation to impose targeted, lawful sanctions to dismantle Israeli apartheid, just as South African apartheid was abolished; and
Forming new tactical alliances with many new critics of the far-right Israeli regime with whom we may not agree on many things except the necessity of meaningful pressure on the Israeli government. This entails at the very least cutting military-security trade and military funding, as the case may be; banning settlement goods; and divestment from Israel Bonds and from corporations and banks that bankroll this regime.
As the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish says, the colonizing conquerors’ dread of memories, the memories of the dispossessed, displaced, and colonized Indigenous people, is also a source of hope. It reminds us at the darkest hour of their oppression that despite their might, we can and shall prevail. They are not just morally bankrupt; they dread our resilience, our resistance, our sumud [steadfastness], and our fertile memories of their settler-colonial conquest and apartheid regime, as well as of the beauty, dignity and love that preceded it and that will undoubtedly come after dismantling it.