Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) is a nonprofit organization that promotes democracy, the rule of law, and human rights for all of the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Organizations Host Historic Event Recognizing the 75th Anniversary of the Nakba, With Prominent Lawmakers, Survivors, and Scholars in Attendance
On May 10, nine organizations including DAWN hosted an educational event on Capitol Hill about the Palestinian Nakba, featuring special guest Representative Rashida Tlaib. Despite efforts by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy to stop the event, more than 150 people crowded into a standing-room only Senate committee room to listen to Nakba survivor testimonies; historians present about the context and history of the events, as well as a review of what U.S. diplomats were reporting in real time in 1948; Palestinians from Gaza and Masafer Yatta share their experiences; and Rep. Tlaib introduce this year's Nakba Resolution.
May 15, 2023, marks the 75th year anniversary of the Nakba—when Zionist militias and the new Israeli military violently expelled approximately three-quarters of all Palestinians from their homes and homeland in what became the state of Israel. To uplift the experiences of Palestinians who underwent the Nakba, and educate Members of Congress and their staff about this history and the ongoing Nakba to which Israel continues to subject Palestinians, DAWN joined partners to co-host a congressional and community educational event; Nakba 75 and the Palestinian People. Hosts of the event included Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action), Project48, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Virginia Coalition for Human Rights (VCHR), Emgage Action, and Jewish Voice for Peace Action (JVP Action).
Read the full statement on behalf of the host organizations below.
"Today, a historic event was held on Capitol Hill to acknowledge the 75th anniversary of the Nakba with special guest Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. Far-right Kevin McCarthy attempted to once again silence Palestinians and our supporters. But we were not silenced. Palestinian American survivors of the Nakba shared their harrowing personal stories from 1948 in the Senate building in an overflowing room, and Rep. Rashida introduced her resolution alongside five cosponsors." Kevin McCarthy has aligned himself with the people who want to ban books and whitewash American history. Denying the truth of what happened to Palestinians denying the documented truth of the Nakba–is racism against Palestinians. Speakers recalled the events of 75 years ago and explained how the events of today must be understood as a continuation; or as Rep. Tlaib said, "The Nakba never ended.
The Nakba has shaped the lives of each and every Palestinian and is the root cause of injustices Palestinains face today. Israel was founded in 1948 by violently expelling 75% of the Palestinian population out of their homes and homeland. Palestinians were massacred, families separated, and hundreds of Palestinian towns were completely destroyed. This wasand continues to be a "catastrophe" for Palestinians, most of whom have never been able to return to their own homes and who continue to face Israeli violence and oppression every day.
The event and Rep. Tlaib's resolution are major milestones that reflect the shift in support for Palestinian rights in this country. To heal from our past, we have to be honest about history. Acknowledging the Nakba is an important step towards freedom and justice for Palestinians.