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Thousands commemorate 75th anniversary of the Nakba in London and Manchester rallies

by Ben Chacko and Peter Lazenby

THOUSANDS marched in solidarity with Palestine at the weekend to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba — when over 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their homes as the state of Israel was established.

Quoting Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion — who said of the expelled Palestinians that “the old will die, and the young will forget” — Stop the War’s Lindsey German said: “The young haven’t forgotten. We’ve had 75 years of resistance to the Nakba.”

But the situation was worsening, she warned the crowds outside Downing Street yesterday: “The Israeli government is waging war on Palestinians. This year practically every day somebody has died, either at the hands of Israeli soldiers or Israeli settlers.”

Unite’s Simon Dubbins said the union’s members “in HSBC, Sainsbury’s, Barclays, HP and elsewhere” were actively building the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign, now threatened with a Tory ban. 

“Is it right to condemn Russia and take action against the war and occupation of Ukraine? Then how the hell can it be right to support the illegal occupation of Palestine?” he demanded, as the crowd’s sea of Palestinian flags contrasted with the flag of Ukraine flying from government buildings on Whitehall.

“We fully recognise the apartheid nature of the Israeli state and call on everyone to build the BDS campaign and end Israeli apartheid once and for all,” he said to cheers. 

Labour’s John McDonnell, in what he termed a “report from the parliamentary wing of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign,” promised to do everything possible to block anti-BDS legislation in Parliament, while Jeremy Corbyn, speakers from the UCU and NEU unions, Jewish Voice for Labour’s Glyn Secker, Friends of al-Aqsa, CND and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign were among those addressing the crowds.

Manchester Palestine Action’s Adie Mormech told a crowd of 500 in the north-west city today that Palestinians were now “coming together in resistance.

“I have come back from Leicester where for 10 days Palestine supporters put an Israeli arms factory under siege,” he said. Police had broken the siege and there were arrests.

“You know when the state starts coming for you, you are being effective.”

Fourteen campaigning organisations in Manchester united to stage the march and rally.
 

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