As Israel recently celebrated its 70th year since its creation, the Palestinian people are commemorating the 70th year of the Nakba (the catastrophe). During Israel’s establishment (1947-1949), 750,000 Palestinian were expelled from their lands and their homes.
We at Jews Say No! began thinking about what we could do to bring this issue more centrally into our communities. We also knew some about the role of the Jewish National Fund in facilitating the dispossession of Palestinians from their homes and land and wanted to explore that more deeply. We spent some months researching the issue and coming across some powerful articles, visuals, testimonies, and other resources, many of which we (the editors) incorporated into our issue. We also wanted to highlight a number of books and resources as well as organizations–like BADIL and Zochrot–doing amazing work around the Nakba and rights of refugees.
Our hope was that the more we expose the truths of the Nakba within our communities, the more our communities will grapple with that truth and act accordingly.
The title–Moving Forward–was also a call for Jewish periodicals to “move forward” by highlighting and centering the Nakba, both historical and ongoing, and to think about how we can be accountable partners in the global call for justice.
According to Alan Levine, one of the editors of Moving Forward, “Those of us growing up in Jewish communities in the US typically heard the story of Israel’s creation without any mention of its consequences on the indigenous people living there–the Palestinians. We wanted to make visible this story, which for far too long has gone untold or has been distorted in our communities, and to grapple with the history and its implications for today.”
“Our goal was to have a publication that not only addresses the Nakba, but also examines the role of a major Jewish institution, the Jewish National Fund, in facilitating the Nakba,” said Jane Hirschmann, another editor. “So many of us grew up putting coins into the JNF’s blue boxes placed in Jewish community spaces and in our homes. What we didn’t learn were the ways in which the money in those boxes was used to destroy people’s homes, their land, and the environment.”
Moving Forward includes articles, educational materials, and visuals that tell the story of the Nakba and considers how we, as members of Jewish communities, need to move forward in reckoning with the Nakba and its consequences.
“The Nakba officially took place in 1948 but, in fact, it is an ongoing process as the State of Israel, with the assistance of the JNF, continues to steal land and destroy homes belonging to Palestinians,” added Nina Felshin, one of Moving Forward’s editors.
The online special issue is sponsored by Jews Say No!, an organization devoted to “making our voices heard in Jewish communities in the U.S. and as partners in the broader movement for justice and dignity in Palestine and Israel.”
Moving Forward can be found here.