Cambridge remembers Nakba Day, in solidarity with Rafah!

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Around 200 demonstrators gathered on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus in Cambridge on May 15 to demand an end to the Zionist genocide in Gaza and the liberation of Palestine. Members of the Boston Coalition for Palestine, including the Palestine Youth Movement, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and student organizers at MIT, organized the action to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the Nakba — the 1948 genocidal colonization of Palestine.

Nakba commemoration, Cambridge, Massachusetts, May 15, 2024. WW Photo: Maureen Skehan

During the Nakba, Zionist militias demolished 400 towns and villages, killed at least 15,000 Palestinians, and drove over 750,000 people off their ancestral lands. The land stolen by Zionist settlers in 1947-48 makes up over 70% of the Palestinian territory claimed by the Zionist state today. (tinyurl.com/5ahbkzp4)

When Zionist propagandists celebrate “Israeli Independence Day” in May, they are, in fact, admitting that the establishment of the Israeli state required land theft and ethnic cleansing on a massive scale.

The rally was held at the MIT Palestine solidarity encampment,  which was established to demand that MIT end its extensive ties to weapons and technology industries and divest from the Zionist state. This encampment is one of well over 100 liberated zones activists have established on university campuses worldwide.

Speakers denounce ongoing Gaza genocide 

As speakers at the rally stressed, the Zionist genocide begun by the 1948 Nakba has escalated to an unprecedented degree. Since October 7, Zionist forces have murdered over 36,000 Palestinian men, women and children. Thousands more people remain buried under rubble, and that death toll, as unthinkable as it already is, will continue to rise.

In May, occupation forces began their murderous assault on the city of Rafah on the southern border of the Gaza Strip, where almost 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering. Many of them were displaced by prior Zionist ethnic cleansing operations starting in October. In the past week, almost 800,000 people have fled Rafah, but have nowhere left to go. Zionist forces routinely bomb the areas designated as “safe zones.”  (tinyurl.com/mrfvf2up)

This ongoing genocide in Gaza has also betrayed the weakness of the Zionist settler state and the U.S. empire that supports it. For all their brutality, the occupation forces in Gaza have utterly failed to defeat the Palestinian resistance.

Worldwide, the movement for Palestinian solidarity continues to grow despite an unprecedented crackdown. Across the U.S., police have raided student encampments, detaining and brutalizing hundreds of activists. Last week, Cambridge cops attacked the MIT encampment, arresting 19 students. (tinyurl.com/fd3rfbym)

Opening the rally, Fawaz Abusharkh, a leader of Palestine House of New England, said, “We know history  is on our side.” Addressing the Zionist counterprotesters standing across the street, protected by a police cordon and swaddled in Israeli and American flags, Abusharkh declared that the ruling class failure to suppress the movement for Palestinian liberation “is why they’re going wild and they’re going fascist. Because they know this is the end, and that is what empires do before they fall down.”

Cheers and chants of “Globalize the Intifada!” drowned out the jeering Zionists.

‘Student intifada learns from Palestinians’

An organizer of the Harvard University encampment said: “So long as Palestinians suffer by the actions of the empire we find ourselves in, we will continue to dissent. So long as the Nakba intensifies we will continue to agitate. Our eyes are all on Gaza, and we situate our struggle for liberation not only in the gates of Harvard Yard or MIT but against all walls of oppression we seek to dismantle.

“The student intifada learns from its comrades in Palestine who continue to shake off their oppressors, and the student intifada is here to stay until all shackles are removed!” He pledged that the campaign of repression student activists have experienced will not dampen their commitment to the struggle against the Zionist genocide.

In recent weeks, hundreds of high school students across the U.S., including in Somerville, Massachusetts, have staged mass walkouts in support of Palestine.

Reiterating student and youth support for Palestinian liberation, a Somerville High School student said: “Something needs to change and we all have to speak about this. Throughout history we have seen the strength and effectiveness of student uprisings, and we are here to be part of that change. We have strength in numbers and we will not stop fighting until we see a free Palestine in our lifetime.”

Ahmad Kawash, another leader of Palestine House of New England, emphasized  the gains made in the worldwide struggle for the liberation of Palestine: “From Gaza and Palestine and from the land of Rafah, the resistance is writing the epic of return.” Praising the resurgence of global solidarity, which has confounded Zionist hasbara [propaganda] campaigns, Kawash declared: “The biased media and Zionist propaganda were unable to falsify the facts. All of this made the people see the truth.”

“We’ve got students, workers, and revolutionaries marching side and by side, and we have won the battle of ideas,” a PSL organizer said. “The whole world is on our side and a free Palestine is inevitable!”

Following the rally, demonstrators took over the streets of Cambridge as they marched to the home of MIT’s president, Sally Kornbluth. Many flew Palestinian flags. Crowding the street outside Kornbluth’s mansion, they chanted “We won’t back down!” as they demanded an end to genocide Zionist apartheid and a free Palestine.

Will Hodgkinson

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Will Hodgkinson

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