Don't ignore al-Nakba: protests against Israel "independence" event

By Rose, ISM London activist

Pro-Palestinian activists gathered outside the institute of Education by Russell Square, London protest the Zionist Federation’s “Israeli Independence” celebrations yesterday.

Approximately 40 protesters gathered to chant slogans and raise their voices in opposition to an event which effectively marks the violent expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in 1948, known to Palestinians as al-Nakba — the Catastrophe in Arabic.

Activists who had managed to enter the building previously, dropped a massive Palestinian flag bearing the words “Free Palestine” from the front of the building. This act was met with raucous cheers and drew attention from the many tourists who were staying at the two large hotels opposite.

One cheeky Zionist attempted to grab the flag down, but activists shouted him down preventing possible criminal damage.

Police and the Institute of Education staff eventually got hold of those who had dropped the lag and ejected them from the building.

Nonetheless, more ISMers snuck back into the building with the flag and this time dropped it from the tower of the building. Police once again were not amused, and neither were the event organisers. However, there were no charges and no one was arrested.

Back at the protest, activists were keen to chant slogans at arriving Zionists, but found their opportunities few and far between. At a venue which has a capacity for over 990 people, the Zionist Federation must have had barely 100 people in attendance.

The celebratory event had been marred first by the Palestinian-Israeli singer, Mira Awad withdrawing from the event having found out what it was for. This was followed by the British X-Factor finalist Stacey Solomon, pulling out after her management were notified of the political nature of the event.

Not wishing their potential star to be associated with ethnic cleansing and racism, it was clear they felt it inappropriate for her to perform.

The Zionist Federation will continue their celebration of apartheid and ethnic cleansing this evening with a party at the proud Galleries in Camden, London. Pro-Palestine groups once again, will be mobilising to oppose this — join us!