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FREE WEBINAR – Canadians in 1948 Palestine: Local Responsibility for the Nakba
May 10, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm EDTFree
Recent images from the Gaza Strip–at once heart-wrenching and inspiring–are a powerful reminder that seventy years later, the Palestinian refugee crisis grinds on. But what of the origins of this crisis?
The mass expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 can no longer be denied. But while the facts are more and more widely acknowledged, even in Israel, in Canada the discussion lags behind. Hundreds of Canadians travelled to Palestine in 1948 to fight for the Zionist armed forces. The evidence suggests that some of them were involved in grievous human rights abuses, including the massacre of Palestinian civilians. The evidence–from both Palestinian testimony and declassified Israeli archives–is in fact overwhelming.
An honest discussion of this history is long overdue.
This local burden of responsibility should inform our commemoration of 1948. Some in Canada are adding insult to injury by continuing to bury this history while celebrating seventy years since Israel’s establishment. But the 1948 expulsion of Palestine’s native population, which paved the way for Israel’s development, was indeed a nakba (catastrophe).
*Dan Freeman-Maloy is a researcher and activist based in Montreal. He holds a PhD from the University of Exeter and has written for publications ranging from Mondoweiss to Race & Class and the Journal of Palestine Studies. His work on Western involvement in the Palestine war of 1948 is based on research conducted in Britain, Canada, and Palestine/Israel, including in the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem.