Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition hosts Nelson Mandela’s grandson at launch of Nakba tour

Sandra Whitehead, Wisconsin Muslim Journal, May 23, 2023

Photos by Mouna Photography

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the grandson of globally respected icon of resistance against injustice Nelson Mandela, meets members of Milwaukee’s Muslim community.

About 40 community and interfaith leaders joined the Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition at the Islamic Resource Center in Greenfield May 15 to welcome the grandson of anti-apartheid activist and South Africa’s first president Nelson Mandela on the launch of his six-city U.S. tour to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland.

Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition president Janan Najeeb (left) welcomes activist and South African parliament member Nkosi Mandela (center) to the Islamic Resource Center in Greenfield.

Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, the South African parliament member and chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, repeated the well-known message of his grandfather: “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians.” In his weeklong U.S. tour, Mandela spoke in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

Following the dinner at the IRC, Mandela began his tour with a speech at Turner Hall in Milwaukee in which he called on the audience to consider what they could do individually and collectively to support the Palestinian cause. He spoke about how the BDS movement (boycott, divestment and sanctions) had been effective in South Africa and would work to liberate Palestinians.

“His message was uplifting,” said MMWC president and IRC director Janan Najeeb. “If it is possible for South Africa to be free after 350 years of colonialism and six decades of apartheid, it is possible for Palestinians to also one day be free.”

 MMWC president Janan Najeeb (left) welcomed community leaders to a reception for South African activist and parliamentarian Nkosi Mandela (right). Haitham Salawah (center) represented the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, which co-sponsored Mandela’s U.S. tour.

Continuing his grandfather’s legacy

Haitham Salawdeh, the U.S. Palestinian Community national treasurer and Milwaukee chapter co-chair, introduced Chief Mandela. The national tour was hosted by the U.S. Palestinian Community Network and the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression. Madison for Palestine was also instrumental in bringing Mandela for this tour.

Salawdeh thanked Mandela for visiting six U.S. cities “to tell the story of our people. Coming from the leadership of anti-apartheid and speaking on the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, your visit here today is historic.”

After thanking USPCN and Madison for Palestine for the invitation, Mandela said, “When the invitation came, I immediately accepted the call to duty.”

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Upcoming Events: May 21-28, 2023

Sunday, May 21: WORT Show Her Turn with Cassandra Dixon
Sunday, May 21: Zoom Film & Talk Back: Two Kids a Day
Tuesday, May 23 – Thursday, May 25: Online: Palestine Digital Activism Forum
Tuesday, May 23: Webinar on Palestinian Children & Families Act
Thursday, May 25: Rev. Don Wagner discusses his book Glory to God in the Lowest: Journeys to an Unholy Land
Friday, May 26: Palestine Partners at The Bodega, Breese Stevens Field
Sunday, May 28: Green Olive & Zochrot present From Nakba to Return


Sunday, May 21:
WORT Radio’s Her Turn interviews Cassandra Dixon
11-11:30 am

Cassandra will be the guest on WORT’s Her Turn, a magazine radio show by and about women. Cassandra will discuss her recent trip to Palestine including the situation on the ground and her assault by Israeli settlers.

Tune in at 89.9 FM or listen live online.

And here’s WORT’s earlier interview with Cassandra and Masafer Yatta activist Ali Awad.

Sunday, May 21:
Film Screening & Talk Back: Two Kids a Day
2-4 pm CT

On average, two Palestinian kids are arrested every night by the Israeli army. They are interrogated, tried, and sent to prison. The film Two Kids a Day describes the use of minors’ arrests to control and repress Palestinian society. Join Churches for Middle East Peace on Sunday May 21st at 12 pm Pacific/ 3 pm Eastern for a virtual screening of the film and a conversation with the film director and co-producer. If you are interested in hosting a satellite screening of this event at your church, contact Jennifer at

More Info and Registration

Tuesday, May 23:
Zoom Webinar on Rep. McCollum’s
Palestinian Children and Families Act, HR 3103
11:00 am Central

HR 3103 aims to prohibit Israel from using our taxes to violate Palestinian human rights. More information about the bill

Join this webinar sponsored by the No Way to Treat a Child campaign and Defense for Children International-Palestine to learn how you can help push this critical bill forward. More information and registration (If you can’t attend but would like to get a recording of the event, please register and it will be sent to you afterwards.)

ALSO NOTE: Rep. Mark Pocan is an original co-sponsor of this act, so if you are a constituent, please consider thanking him.

Tues May 23 – Thurs May 25: Online:
Palestine Digital Activism Forum

A comprehensive three day online conference aiming (1) to develop Palestinian digital activism and create a space for exchange of experiences and expertise with local and international counterparts; (2) to increase awareness among members of the Palestinian public about digital rights issues and challenges; and (3) to increase Palestinian digital rights activists access to local and international power holders to facilitate changes in policies and practices.

Sponsored by 7amleh- Arab Center for Social Media Advancement
More information and registration

Thursday, May 25:
Book Talk and Signing
1301 Regent St, Madison
7 – 9 pm

A free event co-sponsored by MRSCP.
More info and reservation
Review of the book

Friday, May 26:
Palestine Partners
The Bodega, Breese Stevens Field
5-9 pm

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May 16 Capitol Calling Party: Palestine & the Nakba

May 16, 2023 at 7:00pm – 8:00pm (CDT)

On Tuesday, May 16, in honor of the million Palestinians driven from their homes in the 1948 Nakba, CODEPINK Congress invites you to join us as we examine the Palestinian resistance movement 75 years later.

From challenging censorship to organizing campus divest campaigns to expressing solidarity with Palestinians under attack, CODEPINK Congress will offer concrete suggestions for countering the power of the Israel lobby to suppress debate in Congress and educational institutions.

Our conversation will expose the Israel lobby’s intimidation tactics to silence the truth amid increasing Israeli state-enforced violence against Palestinians, including attacks in Gaza that kill entire families in an effort to assassinate resistance leaders. 


Huwaida Arraf is a Palestinian American activist and civil rights attorney who co-founded the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led organization using non-violent protests and international pressure to support Palestinians. In March, Arraf became the target of vicious lies after speaking about anti-Palestinian racism at an event on diversity and equity at a Detroit high school. Her appearance sparked such controversy the school’s principal, as well as the district’s superintendent, resigned! 

Noura Khouri is Palestinian from the Bay Area/Ohlone land and has worked for the past two decades as a human rights activist, campaign strategist and community organizer. She lived in Palestine and Egypt, prior to which she co-led the Middle East Peace Program for the American Friends Service Committee. Noura currently works as a preschool teacher, and serves as an Al-Awda Palestine right to return coalition, national committee member, Green Party delegate and is part of Beloved Community circles – where she conspires to destroy walls, and build bridges of solidarity at the intersections of labor, faith and social justice.

Taher Herzallah is the Director of Outreach & Community Organizing for American Muslims for Palestine (known as AMP). He helps build campus groups and develop AMP chapters across the country. Tahir was one of the ‘Irvine 11,’ a group of students who were prosecuted when they walked out of a speech given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC Irvine in 2010. He was also  arrested at a Senate Hearing for protesting the appointment of David Friedman as US ambassador to Israel in 2017. Tahir received a BA in Political Science from UC Riverside and currently doing a Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Minnesota.


Upcoming Events: May 9-25, 2023

Tuesday, May 9: Online: Nakba 75: Exist, Resist, Return (from UK)
Monday, May 15: Nelson Mandela’s Grandson at Milwaukee Nakba Event
Monday, May 15: WORT Access Hour Show Reflecting on the Nakba
Wednesday, May 17: Online: Knowing the Nakba
Sunday, May 21: WORT Show Her Turn with Cassandra Dixon
Sunday, May 21: Zoom Film & Talk Back: Two Kids a Day
Tuesday, May 23 – Thursday, May 25: Online: Palestine Digital Activism Forum
Thursday, May 25: Rev. Don Wagner discusses his book Glory to God in the Lowest: Journeys to an Unholy Land

Virtual Tour of the Week:
Palestine VR: Masafer Yatta
Take this online tour of 3 villages in Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron Hills. For many years the entire area has been facing demolitions by Israeli authorities as well as constant attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers. Led by local activist Sami Huraini.

Backgrounder of the Week:
The Nakba and Palestinian Refugees: Questions and Answers
from Institute for Middle East Understanding


Tuesday, May 9:
Nakba 75 – Exist, Resist, Return

Online Event from the UK
12:30 pm CT

On May 15th Palestinians across the globe will mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, the process of ethnic cleansing, colonization and dispossession that drove over 750,000 Palestinians into exile and erased more than 500 towns and villages. The Nakba is also marked as a continuing process of ongoing colonization of land, enforcement of apartheid and military occupation.

This online event features Palestinian movement leaders, poets, scholars and activists from across historic Palestine and the diaspora who will share their personal histories and tell how they confront the ongoing Nakba in their life and work. Sponsored by Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

Details and registration

Monday, May 15:
Nelson Mandela’s Grandson at Milwaukee Nakba 75 Event

First stop on a six-city US tour. To reserve space at the Milwaukee event, register (admission is free, but donations are appreciated). More info

NEW: MRSCP is partnering with Building Unity on a “Care-avan” carpool to this event from Madison and Janesville; if you would like to offer a ride or are in need of a ride, please click here then scroll down and fill out the form at the bottom to RSVP and get updated information 

Monday, May 15:
Access Hour, WORT Radio 89.9 FM

7-8 pm

Reflections on the 75th Anniversary of the 1948 Founding of the State of Israel: the Evolution of Modern Political Zionism, the Expulsion or Subjugation of the Palestinians (the ‘Nakba’), and Ramifications Up to the Present Time. More info

Wednesday, May 17:
Knowing the Nakba from the Methodist Federation for Social Action

12 Noon CT Online

The Palestinian Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948 has been called the poisonous root of all that has plagued the Holy Land since that time, with a never-ending impact that pervades the Middle East and the entire world.

We cannot hope to understand the present turmoil in the Holy Land – let alone achieve a just peace for all those who live there – without knowing where and how the conflict began: with the ethnic cleansing of indigenous people from their homeland.

Join us for this unique educational and thought-provoking presentation, with moving recollections from living Nakba survivors, expert historical analysis, and riveting video clips.


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May 25, 2023
Dr. Don Wagner on Palestinian Rights

Leopold’s Books Bar Caffè
1301 Regent Street, Madison
7 – 9 pm

Join us for an intimate interview and book talk about Dr. Wagner’s latest memoir, which details his personal, political, and religious journey from Evangelical Christian faith and conservative politics to solidarity with the poor and advocacy for anti-war, anti-racism, and Palestinian rights.

Desserts will be served; drinks available for purchase. Signed books for purchase will be available at the conclusion of the event.

Admission is free. Reservations are available.

May 15, 2023
Mandela Nakba Day Tour – Milwaukee

NEW: MRSCP is partnering with Building Unity on a “Care-avan” carpool to this event from Madison and Janesville; if you would like to offer a ride or are in need of a ride, please click here then scroll down and fill out the form at the bottom to RSVP and get updated information 

U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) and the
National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR)

Turner Hall
1034 Vel R. Phillips Ave
Milwaukee, WI
6:30 PM – 09:00 PM

2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Nakba (“Catastrophe” in English), when over 750,000 Palestinians were banished from their homes upon the formation of the settler-colonial state of Israel. Today, there are close to five million Palestinian refugees who continue to demand their Right to Return to the homes and lands from which they were exiled.

To commemorate the Nakba, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) and the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR) have arranged a brief U.S. Nakba Day 75 tour, to take place from May 15th – May 20th, featuring Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, elected member of the South African National Assembly representing the African National Congress – and grandson of the late Nelson Mandela – as the tour’s keynote speaker.

Mr. Mandela, also the tribal chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, holds a degree and a post-graduate diploma in Political Science and International Studies from Rhodes University. Unabashed in his support for the Palestinian people, just like his grandfather, he speaks regularly about Palestinian liberation at conferences, rallies, and other events across the world.

Join us at Turner Hall in Milwaukee on the evening of Monday, May 15th, for this historic event!

Be sure to follow USPCN (@uspcn) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and @uspcnmke for updates!

*Please note: We are not charging for admission, but instead asking if our communities would help us support this historic tour with a donation!*

Upcoming Events: April 19 – 28, 2023

Monday, April 17 – Monday, April 24: UW Justice for Palestine Week
Wednesday, April 19: Public Forum on F35 Jet Noise vs Children
Tuesday, April 25: Online Talk: “Apartheid S. Africa! Apartheid Israel!”
Friday, April 28: Annual Middle East Studies Conference at UW-Madison

AND…Article of the Week:
Storytelling and Survival in Gaza: American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) interviews “Light in Gaza” contributor Refaat Alareer.

Monday, April 17 – Monday, April 24
UW-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine Presents

Join us in raising awareness about Isr*el’s ongoing regime of occupation, settler-colonialism, and apartheid, and showing your support and solidarity with Palestine by:

    • Wearing your keffiyehs around campus and Madison all week!

    • 4/17: Learning about the militarization of Palestinian daily life and advocating to stop US aid to Isr*el at the MECHA house

    • 4/18: Displaying the Mock Apartheid Wall at Library Mall

    • 4/19: Supporting the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund by buying a keffiyeh or directly donating here (

    • 4/20: Attending a panel discussion to hear first-hand experiences in the West Bank and ’48 territories at our Justice for Palestine Night
    NOTE: MRSCP Member Cassandra Dixon will be one of the panelists!

    • 4/24: Watching and discussing a film that sheds light on Palestinian struggles at the Marquee

Follow SJP on Instagram (@sjpuwmadison) for more details. We hope to see you at some of the biggest events we have planned for the semester.

In Solidarity,
SJP at UW-Madison     Linktree | Instagram | Facebook

Wednesday, April 19
A free public forum on How Military Jet Noise Impacts Children

United Methodist Church
3705 N. Sherman Avenue, Madison
7 to 9 p.m.


Preview the new Safe Skies Clean Water Coalition video. Participate in a Question & Answer session with experts. Discover how dangerous military jet noise affects children’s development, learning ability, and mental health.

A squadron of nuclear-capable, stealth F-35A fighter jets is expected to roar into Madison within weeks. These planes are 4 times louder than the F-16s they replace.

It’s not too late to take action and try to turn back the F-35s! Plan to attend this event to learn how you can help Protect Our Children.

Public Forum April 19: Protect Our Children From F-35s

Sponsored by the folks at Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin

Tuesday, April 25
Webinar on Israel and South Africa Apartheid

11 am CT
Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) presents a conversation with South African-born Rev. Brian Brown, author of the 2022 book Apartheid South Africa! Apartheid Israel!

A former activist against the South African Apartheid regime, Rev. Brown will discuss with ICAHD-USA board co-chair Robert Herbst the ways in which the State of Israel has and has not replicated South African apartheid, and the lessons he has learned from his analysis.

More information and registration.

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Cassandra is Back from Palestine!

MRSCP member and Palestine Partners founder Cassandra Dixon is home safe and (mostly) sound from the Masafer Yatta area of the West Bank after being seriously injured in a settler attack. (Check out this podcast.)

This week you have three chances to hear from her:

First, on Sunday April 16 starting at 5 pm, a taped interview with Cassandra will be aired on WORT Radio’s World View show. Listen at 89.9 FM or live on line; the segment will air in the second half of the hour, and will be archived for later listening.

Second, on Thursday, April 20 from 12 noon – 1 pm, Cassandra and Massafer Yatta activist Ali Awad will be interviewed live on WORT’s call-in show A Public Affair with host Allen Ruff. Again, listen (and call in with your questions) live at 89.9 FM or online, and the show will be archived.

Third, on Sunday, April 23 from 2-4 pm, you are invited to Cassandra’s thank-you event in appreciation of all the support she received from folks here in Wisconsin while she was in Palestine:


There is no admission charge, although we will be soliciting support for Cassandra’s expenses and also for our new humanitarian project in the the Masafer Yatta area (See below).

We look forward to seeing you.


Upcoming Events: March 21 – April 1, 2023

Tuesday, March 21: No Way to Treat a Child Webinar
Tuesday, March 21: Another chance to watch film Boycott online
Tuesday, March 21: Ground the F35s Online Capitol Calling Party
Friday, March 24: Film Theaters of War: How the Pentagon & CIA Took Hollywood
Fri-Sun, March 24-26: Anti-Militarism, Ground the F35s Conference
Saturday, March 25: Online World-Wide Rally Against the Yemen War 
Sunday, March 26: Settler Impunity in Hawara Webinar
Thursday, March 30: Land Day Film: 1948 Creation and Catastrophe
Sat-Sun, April 1-2: International Festival at Overture

Recordings of the Week: WORT Radio
The Heartbreak and Defiance of Occupation: World View interviews Ali Awad from Masafer Yatta; (30 minutes); and
A Public Affair interview with Cindy and Craig Corrie on the 20th anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s killing in Rafah (55 minutes) 
(See also this excellent article about the long struggle for justice for Rachel.)

Action of the Week: This Ramadan and always:


Tuesday, March 21:
No Way to Treat a Child Webinar
11 AM Central Time
From the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC):

We’re anticipating the introduction of new U.S. legislation advocating for Palestinian children’s rights. This webinar will help advocates prepare. The training will equip you with the skills to understand and explain legislation, the U.S.-Israel relationship, and how the U.S. funds Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. More info and registration here.

Tuesday, March 21:
Online Screening of film Boycott
3 pm Central Time
Fellowship of Reconciliation is offering a free screening of the film Boycott, including a post-film discussion with Julia Bacha, Just Vision’s Creative Director and Boycott Director. Register here for this zoom session.
Tuesday, March 21:
Ground the F35s Capitol Calling Party with Codepink
7-8 pm CT

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