Actions for May 15: Marking 75 years of Nakba

MPower Change

As salaamu alaykum —

On this Faith & Action Friday, my heart is heavy as we approach Nakba Day. 

The Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic, is what Palestinians call the violent displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land. May 15 marks 75 years of loss.

But the Nakba isn’t just a past tragedy. It’s happening now, as millions of Palestinians live under apartheid amid constant attacks on their freedom, safety, and dignity. This very week, over 20 Palestinians were killed by Israel’s bombing of Gaza.1

The Nakba continues.

We grieve the weight of 75 years of ongoing Nakba and will never give up on our quest for Palestinian freedom.

This year, as the UN commemorates Nakba Day for the first time,2 and new members of Congress join the call for the US to recognize it as well,3 we must all do our part to center Palestinian narratives and struggles. This week, we want to share five things with you:

Action #1: Protest and Take Action: #Nakba75

The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights have put together an extremely helpful page of #Nakba75 Take Action resources.

Attend a protest or event, including art exhibits and community gatherings organized by Palestinian-led groups — their page has actions you can take, resources, and even posters you can print to take to the streets. Find an action near you and RSVP at

Action #2: Tell PayPal: Stop Punishing Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza

Part of the Nakba is the ongoing dehumanization of Palestinians living under occupation. One everyday example: PayPal openly discriminates against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Israelis living in illegal settlements have access to this global banking platform — but Palestinians do not. That’s why we’re so proud to share this: 

On May 24th, PayPal shareholders at their Annual General Meeting will be called to vote on a resolution to ensure Palestinians, so often shut out of basic banking tools under apartheid, will finally be granted access to PayPal.4

This is only possible because of your support of the MPower campaign and the work of our partners at Ekō and 7amleh. As we approach the big day, let’s remind PayPal that we’re watching. It’s past time that tech corporations like PayPal stop their collusion with Israel’s discrimination against Palestinians. Tell PayPal to stop discriminating against Palestinians.

Action #3: Demand No Tech for Apartheid 

This month also marks two years since Google and Amazon signed the $1.2 billion Project Nimbus contract with the Israeli government and military — a contract that helps power the ongoing Nakba.

Israel’s apartheid system began with the Nakba—it’s a root cause of the injustices Palestinians face today. By doing business with the Israeli government, Google and Amazon are enabling and powering the expansion and entrenchment of that same apartheid system and expanding illegal settlements that force Palestinians off their lands.

Tech workers, students, and community members have been organizing to demand Amazon and Google be on the right side of history and stop doing business with Israeli apartheid.

Amazon and Google’s shareholder meetings are taking place in just a few weeks, and it’s an immense opportunity to challenge them on the human rights violations in their contracts. Email Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and Google CEO Sundar Pichai to demand they cut the contract and stop powering the ongoing Nakba

Action #4: Learn about the Nakba by watching Farha on Netflix

Set in the early days of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, the film Farha depicts the upheaval of Palestinian society from a 14-year-old girl’s perspective — and the historical reality of the Nakba. Maybe that’s why “the film — and the attention it is now getting on a major platform like Netflix — has angered Israeli officials, who have denounced [it] and even threatened consequences for its airing.”5

You can read more about the impact Farha is having here — and watch the trailer here.

Action #5: One Important Read 

Continue reading

Jewish doctor denied payment for refusing Israel pledge

Dr. Steve Feldman, pictured on a trip to the West Bank. Feldman was denied payment from the state of Arkansas for refusing to sign a pledge promising not to boycott Israel. (Courtesy of Steve Feldman)


Dr. Steve Feldman, a dermatologist, delivered a Zoom lecture to University of Arkansas at Little Rock medical students in February, for which he was entitled to a $500 honorarium from the state. But Feldman said that the state is withholding payment because he refused to sign a pledge, required for public contractors under Arkansas law since 2017, to commit to not boycotting Israel.

“They have a law in place that makes contracts with Arkansas dependent on your agreement not to boycott Israel, which I think is wrong,” Feldman, who is a professor at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “To me, growing up Jewish, the very strong lesson of the Holocaust that I learned is it’s wrong to mistreat other people.”

Arkansas is one of dozens of states that have passed laws aiming to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel. The laws either bar the state from investing in companies that boycott Israel or, as in Arkansas’ case, mandate that state contractors promise not to boycott the country. Most of those laws have been struck down by courts, but Feldman’s lecture took place the same month the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to Arkansas’ law. His case is the latest example of how such laws are affecting what would otherwise be ordinary state business transactions.

Feldman has close relatives who live in Israel. But he said the pledge conflicted with his religious and moral views. In addition to his medical work, he is a pro-Palestinian activist who created the online-only Jewish Museum of the Palestinian Experience. The website says that the Jewish commitment to fighting injustice should lead Jews to stand up for Palestinian rights. Feldman said he does support boycotting Israel. 

“I think the only thing that will lead to Israel allowing Palestinian families to return to their homes, so that everybody can live together peacefully, will be some kind of boycott,” he said.

While the Arkansas law, passed in 2017, applies only to contractors earning more than $1,000 from the state, Feldman said he was still refused his $500 payment. The justification, he said, was that being added to the state’s vendor system would make him eligible for future assignments that could add up to more than $1,000.

Feldman told JTA he is exploring his legal options and wouldn’t rule out a lawsuit against the state as a means of advocating for Palestinian rights and challenging last year’s federal Eighth Circuit Court ruling that the law was constitutionally protected. “I would love to sue and have the Circuit Court either retract what they said, or go to the Supreme Court in order for people to see things that they didn’t know,” he said.

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, a Republican, has said the law combats discrimination on the basis of nationality. Following the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case, he told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he works to “ensure that taxpayers aren’t required to pay for anti-Israel and anti-Israeli discrimination.”

Feldman’s story was first reported by the Arkansas Times, a publication that has itself become entangled in the state’s anti-boycott law. The paper’s publisher, Alan Leveritt, challenged the law in court after he was asked to sign the anti-boycott pledge so that the paper could run advertising from a state university. The suit, which is the one that reached the Supreme Court, argued that the law was a violation of the publication’s First Amendment rights and attracted support from progressive Jewish groups, as well as opposition from some pro-Israel groups. Leveritt argued that he doesn’t have strong feelings about Israel boycotts but that his paper does not take political positions in exchange for advertising. 

Since the inception of state-level laws prohibiting Israel boycotts, some state lawmakers have used them as a template for legislation barring other types of divestment campaigns, such as those targeting fossil fuels or the firearms industry. 

Feldman mused that he could have signed the pledge, taken the money and then engaged in an Israel boycott to see how the state would react, but concluded, “I can’t lie on a form. That also goes against my Jewish moral character.”

Khader Adnan’s Death

A Wake-Up Call for the World’s Conscience

May 2, 2023

This morning, Palestinian leader Khader Adnan died in an Israeli dungeon after 86 days of hunger strike, protesting his unjust detention by the Israeli government without charge or trial. He left behind a wife and nine children. A medic from Physicians for Human Rights Israel had warned Israeli authorities that Adnan was facing “imminent death,” but that did not dissuade the Israeli government from keeping him in shackles and denying his freedom.

Adnan is a renowned symbol of the Palestinian prisoners’ struggle for freedom, having been arrested 12 times and spending nearly eight years in Israeli prisons, mostly in “administrative detention,” an obscene Israeli practice of holding Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial. Currently, more than 1000 Palestinians are held in Israeli prisons under this practice.

Israel’s regime of mass arrests and imprisonment of Palestinians is a systematic effort to entrench its illegal occupation and apartheid over Palestinian life. This regime doesn’t even spare children, who are systematically abused and brutalized in Israeli military detention. Israel is the only country that processes children through a military court system, where thousands of Palestinian children have experienced this abuse. Some, like Adnan, would rather find freedom in death than be imprisoned in life by the shackles of Israel’s brutal occupation.

Adnan has died, but his life of resistance will not be forgotten. His death should serve as a wake-up call for those that remain silent as  Israel destroys Palestinian lives and continues denying them freedom as they have for decades, not just in the dungeons of indefinite detention but in the far bigger prison of military occupation and apartheid. On April 25th, President Biden said in a statement celebrating 75 years of the apartheid state, “As a life-long friend and supporter of the State of Israel, I have worked my entire career to deepen and strengthen our partnership.” This partnership has done nothing but enable a full-fledged ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinian people. It is well past time for the world, and the U.S. government in particular as the biggest supporter of Israel’s apartheid government, to raise its voice and demand an end to Israel’s ongoing crimes against Palestinians via viable action and accountability.

We at AMP will continue to fight for a fundamental change in U.S. policy toward Palestine and Israel. We do so in solidarity with all the Palestinian prisoners held in the occupation’s prisons, and we will continue this fight until every last Palestinian is free.

May Day Milwaukee: A Day Without Latinx and Immigrants


May 1st has long been recognized as a day of solidarity and action around immigrant rights. This year, our partners at Voces de la Frontera are hosting their annual May 1st action, strike, and mass march: “May Day: A Day Without Latinx and Immigrants.”

Together, we must stand up for immigrant families and support Voces de la Frontera in demanding
(1) WI conservatives stop blocking drivers licenses for all and in-state tuition for all,
2) U.S. Congress pass immigration reform, and
3) our federal leaders deliver permanent protections for DACA recipients and extend Temporary Protected Status for immigrants. 

Our asks of you 👇

  1. Show up and get involved! Voces de la Frontera is hosting their “May Day: A Day Without Latinx and Immigrants” mass march on May 1st in Milwaukee. Find more information on their May Day page and RSVP to their event on Facebook. There will also be a rally in Madison at the State Capitol on May 2nd starting at 11:30am.
  2. Get educated on the issues and challenges facing immigrant families in Wisconsin. Learn more about Voces de la Frontera’s priority issues and campaigns on their website.
  3. Follow Voces de la Frontera on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and amplify their work and content.

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!*

Sierra Club: Stop Supporting Environmental Racism

Adalah Justice Project

Why are we asking you to write to the Sierra Club Board candidates?

In March 2023, the Sierra Club sponsored a “nature outing” to Israel that willfully ignored ongoing Israeli settler colonialism, Israel’s illegal military occupation, and its brutal siege on Gaza. 

Although the Sierra Club canceled a similar trip last year after meeting with a coalition of Palestinians, Indigenous leaders from Turtle Island, and Jewish and Black allies, it failed to come through on its commitment to cancel future trips.

These trips support Israeli apartheid and Israel’s abuses of the Palestinian people. They are part of Israel’s greenwashing strategy to cover up settler colonialism and environmental destruction.

The reality is:

Israel commits water apartheid, where settlers use three to eight times as much water as the Palestinian people whose lands they occupy in the West Bank, redirecting water to prioritize Israeli settlers.

Only 11% of trees in Israeli forests are indigenous species. The rest are non-native species replanted by Israel to quickly take over land where lies the ruins of at least 182 destroyed Palestinian villages.

The Israeli state has designated much of Palestinian land stolen in 1948 as protected nature parks and reserves, similar to U.S. conservationists’ establishment of national parks on plundered native land. Colonization and erasure of Indigenous people is never green—it’s deadly greenwashing.

Sierra Club claims that it is promoting environmental justice by attempting to repair past harm toward Black and Indigenous communities. However, it cannot make this claim if it excludes Palestinians who are still being ethnically cleansed by the state of Israel.

Fortunately, we have an opportunity to take action together.

Sierra Club members are currently voting on their next Board of Directors.

Candidates for open board positions are taking questions from Sierra Club members and supporters up until voting ends on April 26th. This is our opportunity to push candidates to take a stand, and clarify their position on the Sierra Club’s greenwashing tours.

You can write directly to the candidates for the Sierra Club Board of Directors and ask them to take a stand against environmental colonialism.

We have a small window of time to influence the incoming board. It is vital that we ask them now to stand with Palestinians and honor the Sierra Club’s commitment to cancel these greenwashing trips.

More on Israeli Greenwashing and Environmental Justice for Palestine

Israelis, welcome to BDS

Though not named as such, BDS tactics have been central to Israel’s anti-government protests. And the hypocrisy is not lost on Palestinians.

Israeli protesters clash with police on horseback while blocking Ayalon Highway during an anti-government demonstration, March 16, 2023. (Oren Ziv)
Israeli protesters clash with police on horseback while blocking Ayalon Highway during an anti-government demonstration, March 16, 2023. (Oren Ziv)

Amjad Iraqi, +972 Magazine, March 19, 2023

This article originally appeared in “The Landline,” +972’s weekly newsletter. Subscribe here.

It took only two months for Israelis to shatter one of their biggest political taboos in the fight against the far-right government. Riled by the coalition’s relentless power trip, Jewish opposition parties have pledged not to participate in the Knesset’s final votes on legislation aimed at overhauling the judiciary. Israeli diplomats and envoys are quitting their posts in protest. Army reservists are objecting to service en masse, affecting every unit from combat troops to the air force. Tech companies and venture capital firms are relocating abroad and transferring out hundreds of millions of dollars. Artists, writers, and intellectuals are calling on world leaders to shun meetings with senior Israeli officials, including the prime minister.

None of these groups will admit it, but this is, by all accounts, one of the most impressive BDS campaigns ever witnessed.

In the topsy-turvy Israel of today, boycotts, divestments, and sanctions — though not explicitly named as such — have become central strategies of the Israeli protest movement. Large swathes of society are not just distancing themselves from the government’s agenda, but are actively pursuing nationwide disruption and international intervention to stop it. The economy, security, and day-to-day life are all necessary sacrifices in the name of saving “democracy.” At this scale, the movement has gone beyond merely ending public complicity; it is, in effect, a civil revolt.

Ironically, these methods of civil resistance are being encouraged by figures who spent years undermining those who used them. Yair Lapid, the Knesset opposition leader and former prime minister, is continuing to call for mass demonstrations and strikes, and has urged municipalities not to cooperate with certain government ministry units, later describing such political expression as part of Israelis’ “deep democratic instinct.” This is the same Lapid who accused Israeli anti-occupation groups of “subversion” for exposing military abuses; oversaw the outlawing of Palestinian human rights NGOs as “terrorists”; and demanded American anti-BDS laws be used to punish the ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s for not selling products in illegal West Bank settlements, blasting the divestment as a “shameful surrender to antisemitism.”

Activists carry a BDS banner during a protest calling for the liberation of Palestine and to protest the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, Paris, May 22, 2021. (Anne Paq/
Activists carry a BDS banner during a protest calling for the liberation of Palestine and to protest the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, Paris, May 22, 2021. (Anne Paq/

Israel’s own anti-boycott law, enacted in 2011, now technically hovers over all these new dissidents, enabling any citizen to sue the protesters for causing “financial or reputational harm” to the state and other entities under its control. The Israeli Supreme Court — the institution that the protest movement has been fighting so hard to defend — enthusiastically approved the anti-democratic law in 2015, calling boycotts a form of “political terror,” “bigoted, dishonest, and shameful,” and an attempt to “annihilate” the Jewish state. Israeli politicians, including from the center and center-left, saw the price tag on civil rights as necessary not just to stifle Palestinians, but to deter Jewish Israelis from boycotting the settlements. Now, if the right chooses so, the anti-government movement could be made to pay a literal price for its sedition.

‘We told you so’

The cognitive dissonance of this moment is not lost on Palestinians. In the two decades since the BDS movement was launched, Palestinians and their allies have been smeared, censored, and attacked for calling on citizens, companies, and governments to use nonviolent tactics to pressure Israel into ending its human rights abuses. Its demands, explicitly rooted in international law, are to achieve equality for Palestinians in Israel, end military rule in the occupied territories, and allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland — basic rights which, in any other country, would not be so controversial.

However, far from even respecting the right to challenge Israel, BDS has been aggressively denounced as “counterproductive” at best and “antisemitic” at worst. A slew of U.S. and European laws and policies are effectively criminalizing the movement and defining it as a form of racism. Even liberal American Jewish groups — some of whom entertain the idea of conditioning military aid to Israel, and last week called for revoking the visa of Israel’s finance minister — still adamantly insist that they neither support nor participate in the BDS movement.