Israeli Arabs held a Nakba Day protest at Tel Aviv University in the plaza outside the main entrance on Sunday.
The demonstrators wore black shirts and were met by a smaller counter-protest of students holding Israeli flags, led by the Zionist organization Im Tirtzu (If You Will It). Police monitored the event and it passed peacefully.
MK Jamal Zahalka, the head of the Balad party, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday: “We want to remember the Palestinian Nakba. It is not possible to uproot people from their land and cause a catastrophe and silence our voice... At least we have the right to shout.”
“We want to repair an historical injustice and reach a historical compromise in which both peoples will get their rights living together,” added Zahalka.
Alon Schvartzer, policy head of Im Tirtzu, said: “Celebrations of Nakba Day signify the ongoing falsification of history by stakeholders who are using all means to de-legitimize Israel.”
The organization’s chairman, Matan Peleg, said that “it is natural that many Arabs have experienced pain, personal tragedy and this is their subjective memory.
But academia and Israeli culture are trying to shape that personal memory as part of the collective historical memory.”
“This is an attempt to use politics in order to cast doubt and create guilty feelings about our victory against those who tried to destroy us,” said Peleg, adding that “in 2014, we are calling on the public to stick to the facts and not be fooled by the brainwashing.”
The Im Tirtzu demonstrators called for an alternative Nakba ceremony, which would truthfully depict the historical facts – that the Arabs sought to destroy the Jewish nation in the 1948 war.
This year’s Nakba Day is on Thursday, on which Palestinians annually lament the establishment of the Jewish state.