Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, August 2008, page 49

Arab-American Activism

Billboard and Black Balloons

  • Josh Ruebner, from US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, stands in front of their giant billboard, which circled the “Israel@60: A Capital Celebration” event (Staff photo D. Hanley).

THE COALITION for Justice and Accountability, a member group of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, put together a Nakba commemoration on June 1, 2008, only yards away from “Israel@60: A Capital Celebration” on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Partygoers celebrating Israel’s birthday were surprised to see a giant 10 x 22 foot mobile billboard commemorating the Nakba circling the event. The mobile billboard, produced by the U.S. Campaign, features a work by Palestinian artist Nidal El Khairy entitled “60 Years of Nakba.”

Participants, including Nakba survivor Dr. Taher Dajani, passed out Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, magazines and other educational flyers to passersby. One young woman grabbed a flyer from her friend, used it to slap Dr. Dajani’s face, and threw his literature on the ground. Her shocked friend picked up the flyer and said, “But I want to read this.”

After watching a Dr. Seuss play, “Star-Belly Sneetches,” about racism and apartheid, participants released black balloons over the Mall, one to commemorate each village Israel has destroyed.

Delinda C. Hanley