Manar Makhoul

This 54th issue is the third al-Majdal to feature BDS as a theme. The first was issue no. 26 (Spring 2005) simultaneous with the launch of the BDS Call. On the third anniversary of the BDS Call, in Summer 2008 (issue no. 38), BADIL published a special extended issue featuring BDS. Within only three years from the launch of the BDS Call, al-Majdal 38 carried contributions from BDS activists based in Australia, the Basque country, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Catalonia, England and Wales, Ireland, Israel/Palestine, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

Palestinian identity in Israel underwent many evolutionary transformations since 1948. Palestinian citizens of Israel had to adapt to a political system that aimed to erase them: an inherent and an integral component in Zionist thought. The erasure of Palestinian existence from Palestine has taken several forms. Ideologically speaking, the Zionist movement depicted Palestine as ‘a land without a people’ long before the establishment of Israel, and the clearest physical manifestation of this approach was the ethnic cleansing (‘demographic erasure’), of the majority of Palestinian society from Palestine during the 1947−1948 War and afterwards.1 Other aspects of erasure take place on social, political and linguistic levels. Suleiman2 provides an extensive survey of the socio-linguistic erasure of Palestinian history and existence by looking at names, toponyms and code-names. Masalha3 depicts in detail the historical, political and ideological bases of the policy of erasure that Israel has carried out against Palestinian locations in Israel, as well as the Palestinian activities that counter it. The historic erasure of Palestinians, both physically and historically, is best summarized by Oren Yiftachel: