This is what ‘democracy’ looks like in Israel

Leehee Rothschild writes: The first text message I received around 22:30 read “The cops have surrounded the building. It’s quite likely that everybody will be arrested once we try to get out of the door. Alert everybody.” The message was sent by a friend of mine, who along with 14 other activists came to the offices of Zochrot (remembering), an Israeli NGO that focuses on commemorating and raising awareness to the Palestinian Nakba, on the eve of the Israeli independence day. They were planning to go out to the street and remind the celebrators the horrible price that was paid and is still being paid by Palestinians for this so called independence. [Continue reading…]

On the Zochrot website, Norma Musih writes:

The Jewish people in Israel, or at least most of them, live in complete ignorance or even denial of the Palestinian disaster that took place in 1948, the Nakba. The Nakba has no place in the language, the landscape, the environment, and the memory of the Jewish collective in Israel.

Traveling in Israel, one may find signposts, landmarks and memorials that create and sustain the Jewish-Israeli narrative. Jewish-Israeli events that took place more than 2,000 years ago are celebrated through these memorials while Palestinian memorials are nowhere to be seen. Moreover, there is an attempt to erase this memory from the collective consciousness and from the landscape. We, the Israelis, study in our schools that the Jews came to Israel to transform the desert into a blooming country, because we were a “people without a land” returning to a “land without a people.”

Zochrot is an NGO whose goal is to introduce the Palestinian Nakba to the Israeli-Jewish public, to express the Nakba in Hebrew, to enable a place for the Nakba in the language and in the environment. This is in order to promote an alternative memory to the hegemonic Zionist memory. The Nakba is the disaster of the Palestinian people: the destruction of the villages and cities, the killing, the expulsion, the erasure of Palestinian culture. But the Nakba, I believe, is also our story, the story of the Jews who live in Israel, who enjoy the privileges of being the ‘winners.’

Zochrot was founded in early 2002 and its main goal is to bring knowledge of the Palestinian Nakba to Jewish-Israeli people. One of the basic assumptions of our work is that the Nakba is the ‘ground zero’ of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. Awareness and recognition of the Nakba by Jewish-Israeli people, and taking responsibility for this tragedy, are essential to ending the struggle and starting a process of reconciliation between the people of Palestine-Israel.

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