After years of ignoring the horrors of the residential school system, Canada slowly embarked on a process of “Truth and Reconciliation” with its indigenous peoples. The final report of the TRC commission was officially adopted by the Government of Canada. In Israel, however, there is still denial about the impact of the creation of the State of Israel on the indigenous Palestinians. Could this ever change? One organization is trying to educate Israeli Jews about their own history. It’s making some progress. But it’s not easy. Read more.
A small Israeli NGO founded by Israeli Jews and now composed of both Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel has taken on a challenging task – educating their fellow citizens – and in particular Jewish citizens – about Israel’s violent history of expulsion of the Palestinians (or “Nakba”).
The organization is called Zochrot and it carries out a wide range of educational activities, including inviting Israelis to visit the remnants of some of the over 500 Palestinian villages destroyed by Israeli forces, a “Nakba” film festival, an annual refugee “Return” conference, educational webinars and occasional speaking engagements with groups of interested Israelis.
The work is challenging, to say the least. Jewish Israeli society is even more reluctant to examine its own past than white Canadian society has been.
Instead of official recognition (as in Canada), the Israeli government remains staunchly opposed to any such thing. In fact, it has actually passed a law (the Nakba law) which cuts off state funding to any organization which commemorates the Nakba. This includes universities or cultural centres which agree to host such events. In Israel’s Arab-language school system, Palestinian citizens are forbidden to talk about their own history!!
But those working in Zochrot remain hopeful.
“Zochrot and other Israeli NGOs have been fairly successful over the past few years in raising the Nakba to the awareness of the broad Jewish public,” says Zochrot’s web page. “Zochrot continues to challenge the Israeli Jewish public’s preconceptions and promote awareness, political and cultural change within it to create the conditions for the Return of Palestinian Refugees and a shared life in this country.”
October 17th – Meet Zochrot and learn about its challenging work
The Ottawa Forum on Israel Palestine is pleased to organize a webinar with Rachel Beitarie, Zochrot’s Director, and Umar Al-Ghubari, its program director on Saturday October 17th @ 2 p.m. (Ottawa time).
Registration can be done here:.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. The event will also be livestreamed on YouTube and made available for later viewing.
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org.