Last month, Israel commemorated Memorial Day. While the mainstream media extensively covered official Memorial Day ceremonies, alternative ceremonies were ignored. Also in the roundup: NGO Zochrot publishes a new map showing hundreds of Arab villages that were destroyed between 1948 and 1967, including a tour to Deir Yassin and a "march of return."Read More... | 2 Comments
On the night of April 9, 1948, over 100 men, women, children and elderly Palestinians were killed in Deir Yassin during an operation by Israeli underground militias. In contrast to the Palestinian narrative, which claims that the massacre was motivated by hatred and vengeance, the Isralei narrative describes another of the necessary battles of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. But recent, other voices in Israel are coming out -- voices that raise many questions about the historical truth behind the story of Deir Yassin. Recently, 'Zochrot' organized a tour to the village that included meetings with village residents and relatives of…Read More... | 40 Comments
Palestinian citizens of Israel return to the village of Al-Ruways, which was destroyed by Zionist military forces during the Nakba. Photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org The Israeli group Zochrot organizes many tours of Palestinian villages depopulated during the Nakba of 1948. What made this Saturday's tour of Al-Ruways particularly remarkable was the large number of displaced Palestinians and their descendants who made the event more of a return than a simple tour. Zochrot, whose name means "remembering" in Hebrew, aims to educate Israeli Jews about the history of the Nakba and the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Typically, they will…Read More... | 29 Comments
A new guidebook provides readers with tours of 18 Palestinian villages depopulated in 1948, allowing Israelis to slowly learn the story of Palestine and create a new reality between the river and the sea. By Danit Shaham A book always makes a statement. Whether it’s resting on the table or visible on a shelf, it’s making a statement – cultural, political, or both. Space, on the other hand, represented by maps, hiking trails, signs, is usually viewed as something objective. Neutral. Not subordinated to social, historical or other forms of power. “Once Upon a Land,” published by Zochrot and Pardes, offers 18…Read More... | 20 Comments
A new documentary aims to decipher some of the anxiety that accompanies the Israeli debate over the events of 1948. A strange thing regarding the debate on the Nakba: the responses it generates in Israeli society are becoming more and more hostile, while at the same time, the Nakba is mentioned more and more often. Those contradicting elements live side by side, as if the more we work to forget the Nakba, the harder it gets - the recent campaign regarding "the Jewish refugees" that the Foreign Office launched is just one example. Israeli-Russian-Canadian journalist Lia Tarachansky (from The Real News) is…Read More... | 29 Comments
Israel has gone to great lengths to remove mention of the Nakba - the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 - from textbooks, public discourse, and the public space. But as state efforts to ban Nakba commemorations increase, so does interest in the issue, with more and more Israelis believing that dealing with the matter is a prerequisite to ending the conflict. This short clip surveys this year's particularly dramatic Nakba Day events. This video was produced by Israel Social TV, an independent media NGO working to promote social change, human rights, social justice and equality, and to mobilize its viewers towards activism.Read More... | 44 Comments
As much as left-wing protesters have to fear Israeli cops, they have to fear even more the Israeli "street" the cops are shielding them from. In his 2004 book The Case for Democracy, Natan Sharansky (with co-author Ron Dermer, head of Bibi Netanyahu's brain trust) popularized his "town square test," which he called the threshold test of whether a society is free or not. It went like this: If a person cannot walk into the middle of the town square and express his or her views without fear of arrest, imprisonment, or physical harm, then that person is living in a…Read More... | 31 Comments
Some 15 activists from the organization Zochrot were besieged by police on Wednesday night in the NGO's offices, in order to prevent them from quietly commemorating the Palestinian Nakba on Israeli Independence Day. Three were arrested for reading aloud names of destroyed villages. Reports started flowing in at around 22:30 p.m. through text messages and phone calls. Some 15 activists from Zochrot ("Remembering"), an Israeli NGO dedicated to preserving the memory the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) among the Hebrew-speaking public, had gathered in the group's offices on Ibn Gabirol Street in central Tel Aviv. They were planning a quiet symbolic action entailing placing…Read More... | 81 Comments
Paradoxically, the overbearing stance of Israel's Nakba law had significantly increased public interest in the Nakba By Eitan Bronstein The Nakba Law that passed at the Israeli parliament recently has a single primary goal: to categoricaly hide the Nakba: Hide it, do not learn about it, do not remember it, and do not take responsibility for its consequences. Put it, word and memory, back and deep into the Pandora box from which it emerged during this past decade in Israel. The illusion in passing this law is that it is possible to lock it away and bury the key at…Read More... | 6 Comments
Over at the Project Democracy blog, which I am writing for ACRI's democracy initiative, I responded to a post Mati Shemeolof wrote last week for +972 Magazine. Shemeolof describes his fellow bloggers' gloom regarding the future of Israel's democracy by putting forward the theory that the situation is not really all that bad. In his response to statements made by Yossi Gurvitz and Dimi Reider to a visiting delegation of Rabbis for Human Rights from North America, Shemeolof points out that Israel's cultural life - particularly the leftist cultural life - is flourishing. He offers examples such as ActiveStills, Guerilla…Read More... | 8 Comments
Last week I was at a dinner with the North American management of Rabbis for Human Rights. They met with some of the +972 Magazine bloggers. The conversation was mainly about the decline of Israeli democracy. Yossi Gurvitz, Dimi Reider and others were very pessimistic about the survival of the Israeli democracy. They gave reports about the most recent bill placed on the Knesset agenda by the radical right politicians. The North American crowd was very curious and knowledgeable about the issues, but after an hour or so they asked if all of the bloggers were pessimistic. The bloggers admitted…Read More... | 5 Comments
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Last Metro to Taksim
Yuval Ben-Ami reports from Istanbul.
Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
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