1. Background and Rationale
Zochrot ("remembering" in Hebrew) is an NGO working since 2002 to promote acknowledgement and accountability for the ongoing injustices of the Nakba, the Palestinian catastrophe of 1948 and the reconceptualization of the Return as the imperative redress of the Nakba and a chance for a better life for all the country's inhabitants.
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. The term ‘Nakba’ has become part and parcel of current Israeli discourse; nevertheless, its mere presence still does not mean broad acknowledgement of and accountability for the destruction of hundreds of villages and resulting hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the 1948 War.
The above-mentioned gap is largely due to the continued adherence of Jewish Israeli society to colonial concepts and practices. Zochrot believes that peace will come only after the country has been decolonized, enabling all its inhabitants and refugees to live together without the threat of expulsion or denial of Return.
Zochrot envisions Return as an extended and multidimensional process, which includes not only the physical return of refugees to this country, but also their appropriate and dignified integration in an equal, joint Palestinian-Jewish society. Under this expansive view, Return begins long before the actual return of refugees and proceeds long after.
Return of the Palestinian refugees to their country on the basis of acknowledgement and accountability, coupled with a joint Jewish-Palestinian process of restitution founded on the principles of transitional justice. This Return will be a central and essential part of the creation of a multicultural democratic space and a joint and equitable fabric of life for all inhabitants of this country on all levels (from home and neighborhood to state level) and in all sectors (economics, politics, and urban planning, but also education, arts and sports).
3. Overarching Goal
To realize its vision, Zochrot will act to promote Israeli Jewish society's acknowledgement of and accountability for the ongoing injustices of the Nakba and the reconceptualization of Return as the imperative redress of the Nakba and a chance for a better life for all the country's inhabitants, so that it renounces the colonial conception of its existence in the region and the colonial practices it entails.
Zochrot will act 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. To do so, Zochrot will generate processes in which Israeli Jews will reflect on and review their identity, history, future and the resulting discourse through which they conceive of their lives in this country. Our focus on the Jewish target audience derives from its practical and moral responsibility for Palestinian refugeehood, as well as from its privileged power position under the present regime.