As we approached the 75th anniversary of the Nakba, ICAHD UK invited you to join into a conversation between ICAHD’s Director Jeff Halper with Eitan Bronstein Aparicio, the founder of Zochrot and who currently, with his wife and partner Eléonore Marza, co-directs De-Colonizer.
Eitan’s personal and professional life has revolved around the elemental Nakba, and particularly how Jewish Israelis can and must deal with it. Zochrot was founded by Eitan as an Israeli organization dedicated not only to Nakba commemoration, but to educating the Israeli public over what Israel has tried to hide all these years. Politically, Zochrot also works to actually prepare for the return of the refugees. De-Colonizer is conceived as a junction between research, creativity, archiving/documentation and public discussion. It also operates Illegallery 81, an art gallery that hosts artists and performances dealing with issues of contested space.
Eitan and Eléonore are the authors of Nakba: The Struggle to Decolonize Israel. They observe that the Nakba was not the starting point of the process of dispossessing Palestinians, which begins with the Zionist emigration to historical Palestine towards the end of the nineteenth century, but rather its culmination – although it is ongoing. Over the years, a systematic and institutional effort has been made to deny and suppress this understanding of the origins of the Nakba. The book describes this effort and their determined struggle against it, especially through their work at Zochrot.
In the book Eitan and Eléonore also relate their personal stories. Eitan immigrated to Israel as a child, converted to Judaism, was raised in a kibbutz and was drafted into the army. It’s only as an adult and a father that he finally abandoned Zionism. Eléonore, the daughter of a Jewish mother and a Muslim father (who was uprooted from his home by the Israeli army), decided nonetheless to remain in Israel and to establish her family home there.
Since ICAHD is dedicated to bringing critical anti-colonial voices into the public discussion around Palestine, there could be no more fitting way to mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba with this discussion between Eitan and Jeff.