Zochrot- the Israeli equivalent of Dieudonné and his supporters? (updated)

Zochrot is an extreme anti-Zionist organisation which campaigns for the replacement of the current state with one in which Jewish Israelis would become a small minority, after its government had been forced to accept the immigration of those who claimed to be descendants of the Palestinian refugees of 1948, as well as the original refugees still alive who would wish to settle in Israel.  Composed of leaders and militants who are mainly Israeli, its propaganda systematically accuses Israelis of war crimes past and present and falsifies the history of contemporary Israel, concentrating exclusively upon the Arabs who became refugees in the course of the War of Independence.


Promoting false “Nakba-centred” narratives, Zochrot’s fabrications suppress the all-important historical context where the inhabitants of the newly independent state were fighting to survive against the well-armed invading armies of several Arab countries, ignore the significant proportion of Israel’s population killed during this war and, in several cases, have been shown to distort and falsify the “facts” it communicates about certain Palestinian Arab villages claimed to have been destroyed or abandoned during the fighting.  For this reason it has been the subject of several detailed and sourced critiques by NGO-Monitor.  (See http://zochrot.org/en/menu/%D7%96%D7%95%D7%9B%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%AA/%D7%9E%D7%99-%D7%90%D7%A0%D7%97%D7%A0%D7%95, http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/zochrot and http://www.ngo-monitor.org/gsearch.php?q=zochrot.)


The leaders of Zochrot do not seem to be concerned about the enormous bloodshed that would probably result if they and other organisations belonging to the BDS movement succeeded in persuading the governments of powerful states to force Israel to “take back” the refugees and their descendants, real and supposed.  Perhaps because, in recent years, certain media outlets, regarded as respectable and serious, have more and more frequently given platforms to apologists for  -and even supporters of – eliminationist or exterminationist anti-Israelism, Zochrot’s founder Eitan Bronstein felt no embarrassment in making the following observation, in an article/interview published on the 29th May 2010:

“When the refugees return, Jews will become a minority in the country.  Israel as a Jewish state will change radically, and it will no longer be defined as such.  Jews will no longer be able to determine their future…by themselves…. There may be Jews, most of them of European origin, who won’t be able to adjust to a non-Zionist reality, and prefer to use their other passport to move elsewhere…”  (See http://cifwatch.com/tag/zochrot/ and http://onedemocracy.co.uk/documents/thinking-practically-about-the-return/.)

On April 23, 2014 a video was posted on YouTube, “The Holocaust’s Visit to Yad Vashem,”, filmed by Zochrot activist Moran Barir, produced by several Zochrot officials and featuring radical activist Natali Cohen Vaxberg.  In the film Eitan Bronstein plays a “Holocaust Bodyguard”.  Vaxberg is presented as visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and adopting the persona of the “Holocaust,” claiming to be “the best thing that ever happened” to the Jewish people.   Various “satirical” statements are made, including the following:

“Thanks to me you have a country… Thanks to me and only me you have an army…There is no one more responsible for your success than whom?…than me.”

“How could you have justified the 67’ without me… the 48’ without me?”

◦“Who have you learned from to collect people according to their ethnic background and throw them into concentration camps?”

“From now on there is no Jewish nation, finished, I deny you…you do not exist and you never existed”


(See http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/zochrot_s_support_for_one_state_which links to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flfUvPyLVZI.)


Dieudonné, the notorious French comedian – and, in 2004, unsuccessful political candidate (he was one of the Euro-Palestine candidates for the European elections) – has for several years been an anti-Jewish agitator and propagandist who has attempted to appeal to many sections of the population as possible.  He has wooed potential voters for the extreme right and supporters of the extreme left.  By exploiting the gamut of current anti-Semitic themes – repeatedly referring to allegedly excessive Jewish or “Zionist” influence in politics and the media, constantly lying about supposed Israeli crimes, from time to time attacking Judaism as a religion and, just like Louis Farrakhan, claiming that Jews were prominent in the European and American slave trade – he hopes to appeal to a “Black-Blanc-Beur” coalition of dissatisfied Frenchmen, whether European, African or Arab in origin.  His “comedy” sketches making fun of victims and survivors of the Shoa have recently received much publicity.  There have been a number of authoritative articles claiming that Dieudonné’s activities during recent years have been partly funded from Iranian sources.


Like Dieudonné and his supporters it seems that Zochrot is prepared to mock the victims of the Shoa.  They benefit from funding, not from Iran, but from various NGOs considered to be reputable.  This funding in effect includes indirect subsidies from a number of  democratic “friendly” governments.   NGO-Monitor’s research allows it to state:  “2012-2014 donors include: Oxfam Great Britain, Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Rosa Luxemberg Foundation (Germany), Finn Church Aid (Finland), Christian Aid (UK), Trocaire (Ireland), ICCO (Netherlands), CCFD (France), Misereor (Germany), HEKS (Switzerland), Mennonite Central Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).”


How much longer should supposedly friendly countries and supposedly respectable NGOs continue to fund and otherwise support an organisation like Zochrot?


About the Author
Paul Leslie is an occasional independent journalist and researcher, living in London. He has degrees from Exeter College, Oxford University and the Sorbonne (history of the Jews of Algeria and Tunisia, in two different colonial systems). Paul Leslie is am a fan of cinema – all genres – and is passionately interested in modern history.