Gideon Levy has described Zionism as “Israel’s fundamentalist religion.” But what happens to those Israelis who reject it? Jonathan Ofir describes his journey away from Zionism, and the societal exclusion that befalls those who drift away from the ethos.
Category Archives: Personal Journeys
Yossi Gurvitz recounts how he went from growing up in a national-religious family in Petah Tikva to rejecting Judaism. For him, it all started in yeshiva: “On October 28th, 1984, I had my first crisis of faith. That evening, David Ben Shimol – an IDF soldier – fired a stolen anti-tank rocket into a Palestinian bus as vengeance for an earlier Palestinian terror attack. Every evening we had a seder erev, which began punctually and without fail at 19:10. That evening, for the first and only time I was in Nechalim, it was postponed. So that people could have time enough to dance.”
Israeli-American Ronit Dinson makes the decision to leave Tel Aviv and return to the U.S., “Am I coward for saying “khalas” (Arabic for “enough”), I want out of here? Or, are there just too many avenues that have dead-ended here in Israel? I want the same thing that all Israeli Jews, Arabs, and asylum seekers want, to live in peace with my family and for my future children to have equal opportunities. I don’t see this happening here in Israel unless the apartheid structure finally ends and all people have equal rights, regardless of their nationality, race, or religion.”
“When I go home to Palestine, the Israelis don’t see me as LGBTQ; they see me as a Palestinian–and they’re really racist about it,” says Izzadine Mustafa in an interview with Susie Day.
Aida Qasim remembers the start of the Six-Day War, as a small child seeing her mother watch reports of the war broadcast over television.
Iris Keltz, an American Jewish writer, remembers the first days after her wedding to a Palestinian man in June 1967. As war broke out, the couple fled their home in Kafr Aqab for a relatives apartment in Ramallah where they would hide until Israeli soldiers barged through the door.
According to a recent New York Times op-ed, Israel today is “nothing like” South African apartheid. Yarden Katz, an Israeli, abandoned the warnings about visiting the West Bank and toured a housed in Bethlehem trapped by the wall, and a ghost town in Hebron, “If we only dare look, we see that there’s apartheid and much more.”
Howard Cohen relates the story of one of his students at an engineering college in the Negev struggling to keep up with his studies after Israeli police killed his father, demolished his home.
Albert Einstein, once America’s most famous Jew, saw the disaster unfolding in Palestine; Jared Kushner should heed his warning.
“Now who I do talk Hebrew to? Palestinians.” An American activist who grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community describes her long road from Zionism and a belief in Israel’s goodness to a dedication to human rights and anti-Zionism.
Legendary protest singer Phil Ochs, who died 40 years ago, updated “Love Me I’m A Liberal” in 1971 to call out “the arming of Israel.”
Jonathan Ofir explains how he, an Israeli expatriate in Europe, came to be so critical of his country. “I came to realise that ‘fighting for my country’ meant something very different than winning ideological and physical battles for the State of Israel. It meant dismantling Zionist propaganda.”
Robyn Brown, one of the four donors who have created a $50,000 Challenge Fund to mobilize maximum support this month for Mondoweiss, explains how she came to Palestine solidarity activism and why she supports Mondoweiss: “My own experience of Israeli disregard for basic human dignity has been part of what brought me to value Mondoweiss and the journalism that powers justice.”
“I just want to know what right you think you have to smear me as an anti-Semite and as a self-hating Jew,” Rob Bryan challenges an anti-BDS gathering in the New York synagogue where he was bar mitzvah’d
On a crisp, sunny fall day, Tzedek Chicago, the new non-Zionist congregation held its first Yom Kippur service in a Lutheran church
Diehard Zionists have sought to portray author Lillian Rosengarten’s tour of her birthplace, Germany, as anti-Semitic because she opposes the existence of a Jewish state. She has demonstrated that the charge is false.
We continue to be inspired and moved by the flow of stories readers are sharing with us about their journey to the movement for Palestinian human rights. Today, award-winning author Cathy Sultan shares her story of living in Beirut during the tumultuous 1970s and 80s. If you, like Cathy, believe that the voices in Mondoweiss make a difference for justice in Palestine, please contribute today to continue and expand the work you value.
Pam Bailey shares her journey of going from working in corporate America to fighting war crimes in Gaza. Thanks to a surge in giving, we are nearing our $50,000 goal for the “Be The Mondoweiss Megaphone” campaign! If you believe, like Pam, that the voices in Mondoweiss make a difference for justice in Palestine, please contribute today to continue and expand the work you value.
Former Congressional candidate Bob Lord shares his journey from courting AIPAC for campaign donations to supporting Palestine solidarity. If you, like Bob, believe that the voices in Mondoweiss make a difference for justice in Palestine, please contribute today to continue and expand the work you value.
Want to be inspired? Read Allison Deger’s moving account of how she went from being a college journalist to being a reporter in the West Bank. Please help us raise $50,000 this summer to tell the stories that raise the level of discourse, challenge widespread lies, and help change minds for better policy.
Katie Miranda interviews Adam Horowitz on the evolution of Mondoweiss and how he became involved in Palestine solidarity. In addition, Katie is supporting Mondoweiss this month by donating $7 from every purchase on www.katiemiranda.com! Please go check it out and support Katie and Mondoweiss by purchasing something today.
In the latest message in our series, “Be The Mondoweiss Megaphone,” Editor-at-large Annie Robbins shares her inspiration for working to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “My hopes and dreams are that Palestine will be free. I strongly believe truth is the most effective weapon there is and the more people are exposed to it, the better it is for everyone.” Please help Mondoweiss raise $50,000 by July 15 to support a unique news operation that serves an amazing community of activists and thinkers.
Mondoweiss co-editor Adam Horowitz shares his personal story of becoming engaged in the Palestine solidarity movement as part of our “Be The Mondoweiss Megaphone” campaign. Please help us raise $50,000 to bring Mondoweiss to more thinking people, opinion leaders, policy-makers, and policy un-makers too!
Tzvia Thier, a teacher and school principal, has gone from being a fervent believer in the Zionist dream to wanting equal rights in Israel and Palestine. She tells her life story.
Kayla Blau writes a powerful reflection on attending a Birthright trip and then visiting her Palestinian childhood friend Aseel in East Jerusalem. She writes: “I am spinning, reciting how much propaganda we received, how my gut cringed at the irony of every IDF memorial. Aseel’s mother, Fatima, nods solemnly. Her brother, Noor, jumps up, “See! They have Holocaust museums and memorials at every corner, yet we are the victims of a modern day Holocaust! Where are the Palestinian memorials? Where do our tears go? Where are our bodies buried?” Noor’s question lingers like the stunned silence after the car bomb that night, definite and deflating. In the wake of hate crimes, Palestinians held hostage by the occupation, and unwarranted jailing, Aseel’s uncle sits with his five year old child and prays. He is forced to explain to his child why his brother was killed by Israeli soldiers at the same time my rabbi explains Jews must stay righteously committed to Israel.”