Category Archives:
Personal Journeys

To my mother and her beloved Jerusalem

Aida Qasim on

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, “My mother stood wailing near the television screen as though intent on entering the box and rearranging the scenes. The defeat of the Arab armies of the Six-Day War and ensuing occupation of her beloved Jerusalem unraveled her like a forgotten sweater that had not been mothballed. My three-year-old self looked on, frightened and yet mesmerized by the histrionics of this strange woman who up until then had been my anchor.”

Days after our wedding, my husband Faisal and I hid in a Ramallah basement — Iris Keltz remembers ’67

Iris Keltz on

Iris Keltz relates: “Forced to wait three days for a visa allowing me to cross the U.N. checkpoint into Jerusalem, Israel–– gave me the chance to meet a handsome young Palestinian poet, musician, and world traveler. After a whirlwind courtship of less than three weeks, we married and were planning a honeymoon when war broke out. The day Israeli soldiers barged into a basement apartment in Ramallah where were hiding, I was afraid––afraid for my life, afraid the soldiers would not recognize me as Jewish, and surprised these Jewish soldiers invoked such terror. I meant to cry out, “I’m Jewish, American, and these are my friends.” But I spoke no Hebrew, and they spoke no English, so I remained silent. My silence that day inspired me to write this book.” Her memoir, “Unexpected Bride: In the Promised Land” was published earlier this year.

Beyond apartheid: Fragments from the West Bank

Yarden Katz on

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.”

The dispossessed

Howard Cohen on

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: “He had used the word killed, it was me who had used the word murder, but the words were irrelevant at this moment. He wasn’t interested in making a political statement to me, he was making an existential one. That was clear enough. ‘You see it’s so difficult for me,’ he went on, wiping away the tears that had welled up at the corner of his eyes and which threatened to stream down his face. ‘Everything was under the rubble. I even had a workbook for the class but that too was under the rubble together with my ID card and all our other belongings. They didn’t give us any time to leave. They bulldozed the house with all of our possessions in it. I’m trying to return to my studies. It’s important for me to continue, in spite of everything. But it’s so difficult for me. My head just isn’t there. And it’s going to be difficult for me to attend all the classes and prepare for the presentation.'”

How I got over the Milk-and-Honey-and-Chosen-People place

Menucha Sara, bat Eliyahu on

“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.

What brought you to be critical of Israel?

Jonathan Ofir on

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.”

My journey from loss to empathy to action

Robyn Brown on

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 went from Bar Mitzvah to BDS at Temple Emanu-el

Rob Bryan on

“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

Germany comes face to face with ‘a Jew against Zionism’

Lillian Rosengarten on

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.

My Political Epiphany: At no time has our collective engagement been more urgently needed

Cathy Sultan on

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.

‘I finally belonged somewhere’: How knowing Palestine has made me a better person

Pam Bailey on

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.

Why Hope Springs Eternal: ‘If I Can Make This Journey, Anyone Can.’

Robert Lord on

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.

My journey from Zionism to Palestine solidarity

Adam Horowitz on

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!

My personal journey of transformation

Tzvia Thier on

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.

The journey from ‘birthright’ to Palestine

Kayla Blau on

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.”

My personal BDS

Uri Horesh on

Within the course of my academic work as a linguist who researches Arabic dialects, I was recently asked by a colleague at an Israeli university if I would be willing to answer a few questions that a couple of her students had while writing a paper. Though I am committed to the Boycott, Divestment and […]

Michael Ratner’s journey away from Zionism

Philip Weiss on

This is an amazing interview about Jewish identity and Zionism, in which Michael Ratner answers questions from Paul Jay at the Real News. I can’t say enough about the human rights lawyer’s remarks as a model of transparent reflection and struggle. His sense of accountability are an answer to anyone who says that Zionism is dyed […]

Another Jew describes his journey away from Zionism

Philip Weiss on

Another Jew walks away from Zionism, but it’s in the English press not the American press. This rambling, charming piece by Wayne Myers, formerly a vehement campus supporter of Israel who wanted to move there, was published in the Independent with an overwhelming number of readers approving the message. I’ve excerpted several of musician Myers’s […]

The neocons’ post-9/11 Jewish journey (and mine)

Jack Ross on

The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has come and gone. But in the commemoration of those attacks, under the radar of the inevitable jingoism and cynical emotional appeals, a more disturbing phenomenon lurks still: the neoconservatives, new to public attention, if not to power, in the wake of the attacks, have used the anniversary […]