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Our 4th Mondo Awards judge: Joseph Dana, scholar, activist, tweeter, optimist

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It brings me great pleasure to announce our next judge in the Mondo Awards week contest, Joseph Dana, the American-Israeli journalist/activist/scholar who also serves as a media coordinator for the Popular Committees, organizing nonviolent actions across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Dana is a friend; he’s been a guide to me to Israeli culture. Anybody who knows his work can tell you that he is generous, patient and careful. And he’s a man of many parts. Though he’s gaining a big following on twitter, his work reflects the rigor of someone who has two Master’s degrees in Jewish history, from the Hebrew University and the Central European University of Budapest.

Dana is particularly inspiring to me because he has demonstrated such personal courage over the last few years. Recognizing that his society is in crisis, he has enlisted in the struggle to change it, and he has been willing to change himself in the process. I asked him how activism had changed him two months back and he wrote:

The last three years of activism have driven home a very important point which is that co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians which could form the basis of a one state solution is entirely possible and could be realized in the near future. I do not feel pessimistic about the future of the conflict, in fact, I feel the optimist about our ability to defeat the occupation via grassroots and unarmed joint struggle.

These ideas have come about through an intense personal engagement– constantly going out to demos as a journo, taking considerable personal risk, observing the conditions of Palestinian life, and most of all, working alongside Palestinians as a co-equal and friend. He has done this as a proud Jew with a thick connection to Jewish civilization in the Diaspora. He is, in short, a leader; and we’re grateful for his joining our judges team.

Joseph joins a stellar crew: Helena Cobban, Omar Barghouti, and Susan Abulhawa.

So: Get your submissions in now!

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