Last year when mega-activist and artist Katie Miranda introduced her free Palestine Solidarity tele-summit on action for Palestine, interviewing prominent leaders, activists and scholars in our movement, I subscribed immediately and her extraordinary online interviews, initiated to inspire listeners to take constructive action to end apartheid in Palestine began landing in my inbox.
Since then I’ve listened to dozens of her fantastic interviews. A few days ago, opening her email, I was surprised and excited to realize she had interviewed Mondoweiss’s very own Adam Horowitz.
Katie queried Adam for 30 minutes on a range of questions including his personal goals for our site, the evolution of Mondoweiss over the years, how he became involved in Palestine solidarity (a topic he recently wrote about in My journey from Zionism to Palestine solidarity as part of our Be The Mondoweiss Megaphone campaign).
And not only that, but Katie is supporting Mondoweiss this month by donating $7 from every purchase on www.katiemiranda.com! Please go check out her amazing jewelry and apparel and support Katie and Mondoweiss by purchasing something today.
Okay, back to the interview.
About half way through the interview (14:47) Katie asks Adam if he had any funny or weird stories on zionist pushback against Mondoweiss. Adam’s response didn’t surprise me:
One thing is this sort of idea of pushback and criticism being y’know — one of the ways that Phil and I work really well together is that neither of us really care very much about that. I think some people, a lot of people are really intimidated by that, which I understand and it really cows people into silence, which I understand. For whatever reason Phil and I just don’t really care about that so it’s never prevent us from saying or doing anything.
He expanded on a specific incident in the past when Mondoweiss was attacked for “misrepresenting Israeli society” which, for me, demonstrates how much our society has evolved so much over the last few years.
When we would cover instances of just outrageous Israeli racism…..we don’t get that anymore partly ..that face of Israelis society has become…more familiar, so that’s something that used to get us a lot of pushback that now doesn’t as much.
these pieces that we write about the privileged position that many American Jews have in American society and trying to have an honest discussion and an accounting of that privilege without getting into anti-Semitic caricatures or tropes but also not ignoring that American Jews do hold positions – some position of power in American society, and especially when it comes to the way that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is discussed and framed. The general audience is much more familiar with a Jewish perspective on that conflict than a Palestinian perspective on that conflict … and trying to untangle and talk about that sort of social power in American society which has then impacted the way that Americans view this conflict.
That discussion is a difficult discussion and that is something that we have always gotten push back on – we’ve gotten support, but we’ve also gotten pushback, it has started debates – I think they’ve been really fruitful debates but it doesn’t necessarily surprise me because that is a conversation that is considered beyond the pale in a lot of places and there isn’t really a place to have it.
This challenge to come to grips with Jewish privilege and Jewish power in society, that is a topic that continues to be challenging and that we continue to get pushback on but our job is to push that conversation … push some of those boundaries because it isn’t happening in other places. .
Katie said it was very difficult to talk about Jewish power, but also the issue of Jewish voices being prioritized in the discourse. She told a story about coming back from Palestine in 2006 and giving a presentation in the Bay Area about what was going on in Hebron. At that time people had “no idea” how bad it was there. Afterwards a man from Syria came up to her and said said
“Because you’re Jewish it lends credibility to what you’re saying” and this was before I became Muslin, it made me uncomfortable at the time and it still makes me uncomfortable.
That’s a comment that we get too. A dynamic we are always trying to handle. One of the ways that’s problematic is that Jewish voices do get prioritized on this topic, and we don’t support this reality. Mondowiess is viewed in many ways as a Jewish site, so we use that privilege to bring attention to voices that would be ignored but need to be part of this discussion, we try to use it to our advantage but it’s based on racism.
You can watch the whole video above, and don’t forget to visit www.katiemiranda.com!