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‘Dissidents like me depend on Mondoweiss’: an Israeli describes challenging apartheid from within

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HERE’S A GLIMPSE of life inside Israeli society—a culture that tolerates no dissent. A few years ago I taught a course at an engineering college in central Israel. The content was entirely technical, so of course politics never came up. But one week, I noticed that very few students showed up. And one who did come was flaunting an army beret—unusual for someone out of uniform.

Then, they stopped coming entirely. And when my student feedback came in after the term, one student was bold enough to write “This guy is against Israel, so I stopped going to class.”

I realized the students probably learned about me from Facebook pages that post photos of “traitors.” Both the absences and the IDF beret were intended to send me a message: If I won’t toe the line of supremacist ideology, I can be no part of Israeli society.

This kind of ostracism is standard for Israeli citizens who realize that our regime practices colonialism, apartheid and even a slow genocide (Gaza).  And the sense of utter isolation is why I’m writing to urge your support of Mondoweiss today.

The anti-apartheid camp in Israel is simply way too small. So we desperately need to communicate with the outside world. And for those who seek justice and full equality in Palestine/Israel, Mondoweiss empowers via information, commentary and action alerts.

In recent years, mainstream Israeli media has become more active in targeting specific Israeli dissidents and labeling them as “enemies of the people.” For example, the powerful news outlet Yedioth Aharonoth has been waging a crusade against BDS. They even partnered last year with the Israeli government to organize an international anti-BDS propaganda conference. Conference speakers threatened the BDS movement and Israelis who support it.

Or take actress Einat Weizman, who supports BDS and the Balad party. She has been vilified by Israeli politicians, and blacklisted by Israel’s leading, oh-so-tolerant and liberal theaters. In attempting to counter such orchestrated hate-campaigns, dissidents like me depend on Mondoweiss.

Israel’s 19th-century-style colonial project began too late in history, and it’s reached a dead end in the globally interconnected 21st century. In the long run, Israel cannot prevent the world from knowing too much about Israel. Young diaspora Jews, especially, will walk away from Zionism. Nevertheless, Israel tries hard to suppress information about its crimes. The Israeli army and settlers resort to petty harassment, threats or physical violence against those who document Israeli crimes. Mondoweiss’s reporting on these events is essential to the protection of citizen-journalists and human rights defenders.

Mondoweiss has also provided valuable coverage of hasbara, the techniques Israel and its supporters use to try to control public discourse. From the anti-Semitism card, to Whataboutery (“What about Syria? What about China? Why pick on Israel?”), to seemingly nuanced liberal Zionist shtick (“It’s complicated”), we are up against attempts to silence meaningful conversation on Palestine/Israel.

Mondoweiss has helped activists challenge important purveyors of liberal-Zionist ideology. Ha’aretz, for example, is revered for its columnists Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, but its editorial line has never endorsed full equality for the Palestinian people. Ha’aretz doesn’t cover Israel’s small anti-apartheid movement, to avoid being associated with the “delirious left”—a pejorative used even by liberal Zionists against advocates of full equality. And Ha’aretz consistently applies the toxic, defamatory label “terrorist” to Palestinians who attack armed Israeli forces in occupied territory.

Donate buttonProviding an alternative to Western media on Palestine/Israel might be Mondoweiss’s greatest contribution. Thanks to James North, Phil Weiss and others at Mondoweiss, we know how insidious the New York Times whitewashing of Israeli crimes has been. And thanks to Mondoweiss’s dogged persistence in covering the news, readers have information that is silenced elsewhere.

I’ve been to dozens of demonstrations in Israel/Palestine, and the only physical harm I’ve suffered was a few seconds’ burning sensation from a stun-grenade that hit my leg once. Over time I’ve developed a level of demo-burnout, and have stopped going to demonstrations. What is painful is knowing that Palestinians fighting Israel’s apartheid can’t tune out of reality in that way. Palestinians I know have experienced detention, beatings, house demolitions and even worse. I urge you to support Mondoweiss, as one of the few institutions that forces the world to recognize the injustice day in and day out.

Mondoweiss has facilitated an iconoclastic conversation on Palestine, Israel and Zionism. Mondoweiss has made it possible to discuss the Israel lobby in a serious manner, separating odious “Rothschild bankers” conspiracy theories from real facts about Zionist Jewish (and Christian!) forces in US politics.

Mondoweiss has given a stage to essential Palestinian voices. Mondoweiss has helped change the conversation in America. In short, Mondoweiss’s reporting is making a difference. Please join me in supporting Mondoweiss.

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Ofer Neiman

Neiman is an Israeli activist

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8 Responses

  1. JosephA on July 9, 2017, 2:10 am

    Ofer, thanks for bearing witness to this live tragedy. I am reminded of the book Goliath by Max Blumenthal.

  2. DaBakr on July 9, 2017, 2:17 am

    The author doesn’t consider the 20000-30000 European ngo’s workers (many of them extremely hostile to the its current government and some free top work as openly hostile to the idea of Zionism or Jews having sovereignty over their own historical and sacred sites) as well as 100s, maybe 1000s of reporters living very securely in Israel while taking air conditioned day trips to visit certain people in Gaza or Hebron to report on the so-called miserable lives that certain Palestinian people live, the author doesn’t consider that toleration of dissent. One sentence into this rant the agenda is obvious.

    Neiman is so ridiculous that he thanks mondoweiss and not the open system of our government to be the only way he can express dissent. Let’s see how good a job mw can do.’allowing’ dissenting voices out of North Korea, Iran and the other totalitarian regimes that claim to have freedom, especially of the press. Prove how brutal and intolerant Israel is compared to its enemies.

    At least admit that the anti-zionist movement has become (or learned from if that’s more acceptable to those here) better at professional hasbara, anti-israel hasbara, but hasbara nonetheless.

    • Mooser on July 9, 2017, 1:24 pm

      ” One sentence into this rant the agenda is obvious.”

      And that was the second sentence.

    • Eva Smagacz on July 10, 2017, 3:41 am

      You are showing your intolerance to dissent by trying to underline how lucky the dissidents are that they do not reside in North Korea.
      In truly democratic country majority does not feel obliged to point out their largesse in allowing minority opinions being voiced.
      Israel plummeted in the recent years in the press freedom index, and is currently 91/180.
      More tolerant countries are: Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Niger, Senegal and Madagascar.


      • eljay on July 10, 2017, 9:34 am

        Like all Zionists, The Baker predictably:
        – promotes Israel as a “moral beacon”, “light unto the nations” and “Western-style democracy” state; and
        – defends Israel as being less bad than “other totalitarian regimes”.

        If Israel were a rapist, The Baker would:
        – promote him as a law-abiding citizen and a role model; and
        – defend him as being less bad than serial killers and mass murderers.

      • m1945 on July 11, 2017, 3:02 pm

        Israeli doctors treat Syrians even though Israel & Syria are still technically at war.
        Israeli doctors treated Gazans while the war with Gaza was raging.

  3. Waterbuoy on July 10, 2017, 9:08 am


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