Today, we are honored to share a message from Lesley Williams, a contributor to Mondoweiss (most recently here and here) whose impressive activist bio is at the bottom of this post. Lesley’s message today comes as we gather momentum in the year-end fundraising campaign for Mondoweiss. As of now, on the third official day of our drive, we are more than one-third of the way to our goal.
But we can only achieve this goal with your help!
Here’s Lesley, to tell you Why Mondoweiss.
In July of 2016 I joined a delegation from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence for solidarity work in the West Bank. For years I had been a soggy middle-of-the-roader about Israel. As a Jew-by-Choice, I didn’t feel that I was authorized to question, to criticize Zionism.
There was so little in my universe that did: among my friends, my synagogue, or anything I read in even the most liberal and progressive news outlets. But after the Gaza wars of 2008-09 and 2014, the contradictions became too difficult to ignore. I wanted to learn more for myself, in person.
And learn I did on that 2016 trip. It was at times a grim experience, but there were moments of pure joy, like the sunny afternoon a group of young Jewish adults and Palestinian kids painted a peace mural on the wall of the Umm al-heir community center. The horrors and delights of that visit continue to shape me to the deepest core of my being, and that’s why I am writing on behalf of Mondoweiss today: we urgently need the news Mondoweiss reports in order to multiply the impact of seeing Palestine in person.
Barely a week after our visit, the Israeli military bulldozed the building, as well as several of our friends’ homes. On vacation in the U.S. with my extended family at the time, I was living a weirdly bifurcated existence: sunshine and beach and children’s games near me, while my head was turbulently spinning with anguished images of destruction and grief in Umm al-heir.
That August was the Shabbat Against Demolitions, when anti-Occupation Jewish groups banded together to mourn the lost homes and livelihoods across the West Bank and to lobby the State Department and Congress to halt the ongoing destruction. Anxiously I would scan the news headlines from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, only to see nary a mention of the heart-breaking chaos my Palestinian friends were undergoing.
When my puzzled family would ask why I was so upset I would tearfully reply, “I feel as though I’m in the middle of a war that no one else can see.”
Well, Mondoweiss sees it. Mondoweiss has consistently reported on the crime of Palestinian home demolitions: in Susya Um, al-Kheir and al-Hiran, in Al Aqaba and just this week in east Jerusalem. I am grateful to Mondoweiss for covering the events that must be broadcast far and wide, and I appreciate all the readers like you, whose donations make this work possible.
When I was searching for news stories for my family to explain what was happening in Palestine, Mondoweiss was the perfect solution: concise, well-written and authoritative stories that brought home the tragedy of home demolitions, and the unspeakable brutality and inhumanity of the occupation.
One of the most frustrating aspects of advocating for Palestine is how Palestinians are dehumanized, their pain ignored or glossed over by most American news outlets. It’s hard not to feel gaslighted, soul-deadened, as though somehow these injustices are all in your head.
Mondoweiss keeps me sane, and grounded in reality. It reminds me to keep seeing the people of Palestine, even when powerful institutions like our Congress, and our president and AIPAC would rather I didn’t.
That’s why I support Mondoweiss, and why I am asking you today to support it as well. We need that voice, that relentless spotlight on injustice to keep us all sane, and to keep us focused on justice.
Please give, so that the world continues to learn of the children of Umm al-heir, Sheikh Jarrah, Gaza City and so many more. Please donate today, to ensure that vital news continues to flow to readers around the globe.
Sincerely and in hope,
P.S. I believe with all my heart that we can only achieve justice if we shout the truth, over and over. Mondoweiss does that, and needs our support to keep pushing for a better world. Please join me in investing in Mondoweiss, the megaphone that lets the world hear our shouting.