As an Israeli Jew who opposes Israel’s systematic oppression of Palestinians, I appreciate Mondoweiss immensely. The site connects me with others, who like myself, want equal rights for all. It also serves as a platform for the Palestinian grassroots activists I work to support, as they work to free Palestine.
This year, when I responded to the call of Gaza activists and joined the Great March of Return with other Israeli activists under the banner “Return Solidarity,” I was surprised that our actions were not picked up by the mainstream media. Our movement grew, but journalists we contacted failed to show up. We were being stonewalled.
Those of us who went to the Gaza fence this year were inspired by the courageous Palestinian mass mobilization. This is like the origin of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) when my activism began in the West Bank 18 years ago, in response to the Second Intifada.
The Israeli military responded to both the Intifada and the Great March of Return in the same way. By systematically murdering unarmed Palestinian demonstrators. And in both cases the official bodies of the international community stood by and continued doing business with Israel as usual.
But in those first months of the second intifada, Israeli protests were a novelty and the mainstream media swarmed to us. Journalists covered my actions who would not interview the Palestinians I was there to support. My access to the media is part of the privilege I hold as a white, Ashkenazi Jew living in a white supremacist system. And I’m sure part of the reason we got coverage was that journalists who fear being called anti-Semitic consider covering Israeli and international activists safer than reporting on Palestinians.
By contrast, “Return Solidarity” is being ignored by all but a few. Those few include Mondoweiss, to our gratitude and the good fortune of readers everywhere. Along with activists such as videographer Haim Schwarzenberg and Jewish Voice for Peace, Mondoweiss enables our message to reach many thousands of people around the globe despite the mainstream news blockade.
It took me time to understand why a growing movement of Israelis struggling together with Palestinians was being ignored. A journalist friend explained to me it was because of our message supporting the Right of Return. If we called just for lifting of the medieval siege of Gaza we would get covered.
This silencing enables people who consider themselves leftists to support continued ethnic cleansing by claiming that the Right of Return is “impractical.” Thanks to the media’s self-censorship, such people never have to admit their assumption that Jewish discomfort is real and should be avoided but Palestinian suffering doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter. They don’t need to consider whether it is it “impractical” to keep millions of people as refugees barred from their homeland—and kill whoever attempts to return.
If not for Mondoweiss and others who share our commitment to a just peace in Palestine, our new movement of “Return Solidarity” would be dancing in the dark. But Mondoweiss strikes blows that make cracks in the English-speaking world’s stone wall of silence about Israeli colonialism and apartheid.
I am grateful for Mondoweiss, and I consider it essential reading for anyone wanting access to more than what the mainstream is allowed to tell you.
P.S. I hope you agree with me that Mondoweiss provides a vital service to counter how the mainstream press has rendered invisible and irrelevant the plight of over 7.2 million people who were expelled and are still denied access to their homeland. Yes, we need Mondoweiss—and for the site to continue delivering the stories and images suppressed elsewhere, you and I must invest in its capacity. Please give today.