Just a few days left! Mondoweiss will receive a $100,000 challenge fund if we raise $100,000 from you and other Mondoweiss supporters by December 31.
Can you contribute now, in order to sustain and grow our independent coverage of Palestine? And read on below to understand why Mondoweiss writer Yarden Katz pays tribute to activist Jafar Farah. (If you’ve already made a gift this month, please accept our thanks.)
People like you and me want to spread the word broadly about injustice against Palestinians. We recognize these injustices are rooted in Israel’s system of Jewish and white supremacy. But in mainstream Israeli society, this system is rarely questioned—which is why I am inspired by those who find the strength to speak up, to name the system for what it is.
Earlier this year, you may have read a piece I translated for Mondoweiss: a portion of a discussion that took place in Tel Aviv, featuring the well-known Palestinian activist Jafar Farah and noted Jewish activists Yael Barda and Meron Rapoport. During the panel, an Israeli audience member confronted Jafar, raising talking points that you and other Mondoweiss readers are undoubtedly familiar with.
I decided to translate the exchange for you, and Mondoweiss chose to publish it, because Jafar gave such brilliant rejoinders—and his delivery of those words, in that Israeli-Jewish forum, was in itself a powerful act.
|Excerpts from Jafar’s comments:
My parents lived in Haifa and one day woke up and found that rather than 70,000 Palestinians they were merely 2,000. They try every day to rebuild themselves and deal with the trauma you’ve created for us….
It’s time that Tel-Aviv and Haifa and Netanya and all the cities that talk about “social justice” make the link between social justice and the occupation. It’s not only what happened in the past, it’s what’s happening today….
Let’s build a future that’s not based on lies, but on my willingness to recognize your need for self-determination and your recognition of mine. I’m not talking about rights here, but about recognizing each other’s needs.
Yet beyond delivering uncomfortable truths, Jafar sketched an alternative vision that resonated deeply with me. As a Jewish citizen of the state of Israel, I want to see the dismantling of the system that privileges people like me at the expense of others, and Jafar addressed this point. He spoke of the need to care for the well-being and freedoms of all the inhabitants of the Middle East, not just Israel-Palestine. Many of us are used to thinking of how Israeli state violence manifests differently for different people, like Palestinians who are citizens of Israel versus those who are not, or Palestinians living in the West Bank versus Gaza—which is crucial. But Jafar was also reminding us to also imagine more radical possibilities for the region as a whole.
Jafar’s words were so powerful that I wanted to make sure he was included in Mondoweiss’s year-end salute to ChangeMakers. If Jafar’s words moved you too, I urge you to give to Mondoweiss today so that we can all continue to follow these courageous acts of resistance.
Mondoweiss is an invaluable forum because it broadcasts these voices of real people fighting against oppression. The site’s commitment to social movements is crucial and provides an important counter to the corporate media’s presentation of Israel-Palestine. By covering the work and deliberations of activists, Mondoweiss enriches our picture of Palestine’s past and present, and helps us envision its future.
The panel in Tel Aviv also highlighted the rifts that emerge when radical Israeli Jews and Palestinians work together on politics. It is a necessary collaboration, but one that is not tension-free. That evening, the panelists, who are generally allies, entered heated debate over the fate of Jewish settlements. This showed again how, as the historian Robin D.G. Kelley observed, social movements generate new questions and knowledge – often surpassing what academics and pundits can provide.
It is those who drive these social movements who are creating the real change necessary for justice: people like Jafar, organizations like Mondoweiss, and readers and supporters like you. I’m proud to be able to contribute what I can to Mondoweiss, Mondoweiss reader, and if you also value the thousands of stories, photos and videos of change found on the site, please join me by making a contribution today. Your support will ensure this kind of reporting will grow in power and impact.
You know that in Israel/Palestine, the United States, and elsewhere, forces of repression are being resisted. And if you agree that forces for change must not only survive but grow and thrive, please make a gift today.