Lethal Journalism Made Simone Zimmerman
It’s worth taking a deeper look at Simone Zimmerman. She’s the woman who was appointed, for a few days, to perform Jewish outreach for the Sanders campaign. +972 Magazine has just published a long interview with her, here’s their introduction:
Simone Zimmerman has become an inspiring figure for American Jewish progressives in recent months — and a boogey-woman for the Right.
When the Bernie Sanders campaign fired her over a Facebook post — in which she used some “colorful language” to describe the Israeli prime minister — she became one of this campaign season’s proxy battles in the ongoing Jewish argument over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We sat down with Simone earlier this month for her first interview since being fired from the campaign, where she reveals exactly what took place inside the campaign, the right-wing attack that targeted her, and how the campaign was caught off-guard by the way “the Jewish establishment pounces on [its] youth who dare to say something different.”
I wanted to draw a few messages from it. Lex and others have written at length about US campuses and the tensions drawing US Jewish kids toward views such as those held by Simone. Hillel in particular (which Lex has criticised strongly) plays a part in sending her away from understanding Jewish Israel. I think we can see a big part of what happened from this sentence in +972’s introduction:
But like many in her generation, it was Israel’s recent wars in Gaza that drove Simone to step further away from the mainstream American Jewry’s often-blind support for Israel and begin actively oppose the occupation and Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.
There’s a giant elephant hiding in that sentence. Read it again and see if you know what it is before I continue.
Here’s the elephant: it wasn’t Israel’s recent wars in Gaza that drove her “to step further away from the mainstream American Jewry’s often-blind support for Israel”. It was her remote perception of the wars filtered through the lens of lethal journalism.
She had been in Israel during Cast Lead, she’d even gone camping in the “West Bank” not understanding geography, but she’d not yet been exposed to non-stop lethal journalism.
It seems her path to that dark side started after the war when she arrived in Berkely: “I started reading Ha’aretz”; attended “a major BDS debate”; and was “hearing Palestinians tell their stories”. The start of the second part of her recorded interview is highly instructive. Peter Beinart’s writing features at a big turning point allowing Simone to feel she wasn’t alone: giving her a movement to become a part of. That preceded a trip to Israel with Hillel.
The Goldstone Report also played a part: no mention of it’s author’s humiliating withdrawal, by the time that came it was too late for Simone. Remember, it was the repudiation of the Goldstone Report by Judge Goldstone himself that had such a huge effect on Roseanne Barr turning her completely in the opposite direction Simone took.
Israellycool readers know just how many of these stories she heard are at least massively exaggerated and in many cases completely made up. That’s just something we’ve shown time and time again. A recent Israeli Channel 10 (not “right wing”) investigation of Breaking the Silence is typical and enough to see this. Our side is quick to admit there is hardship for Arabs, their side is certain never to mention ongoing Arab murderous attacks on us. For better or worse, we’re wedded to the truth and facts: they’re using stories and emotion without a need to bring truth.
The lethal journalism which comes from both elite media and partisan or hate sites like +972, Mondoweis and Electronic Intifada become the primary source of information for people like Simone.
Once those sources have hooked her in, the foreign government funded lying NGO’s like B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence step in to organise tours and feed “the narratives” which these kids have been primed to believe. They’ve bought the indoctrination and now believe the media and main stream politics is run by a shadowy Jewish Lobby which only presents Israel in a positive light.
At the core of all the hardship stories she believes is a replacement ideology of Muslim Arabs as the new Jews. This replacement ideology is stealing our Jewish identity with their fake and invented “Arab Palestinian” claims to obviously Jewish lands. This “Palestinianised” narrative is fed by well funded NGOs into every elite news agency in Israel for their stamp of official approval and then amplified and twisted by the same NGOs out to this lost generation of Jewish youth.
I can’t leave without offering an answer. Just repeating facts and exposing lies isn’t enough. It’s necessary, of course, because it’s a vital weapon in our arsenal. But we need to hit back harder than ever with our own identity story. This Jewish identity story, as has been explained here at Israellycool for a few years, is blind to that nonsense crayon line from 1948 that people like Simone obsess over.
It’s our Jewish story, the one Ryan Bellerose points out to us.
The story that keeps Jews here and Jews coming here.
It’s the story Jews and Christians feel when we step off the plane at Ben Gurion or step back in time in the tunnels under Jerusalem. It is both baked into our DNA and bigger than our DNA. It is part of our consciousness and souls.
Israel is Jewish and Jews are Israel.