Over at Jewcy, Armin Rosen has written a gripping account of encountering vitriolic anti-Zionism as a journalist covering the Arab Spring in Tunisia. It’s frightening and fascinating:
As journalists, we were in Kasserine to probe the poignant banality of the places and people that launched the greatest wave of civil protest the modern Arab world has ever seen. The two labor organizers we were scheduled to interview were typical of the kind of activists who had helped the Sidi Bouzid protests go national...I wanted to like and respect these people. But my colleague and I would find this quite impossible. “Are you a Zionist?” the plumper of the two men asked us, before we could even get a question in. If we were, the interview was off. My journalist friend had interviewed members of Hezbollah—actual terrorists, in other words—and they had never asked him such a question...“We’re not only against normalizing with Israel, “the balder one said. “We’re for criminalizing normalization with Israel… Being with Israel, or even thinking of normalizing with Israel, is almost like holding a Kalishnakov and shooting a Tunisian citizen.”Now nothing feels more dishonest than mindlessly nodding along to something that I privately consider to be poisonous nonsense, but it’s a position that only the most timid of journalists will never find themselves in. When this happens, you know you’re not in immediate physical danger or anything, but you can feel the tension rise as your conscience bristles, and as your own self-censorship becomes a very real part of the news-gathering process. Will I give anything away? I wondered. Am I about to be angrily expelled from this office—from this town perhaps? The answers to these questions were “no” and “probably not,” but the discomfort was tangible.