Jul 16, 2023
Mondoweiss was founded by Phil Weiss, a career journalist, while he was on staff at The New York Observer.
In 2006 a wealthy young man named Jared Kushner bought the Observer. After tolerating Phil’s writing on Israel for a brief period, Phil was forced out by Kushner, but he was allowed to keep his blog.
Phil is a magnanimous guy and he credits Kushner with freeing him from the world of mainstream journalism to pursue his interest in Israel and the fascination with it that much of American Jewish society clings to.
We get asked a lot about the name of the site, Mondoweiss. It was the name of the blog version when it was hosted at the Observer and Phil kept it when he left.
One definition of the word “mondo” is “very, or extremely”. So the name “Mondoweiss” was meant as a lighthearted joke that the site would be “extremely Weiss”, because initially Phil was the only author.
But the site has grown and evolved into a full-fledged news and analysis publication with staff in the United States and Palestine. We are one of the only U.S.-based publications with a full Palestine news bureau and not simply one reporter in the region.
So Jared Kushner might have hoped to prevent Phil from gaining an audience for critical takes on Israel, Zionism, and the American Jewish community, but instead he helped launch an important media outlet in the struggle for Palestinian freedom.
This episode of the podcast features an extended interview with Phil, conducted by Miko Peled, the veteran Israeli anti-occupation campaigner. They discuss the origins of Mondoweiss, how Zionism destroyed American Jewish culture, and many other topics. It was originally published on Miko’s podcast in January of this year in three parts. We are excited to share it with you here in one program.
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