“Welcome to Israel, Mr. President.”

The White House may be downplaying Obama’s visit to Israel, but his 3-day tour through the holy land has presented Israel’s peace activists the opportunity to underscore their role in highlighting sentiment against the occupation. They bought large ads in today’s Ha Aretz and Jerusalem Post print versions.

Israel’s peace activists, you say?

Though you’d never know it from the paltry to non-existent coverage they receive in the American (and mainstream Western) press, Israel’s voice of opposition to conflict in the territories is impressive, well organized and replete with some heavy hitters (the best example being former IDF soldiers who make up Breaking the Silence).

In our newspapers, criticism about regional geopolitics abounds, but readers too often finish with the impression that Jewish Israelis themselves have little to say or do except complain about international scrutiny and fret about security. We might expect that newspapers claiming to give voice to the voiceless would make the effort to credit those who risk ostracisation and the wrath of their own brand of religous fanatics. The Israeli peace movement is good people doing something. It’s good material. It should be big news, but the biggest names in journalism rarely make mention of the country’s active protest. Not the New York Times, not The Guardian, not Le Monde. As if attempts to silence them on their home turf weren’t bad enough, some of the largest newspapers with the loudest horns essentially ignore the existence of Israel’s peace camp. How can that be an accident?

Well, The Guardian did offer a little chirp of attention several days ago. On the 17th they ran a link to the following film short, My Neighborhood, produced by the group Just Vision. Watch the film to get an idea of Israel’s activists in action and be sure to check out Just Vision’s website for news you’re unlikely to find in the New York Times.

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