Art, Music & Culture

"Munich": Spielberg's thrilling crisis of conscience

Maureen Clare Murphy
14 January 2006

”What’s going on in that head and that mind?” an American news commentator asks during a montage of media reports on the kidnapping of eleven Israeli athletes by the Palestinian Black September group. The astonished newsman is questioning the Palestinian hostage takers who end up murdering their eleven captors during Germany’s botched rescue attempt. But Munich’s director Steven Spielberg, for now, is more interested in what’s going on in the mind of the Israeli agent in charge of the state’s response to the Munich killings. However, whether we really get into the minds of the unlikely group of Israeli Mossad agents who are assembled by Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir to avenge the killings is debatable. It is mostly Spielberg’s moral dilemmas that we access, but not all the questions necessary to resolving his moral dilemma are posed.

Paradise Now nominated for Golden Globes

Arjan El Fassed
14 December 2005

Yesterday at the Beverly Hilton, the motion picture ‘Paradise Now’ was nominated in the best foreign language film category for the 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards. The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards will take place Monday, January 16, 2006, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with a live telecast airing on NBC. Last week, Philip Berk, President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that sixty foreign language films have been qualified for the 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards. Earlier this week, it was announced that the film is a finalist for the Broadcast Film Critics Association award and has won the National Board of Review award.

New documentary a family tale older than Israel itself

Jim Quilty
2 December 2005

Nizar Hassan’s latest documentary is a hybrid. Part oral history project, part detective story, Karem Abou Khalil (Abou Khalil Grove) tells one Palestinian family’s history from the Ottoman to the Israeli periods. It’s also an amused study of misplaced premises and faulty representation. It’s not a story of burning tires and bulldozed houses - a la Ijtiah, Hassan’s 2002 documentary on the Jenin invasion. It’s a family tale older than Israel, though its telling is fenced in by the tense courtesy of life under Israeli domination.

Alharam (Sidna Ali) in the Memory of Herzliya

Eytan Bronstein and
Norma Mosih
25 November 2005

”Beit Rishonim” (Founders’ House) in Herzliya is a museum that preserves and exhibits the history of the town that was founded as a pioneer settlement in 1924. The museum glorifies the founders who did not admit defeat despite the numerous hardships they faced. The museum holds mounted displays, spot-lit photographs and books that tell the story of the settlement that became a city. Some of the items also depict the pioneers’ Arab neighbors in the early days. These were residents of the villages Alharam (Sidna Ali), Ijlil, Abu Kishek and other Bedouin communities. I will try to interpret the museum’s position toward these local Arab residents through the pictures displayed in the museum, their captions, and some of the written texts.

Israel's uglier face reared towards its Palestinain citizens

Avigail Abarbanel
17 November 2005

Susan Nathan’s new book The Other Side of Israel: My Journey Across the Jewish/Arab Divide recalls her recent experience of making Aliya to Israel, claiming her right to immediate citizenship according to the Israeli law of return. Growing up in a Zionist home and having had more than one or two experiences of antisemitism, Nathan is at first enchanted with Zionism and in love with the idea of the State of Israel and what she believes it represents. However, it isn’t long before that bubble bursts and she begins to see the less than ideal reality of Israel.

Givers and Takers: The case of international aid to Palestine

Stuart Reigeluth
10 November 2005

The greatest cause of contemporary Palestinian poverty is, without a doubt, the overwhelming Israeli occupation. International aid has played a pivotal role in attempting to alleviate this recent phenomenon, but many questions persist. Who gives such large amounts of financial assistance to the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT) and who takes from the Palestinian people? What are the donors’ motivations for these monetary injections and how effective has the implementation of these funds been? And why does foreign aid continue to increase while the Palestinian economy continues to stagnate? Such questions are tackled in the new book Aid, Diplomacy and Facts on the Ground; the Case of Palestine.

3rd Annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival kicks off this month!

1 November 2005

Organizers behind the groundbreaking New York Arab American Comedy Festival (NYAACF) recently announced plans for the 3rd Annual Festival, which will take place from November 13th–17th , 2005. More than ever, this year’s event promises to provide entertainment that is funny, uniquely original and   politically insightful.  No topic is off-limits as the theater pieces comedically tackle such topics as Palestine, intercultural fear of Arab terrorists, how to be a “real Arab,” and a comedic musical about religious fundamentalism and President Bush.

More Academy Resistance to Films From or About Palestine?

23 October 2005

Despite international acclaim and recognition, the California-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has disqualified the Italian submission for the 2005 Oscars due to complications that challenge the Academy’s foreign language regulations. The film, Private, was written and directed by Italian Saverio Costanzo, and produced by an Italian crew, in association with Italian-based Rai Cinema, Instituto de Luce, Offside and Cydonia. The drama, which has been hailed as a courageous and optimistic look at the Middle East situation and features a groundbreaking cooperative Palestinian and Israeli cast, was shot primarily in Arabic and Hebrew.

FREE THE P! Palestine Takes NYC's East Village by Storm

Remi Kanazi
17 October 2005

As I walk down the darkened staircase into a muggy basement in this lower eastside dive bar, a scruffily bearded supporter smiles and waves a four-foot wide Palestinian flag. The chatter begins as the room fills with anxious people awaiting the show. The young crowd came out to support Free the P, the new CD compilation of “hip-hop and spoken word, dedicated to the youth of Palestine.” The proceeds will go to Slingshot Hip-hop, “a documentary film that focuses on the daily life of Palestinian rappers living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel.” Within moments, our hostess, Arab-American comedienne Maysoon Zayid, takes the ground level, makeshift stage and gets the crowd going with her dry, political humor.

Selling colonialism

Anthony Loewstedt
13 October 2005

Kingdom of Heaven, directed by Sir Ridley Scott and starring Orlando Bloom, Jeremy Irons, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, has now been released on DVD (20th Century Fox). Watching this Hollywood extravaganza is like seeing the current Iraq war through the eyes of an American soldier, or a portrait of apartheid from the point of view of a rich white South African farmer, or a depiction of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank from the perspective of a Jewish settler. It is also like the foreign news in the quality U.S. and British news media today: no direct or conscious lies, but extremely one-sided. In end effect, it has all the historicity of an early cowboys-and-Indians-movie or Birth of a Nation, the infamous 1916 film that sympathizes with the Ku Klux Klan.

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