Art, Music & Culture

Echoes of Ireland in Palestine: a review of Ken Loach's new film

Watching The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Ken Loach’s new feature film set mainly during the Irish Civil War in the early 1920’s, it is impossible not to make comparisons with contemporary events. Indeed Loach, whose film won the Palme D’Or at Cannes, has been quite explicit about his own view that the film is not merely an examination of the past, but a comment on the times we live in. Loach also recently announced his support for the call by Palestinian film-makers, artists and others to boycott state sponsored Israeli cultural institutions and acknowledged that “Palestinians are driven to call for this boycott after forty years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civilians.” 

Australian journalist's new book takes heat for posing "My Israel Question"

Sydney-based journalist and author Antony Loewenstein is used to controversy. On many occasions he has told of how his critical assessment of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a Jew has left him a pariah in family and social circles. This is unlikely to change anytime soon given that he spent the last couple of years penning the newly released My Israel Question, a self-critical consideration of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in a particularly Australian context. Loewenstein comes from “a liberal Jewish family” with parents he describes as once having been “unthinking Zionists”, who he later realised were simply uninformed because of their reliance on Jewish and mainstream press for their understanding of the conflict. 

A Brief Introduction to Palestinian Cinema at the Film Society of Lincoln Center

A number of provocative and insightful Palestinian films made in the last two decades have sought to capture the complexity of Palestinian history, culture and identity, using a wide variety of styles and genres. To celebrate the publication of Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema, the first English-language study of this movement, Columbia University Professor Hamid Dabashi, who edited this volume, will introduce the screening of Michel Khleifi’s Wedding in Galilee on Wednesday, September 27 (6 pm), providing a context for this and other groundbreaking works to be included in this brief series. 

Extended run of Dean Obeidallah's one-man comedy show in NYC!

The New York Arab-American Comedy Festival is happy to announce that Dean Obeidallah’s comedic one man show “I Come in Peace” will be playing for one more week after its recent successful run in the New York International Fringe Festival. Before 9/11, comedian Dean Obeidallah was living the typical white guy life. He hung out with his white friends and did generic white people stuff. Then 9/11 happened. Dean’s life would never be the same. What is it like to be an Arab-American with a Muslim last name after 9/11? Why did 9/11 transform Dean from a typical white guy to Super Arab? Is the Bush administration listening to his phone calls? Find out the answers to these questions and more in Dean’s comedic one man show “I Come in Peace.” 

Hurtling toward the Next Intifada: An Interview with Jonathan Cook

This is an edited version of an interview published in German in the newspaper Die Junge Welt on 1 July 2006 between Andrea Bistrich and the British journalist Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel, about his new book “Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish State” (Pluto Press) about Israel’s plans for the further dispossession of the Palestinians. The interview was conducted before Israel’s attack on Lebanon. Cook discusses his book, his views on Israel, Zionism, and Olmert’s “convergence” plans, and puts forward his views toward the future. 

Filmmaker Ken Loach Joins the Cultural Boycott of Israel

Ken Loach, the acclaimed British director and winner of this year’s Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival, an artist who is known for his politically and socially engaged films, has declared in a personal statement his support of “the call by Palestinian film-makers, artists and others to boycott state sponsored Israeli cultural institutions and urge[s] others to join their campaign”. He anounced that he would not take part in the “Haifa Film Festival or any other such occasions,” a clear statement of his intent to boycott Israeli film festivals, and an acknowledgment of the fact that “Palestinians are driven to call for this boycott after forty years of the occupation of their land, destruction of their homes and the kidnapping and murder of their civilians”. 

A war against art and culture

This past month, Lebanese artist Youssef Ghazzawi’s studio was destroyed by Israeli military bombardment for the third time in his life. The first time was in 1977 when his home in the southern Lebanese village of Khiam was severely bombed. And the second time was in 1983 during the Israeli occupation of Beirut; the apartment building he was living and working in collapsed due to continuous shelling. Under each barrage, his entire studio and most of its contents were destroyed. He had salvaged a few things from the previous two demolitions and was saving them. In the most recent destruction of Youssef’s studio his entire life’s output was lost. 

Music Video: "Hala" from rappers The N.O.M.A.D.S. and the Philistines

The N.O.M.A.D.S. (Notoriously Offensive Male Arabs Discussiing Sh*t) and The Philistines bring you quality hip-hop with a purpose and the video to their new track “Hala,” directed by JCON. Both groups co-sponsored and performed at the Free the P Hip-Hop and Slam Party in New York City earlier this year, which benefited Slingshot Hip-Hop, a documentary film that focuses on the daily life of Palestinian rappers living in Gaza, the West Bank and inside Israel. Based in the US, the groups are part of the growing Palestinian and Arab hip-hop phenomenon. 

Palestinian Filmmakers, Artists and Cultural Workers Call for a Cultural Boycott of Israel

We, the undersigned Palestinian filmmakers and artists, appeal to all artists and filmmakers of good conscience around the world to cancel all exhibitions and other cultural events that are scheduled to occur in Israel, to mobilize immediately and not allow the continuation of the Israeli offensive to breed complacency. Like the boycott of South African art institutions during apartheid, cultural workers must speak out against the current Israeli war crimes and atrocities. We call upon you to make your voices heard in calling for an end to this bloodshed and an end to this oppression that has lasted too long. 

Christianity in Palestine: Misrepresentation and Dispossession

“You are a Christian?” a foreign tourist inquires with marked disbelief of a Palestinian tour guide in Bethlehem. “When did you convert?” This response by foreigners, Christian or not, is unfortunately not uncommon in Palestine. Even in Bethlehem, the origin to which many trace the very roots of their Christian faith, this disbelief goes hand-in-hand with tourists’ visits to the Church of the Nativity — visits that seem to carry with them some image of a time long past with only archaeological or religious sites remaining with little consideration for the “living stones” that have continuously borne witness to this tradition for two millennia.