Art, Music & Culture

Two new Israeli documentaries explore the moral failure of Zionism

Two new Israeli films that premiered at this month’s Jerusalem Film Festival explore the moral failure that is inherent in Zionism. In the biographical documentary The Diaries of Yossef Nachmany, the Zionist leader largely responsible for the Judaization of the Galilee in the years leading up to the State of Israel is portrayed as conflicted by the ultimate consequence of Zionism — the expulsion and suffering of the indigenous Palestinian population. And in the important documentary Dear Father, Quiet, We’re Shooting … , we see that the Zionist enterprise is spiralling so far out of control that Israeli citizens are being made to collectively pay for the ideology of the extreme minority. 

Book review: "The One-State Solution"

As Israel’s apartheid wall colonizes 30-40 percent more of the 22 percent of Palestine that remains, an increasing number of analysts, activists, and academics have begun to challenge the two-state solution designed to bring an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With Palestinians eventually ending up with only 12-15 percent of their land, made up of disjointed ghettoes over which they will have no sovereignty- a single, secular polity that would encompass both Israel and the Occupied Territories is looking increasingly attractive. The One-State Solution written by Virginia Tilley, associate professor of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, lucidly demonstrates why the two-state model “is an idea whose time has passed”. 

Where There's the Ghetto, There's Hip Hop

Lid, an industrial pauperized city, not far from Israel’s Ben Gurion airport. Not a likely place for vistors and tourists to pass by. Lid faces the same problems as most metropoles and cities all over this world: drugs, pollution, unemployment, gangs, racism and violence. This is the dark side of Israel, the “only democracy in the Middle East,” with its own black minority: the Palestinians who stayed after the Nakba in 1948. Lid is the home base of Israel’s first and best Palestinian Hip Hop band DAM (“Da Arabic Microphone Controllers”). DAM started to perform in 1998 and steadily built a reputation in Israel and abroad. They played in Europe and released a song with the French Algerian group MBS

Hany Abu-Assad key guest at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam

The Dutch-Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad (1961, Nazareth) will be the key guest at the 18th IDFA. In this year’s Top 10, Hany Abu-Assad will present his favourite documentaries, and the festival will screen his own films as well. Hany Abu-Assad achieved international renown with films such as Nazareth 2000 (2000), Rana’s Wedding (2002) and the much talked-about documentary Ford Transit (2002). In 1991, he came to IDFA for the first time as a debuting director’s assistant on Rashid Masharawi’s Dar o Dur (1991, Palestine), which was screened that year in the Palestine-Israel Retrospective. His most recent film, Paradise Now (2005), won several prizes at the Berlin Film Festival this past February. 

FAST T-shirt contest deadline on June 10th

On Friday, June 17, 2005 the National ‘Back to Israel’ Day will take place in Israel. The National ‘Back to Israel’ day: Saving Israel’s Democracy by Fighting the Occupation will create a central stage for all of Israel’s civic organizations delivering the key message to the broad public: Israel’s democracy is at risk due to the occupation. The coalition of pro-peace and human rights organizations in Israel got together to celebrate the value of democracy and its contribution to the Israeli public at-large. F.A.S.T. (the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory) has decided to help the coalition of -peace and human rights organizations in Israel and to promote the T-shirt contest of the National ‘Back to Israel’ Day. 

Book Review: Sabra and Shatila 1982

Day and night, for three days in September 1982, a massacre took place in Sabra Street and Shatila refugee camp in a popular residential area of Lebanon’s capital Beirut. Even today, few people are aware of the scale and extent of the killings that took place for 43 consecutive hours some 23 years ago. Palestinians were the target of this massacre, but they were not the only victims. Arabs of other nationalities, Turks, Bangladeshis and Iranians were also killed in their homes, in the streets, or marched to Sports City where they were shot in hastily-dug death pits. 

Birzeit's Virtual Gallery: The university's latest means of cultural exchange

This spring Palestine’s Birzeit University launched its latest means of cultural exchange. The new Paltel Virtual Gallery, which serves as an Internet portal for Birzeit students, Palestinians, and anyone else interested in Palestinian art, will also feature academic courses on Palestinian, Arab, and contemporary international art. In addition to highlighting a different Palestinian artist each month, the multiple functions of the bilingual Paltel Virtual Gallery intend to serve both those curious about Palestinian art, as well as Palestinians thirsting for more exposure to international art, which doesn’t enjoy a high priority in Palestinian schools. 

ADC Praises Representation of Arabs, Muslims in "Kingdom of Heaven"

The American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) today praised the portrayal of Arabs and Muslims in the Kingdom of Heaven, a film about the Crusades, which will be opening nationwide on May 6. Last night, ADC staff attended a private advance screening of this new film by Sir Ridley Scott and offers the following comments. Kingdom of Heaven is an epic-scale historical drama inspired by the events of the third Crusade of the 12th century and is based on real characters, including Balian of Ibelin, a Crusader knight, and Salah El Din (Saladin), the renowned Muslim leader. 

Film review: "Rainbow"

“Hearing is not like seeing and seeing is different from living the experience,” reflects Shehada’s mother about life in Rafah. And for a week in May 2004, that experience worsened as Israeli forces pushed forward with “Operation Rainbow,” killing 45 Palestinians, 38 of them civilians including nine children. “The only thing we can do is pray to God.” This overwhelmingly distraught sentiment runs throughout Shehada’s newest documentary Rainbow (2004), which examines first hand the devastating effects of the events of May 13-May 20th. However, this film is not a documentary in the traditional sense — from the perspective of an outsider looking in. 

Film review: "The Eternal Dance"

The Eternal Dance (2003), the second film directed by noted Palestinian actress Hiam Abbas (Satin Rouge, Door to the Sun), is the beautifully poetic story of coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. Just shy of thirty minutes, each short scene commands heartfelt performances that tenderly reveal the emotion that death leaves in its wake. While on the surface the plot is simple, The Eternal Dance reveals itself to be much more. The Eternal Dance at times feels more like a stage play than a film, but this is not a bad thing. Every suggestive movement, silence and gesture builds to create an unforgettable film dealing with a highly significant subject.