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"1913: Seeds of Conflict" Resituates the Israeli-Palestinian Divide

Subtitle: 
How Things First Went Wrong in Palestine

1913: Seeds of Conflict, How Things First Went Wrong in Palestine

Reviewed by Rachel Tie Morrisson 

In July of 2014, hostilities erupted between Israel and Gaza, leading to three months of violence, bombing, and the deaths of thousands. It began with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, prompting Israel to go after several Hamas fighters, who were assassinated in Gaza. Hamas responded by breaking the official ceasefire with a barrage of missiles fired into southern Israel, which in turn responded with a seven-week military offensive. Though Egypt brokered a ceasefire in August, the violence continued throughout October.*

While the kidnapping and murder of a country's youth is certainly a serious offense, that such an event could precipitate an entire season of war is striking. Yet, as writer and director Ben Loeterman argues in 1913: Seeds of Conflict (screened at the Levantine Cultural Center/The Markaz on June 17, 2015), it is not always ancient feuds or inherent cultural clashes that bring about violence, but a single event that can unleash seething tensions in extraordinary and destructive ways.

Director Ben Loeterman: in conversation with Jordan ElgrablyDirector Ben Loeterman: in conversation with Jordan ElgrablyThe film aims to explain the current Israel/Palestine conflict by locating its roots. Countering the prevailing notion that there is an "ancient grudge" between Israelis and Palestinians, the 57-minute film posits that waves of Eastern-European Jewish immigrants to the Promised Land in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century created a pressure cooker of mistrust and violence that would ultimately lead to the reality we know today.

Where Are the Cows? Review of "The Wanted 18"

Bovine Security Threat to Israel Documented in The Wanted 18

Bruce Hoffman on How Terrorism In the Middle East Started With the Jews

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jul 29 2015 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$5 students/seniors
café open 7:00-9:00 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
The Markaz
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
Street parking
Subtitle: 
The Struggle for Israel, 1917-1947

Terrorism in the Middle East—who started it? Notes critic Adam Kirsch, "Today, the phrase 'Palestinian terrorism' immediately conjures up Arab violence against Jews-suicide bombings in buses or restaurants, Hamas rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. Seventy years ago, however, a reader who encountered those words in a headline would have thought of terrorism not against Jews but by them."

The Kirkus Reviews calls Bruce Hoffman's Anonymous Soldiers, The Struggle for Israel 1917-1947, "An authoritative, sweeping, important history that shows how terrorism 'is neither irrational nor desperate but instead entirely rational and often carefully calculated and choreographed.' 

Tablet headlined the book, "Israel, the Original Terrorist State."

BRUCE HOFFMAN is the director of the Center for Security Studies and director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and a Senior Fellow at the U.S. Military Academy's Combating Terrorism Center. His previous books include Inside Terrorism (1998), and The Failure of British Military Strategy within Palestine, 1939-1947 (1983). 

Max Blumenthal on Gaza and Israel's Rightward Drift

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jul 8 2015 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$5 students/seniors
café open 7:00-9:00 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
The Markaz
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega and Fairfax
Street parking
Subtitle: 
In Conversation with Hamid Khan on Racism, Policing and Militarism in America and Israel

The Kirkus Reviews call Max Blumenthal's new book, "An alarming report on Israel's devastating 2014 attack on Gaza...Explosive, pull-no-punches reporting that is certain to stir controversy." As Rod Such writes in his review for the Electronic Intifada, "Max Blumenthal's The 51-Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza will not be well received by the US corporate media. The reasons are apparent in the very title. It's a 51-day war, not a 50-day war as The New York Times and other corporate media repeatedly say. For the Times, 50 days means the war started on 8 July, when Hamas' military wing fired rockets into southern Israel, not on 7 July, when Israel, as even some Israeli media acknowledge, broke its ceasefire agreement with Hamas by killing seven of its members in an air strike. The difference of a day is the difference between portraying Hamas as the aggressor and Israel as acting in self-defense or acknowledging that Israel was the aggressor and Hamas acted in self-defense."

Max Blumenthal will talk about his new book and Israel's continuing rightward drift, and will discuss racism, policing and militarism in America and Israel with Hamid Khan. There will be a book signing at the conclusion of the discussion. 

Blumenthal last appeared at the center when he presented his book Goliath, Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013). Hamid Khan is the campaign coordinator of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition. This program is made possible with support from Anonymous, Mary Ellen Bennett, Anthony Saidy, Hassan Sughayer, LA Jews for Peace and Jewish Voice for Peace-LA.

1913 Seeds of Conflict

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Jun 17 2015 7:30pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
$12 general, $10 members, seniors & students with ID
reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center/The Markaz
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
a director's screening with Ben Loeterman

Join us June 17th for a special screening of 1913: Seeds of Conflict at the Levantine Cultural Center/The Markaz. As the blog Palestine Square asks, when did this conflict really begin? "What year marked a turning point in the century-long conflict between Palestinians and Israelis? The 1917 passage of the Balfour Declaration by the UK House of Commons proclaiming the British government's support for a 'Jewish homeland' in Palestine? The Arab-Israeli War of 1948? Israel's conquest of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, the Sinai, and the Golan Heights in 1967? Or the failure of the Oslo Accords and the subsequent outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000? Every date foreshadows a further deterioration of the relationship between Arabs and Jews.

"A new documentary sets the date at 1913. Seeds of Conflict, directed by filmmaker Ben Loeterman, examines the peaceful coexistence of Jews, Christians and Muslims as Ottoman subjects and traces the worsening communal divisions to the arrival of European Zionists in the late 19th-early 20th centuries."

This program is cosponsored in part with the support of Ibrahim Alhusseini and Jewish Voice for Peace-LA. 

The New Barbarians, a Memorial Day Meditation

Memorial Day is a national holiday that serves to remember American dead who served in our armed forces.

Gilad Atzmon on "A to Zion" and the Palestinian Right of Return

Event Details
Date/Time: 
May 10 2015 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Price: 
Free to the public (charitable contributions welcome)
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
censored troublemaker speaks freely
Controversial author, master jazz artist (Pink Floyd's sax man) and professional troublemaker Gilad Atzmon, who describes himself as "an ex-Jew" despite or because of his Israeli upbringing, will discuss his latest book, A to Zion, the definitive Israeli Lexicon (co-authored with Enzo Apicella), and give a talk on the Palestinian "Right of Return," about which he has prepared the below synopsis. Atzmon's detractors call him a racist while others rally to his defense. Find out who Gilad Atzmon is with this rare L.A. appearance, and read his work online.

The Right Of Return is the core of the Palestinian cause. It positions the Nakba and the suffering of refugees as the primary issue, places Gaza into historical context and highlights the gross injustices perpetuated and sustained by Israeli politics since 1948. It clearly illuminates the racist nature of the Jewish state and its immigration laws. The Right Of Return offers a clear course of action that unites Palestinians in the region and the Diaspora but it evokes fear amongst Israelis, Zionists and Jewish anti-Zionists.

Since the early 2000s there has been a surge in Jewish support for Palestine and the Palestinian people. This support has been welcome but it came with a price; the call for the Right Of Return has been gradually diluted by alternative terminology designed to appeal to the Jewish progressive crowd.

In this talk, I will elaborate on the terminological shift that left the Palestinian people and their cause behind. I will suggest that each of the terms introduced into the discourse in the last two decades functioned primarily to legitimize Israel and appeal to the Jewish Left crowd. The reality is grim; instead of solidarity with the victims, the movement has morphed into an attempt to appease the oppressor. This unfortunate shift may explain why the solidarity movement has achieved so little for the Palestinians. It is possible that it wasn't supposed to achieve much in the first place. 

Peace After Marriage, a Palestinian-American Satire, Director in Person

Event Details
Date/Time: 
May 16 2015 8:30pm - 10:30pm
Price: 
$12 movie event only/$25 with dinner reception
dinner slated 7:30-8:30 pm Call 323.413.2001
Reserve your tickets here
Where: 
Harmony Gold Theatre
7655 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90046
Between Fairfax and La Brea, corner of Stanley
Free underground and behind-the-bldg parking
Subtitle: 
Only in New York
"Bridging the Mideast divide with comedy." —New York Times
"Is Ghazi Albuliwi the Palestinian Woody Allen? —Haaretz 


Director/star Ghazi Albuliwi joins us in person, along with cast/crew members to screen his "groundbreaking" (Huffington Post) comedy in person, followed by a Q & A. When a Palestinian in Brooklyn agrees to bargain his U.S. citizenship into a green-card marriage, he never expects to wed an Israeli, in Ghazi Albuliwi's edgy comedy Peace After Marriage. $12 movie event only/$25 with dinner reception. This evening is the culimination of the 2015 Celebrate Palestine week. The film screens at 8:30 pm, dinner is served at 7:30 pm.

Co-helmed with Bandar Albuliwi, the film has origins in Ghazi Albuliwi's standup roots. This "lighthearted Muslim-Jewish romantic comedy without a heavy political agenda" (Variety) won the audience award at Montpellier's Cinemed Fest.

Arafat (Ghazi Albuliwi), 30, is a struggling actor living with his parents and suffering from a major case of sexual frustration. With no pickup technique to speak of, he's stuck with porn and many lonely nights. Dad (Hany Kamal) keeps proposing arranged marriages in New York and Palestine, but the candidates never get his sense of humor, and he ends up fleeing. Mom (Hiam Abbass) is sympathetic, but the father is the king of the house, and surely a nice Muslim girl would be the answer to everyone's prayers.

Desperate for companionship, Arafat agrees to marry Michaela. The situation forces them to re-examine their respective cultural traditions, a satire in which both may transcend political, religious and familiar barriers. Read a Huffington Post interview with the director.

This program is one in the 2015 series, Celebrate Palestine, presented by the Levantine Cultural Center and the following underwriters and sponsors: Anonymous, Reza Amin, Jordan Elgrably, Elana Golden, Tarek Hoballah, Dr. Raymond Jallow, Jewish Voice for Peace-LA, LA Jews for Peace, Anthony Saidy MD, Dr. Diane Shammas, and with support from media sponsor KPFK 90.7 FM.  

Gil Hochberg on Visual Occupations in Israel/Palestine

Event Details
Date/Time: 
May 27 2015 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Price: 
Free to the public (charitable contributions welcome)
reservations suggested, seating limited: 323.413.2001
discounted books available for purchase/signing
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone

An academic and innovator, UCLA comp lit prof Gil Hochberg has written a terrific new book, according to Ella Shohat, Ted Swedenberg and others.

Poets for Palestine

Event Details
Date/Time: 
May 15 2015 8:00pm - 10:00pm
Price: 
$12 general, $10 members/students/seniors
reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to reserve seats
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Fady Joudah, Hatem Kanaaneh & Friends

On the 67th anniversary of May 15, 1948, the date Palestinians commemorate as Nabka Day, we present five poets for Palestine, with special guest of honor, poet and translator Fady Joudah, joined by