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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

Children of the Stone, Sandy Tolan on Music in Palestine

Event Details
Date/Time: 
May 13 2015 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$5 students/seniors or $28 with the book
café open 7:00-9:30 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
The Power of Music in a Hard Land

Veteran NPR/PRI journalist Sandy Tolan, the critically-acclaimed author of The Lemon Tree, brings us another true story of hope in the Palestinian-Israeli impasse. His newest book, Children of the Stone, The Power of Music in a Hard Land, chronicles a young violinist—Ramzi Hussein Aburedwan—who escapes a Palestinian refugee camp and later returns to fulfill his dream: establishing a music school for Palestinians living under military occupation. Join Tolan for a moving conversation about how a love of music transforms and empowers lives in a war-torn land. Signed and discounted books available. Café open 7:00-9:30 pm, event at 7:30 pm.

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.  

American Journalist, Former Gaza Resident Presents "We All Live In Gaza"

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Apr 8 2015 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$5 students/seniors
café open 6:30-9:30 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd, Los Angeles
Between Fairfax and La Cienega
Street parking and in underground CVS lot across Pico from center, till 10 pm only)
Subtitle: 
Maurice Jacobsen talks about the people of Gaza

American broadcast and print journalist Maurice Jacobsen constructs a video portrait of life in Gaza after a series of devastating bombardments by Israel. His work attempts to build bridges of understanding between the Arab and Jewish and American communities.

The evening begins with a history of the Gaza Strip and video preview screening of footage he made between Israel's recent military campaigns against this small Palestinian territory. The video, WE ALL LIVE IN GAZA, is based on footage he recorded during his stay and highlights stories of ordinary citizens coping with the siege and blockade, the longest in contemporary history.

The video accompanies a series of Gazan photographic portraits that are uniquely printed on cloth fabric.

Maurice Jacobsen is a Nazareth-based photojournalist. He spent 16 months in the Gaza Strip. Jacobsen will be available to answer any and all questions concerning life in Gaza and the production of the documentary. Read his bio.

Presented by LA Jews for Peace and the Levantine Cultural Center. 

Nora Barrows-Friedman and Ronnie Barkan on BDS, Palestinian Solidarity Movement

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Mar 18 2015 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested donation $10/$5 students; discounted books available for purchase/signing
reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001
Click here to donate
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
street parking
Subtitle: 
Nora Barrows-Friedman presents "In Our Power" with Boycott From Within Cofounder Ronnie Barkan

Electronic Intifada editor and author Nora Barrows-Friedman leads a public forum with special guest Ronnie Barkan, cofounder of Boycott From Within, on "U.S. Students and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement," with particular emphasis on Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) and attempts to stifle or silence Students for Justice in Palestine. This is an open forum, all are welcome.

According to Samantha Brotman writing in Mondoweiss, "Nora Barrows-Friedman's In Our Power: U.S. Students Organize for Justice in Palestine, published by Just World Books, is a timely and powerful read, detailing the scope and substance of the Palestine solidarity movement in the United States. Barrows-Friedman situates the movement across both time and space, providing historical and contemporary context to the individual activists whose voices make up the book's primary content. As a result, In Our Power is at once practical and inspiring for anyone involved in Palestine solidarity or interested in becoming involved."

Detractors of student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine, chapters of which are now found at hundreds of college campuses across the U.S., suggest that SJP is "anti-Semitic" or that they "invite speakers linked with terrorist groups." These two contentions are demonstrably false and are in fact desperate attempts to stifle critical thinking and public debate about Israel and the Palestinians. See related Mondoweiss article.

This program is brought to you by the Levantine Cultural Center, with support from LA Jews for Peace, Tony Litwinko, and Jewish Voice for Peace-Los Angeles. 

Art and Activism in Bil'in: from Los Angeles to Palestine

Event Details
Date/Time: 
Feb 5 2015 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Price: 
Suggested contribution $10/$5 students/seniors
café open 6:30-9:30 pm for dinner/snacks
Donate Here
Where: 
Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90035
Between La Cienega & Fairfax
Street parking
Subtitle: 
with Hector Aristizabal, Eva Baboun, Brian Biery, Kathleen Blakistone, Francisco Letelier

Can street theatre and community murals make a difference? Is this what we mean by "cultural diplomacy"?  

The Levantine Cultural Center presents Art and Activism in Bil'in: from Los Angeles to Palestine, an evening of public conversation, photography and art in the context of dialogue and conflict resolution.  In October 2014, a team of Los Angeles based-artists formed part of a historic effort in the West Bank village of Bil'in, Palestine, when Imaginaction director Hector Aristizabal brought together an international group of artists and creative activists for an arts residency that engaged hundreds in Bil'in and neighboring villages. Working with local and regional Palestinian cultural leaders, the group engaged community in art and theater workshops that resulted in public performances, large scale puppets and murals painted in collective fashion along roads and buildings.

The group also joined their talents to support Bil'ins emblematic weekly demonstrations. Bil'in is the West Bank village featured in Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi's award-winning documentary, 5 Broken Cameras. For over a decade the non-violent protests have become a symbol for Palestinian cultural resistance to the barrier wall that snakes through Bil'in's ancestral olive groves appropriating lands and fortifying the Israeli settlement of Modi'in Illit. During their time in Bil'in. the group witnessed celebration and harvest as well as danger and violence as they worked with the persistent and heroic people of Bil'in.

$10 suggested contribution. Seating limited, reservations strongly advised: 323.413.2001. See below for participant bios.