Many times we have heard the question, "Where are the peaceful Palestinian protesters, who advocate for their cause non-violently?" Infrequently profiled in the mainstream media, such Palestinian activists are legion. Like Bi'lin peacemaker Emad Burnat—who made the fabled doc 5 Broken Cameras—Bassem al-Tamimi (Arabic: باسم التميمي, born c. 1967) is one such Palestinian activist. He is an organizer of protests against Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. He was convicted by an Israeli military court in 2011 for "sending people to throw stones, and holding a march without a permit." Tamimi's lawyers denied those charges saying, "He believes in passive resistance and says he never asked anyone to throw stones."
Jewish Voice for Peace-Los Angeles and the Levantine Cultural Center present this program in an on-going series of talks that examine the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Past speakers include Leila El-Haddad, Eran Efrati, Sami Shalom Chetrit, Ghada Karmi, Laila Al-Marayati, Miko Peled, Basem Ra'ad, David Sheen and many more.
Chapman University, Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dept. of Political Science, History and Peace Studies and the Levantine Cultural Center present present a rare evening with celebrated author and blogger Juan Cole (The New Arabs; Engaging the Muslim World), introduced by political science associate professor Nubar Hovsepian. The talk is on "How the Arab Millennial Generation is changing the Middle East." There will be Q & A and a book signing, along with a light reception. All welcome, free to the public. Copies of Juan Cole's books will be available for purchase and signing.
Friends of the Levantine Cultural Center present a rare evening with celebrated author and blogger Juan Cole (The New Arabs; Engaging the Muslim World), introduced by historian Mark LeVine (Why They Don't Hate Us; One Land, Two States). A delicious sit-down dinner and dessert will be followed by conversation with Professors Cole and LeVine on "the New Arabs," the thesis of Cole's latest book, in relation to the Israel/Palestine question, and the future of the Middle East/North Africa, notably the debate about the supposed demise of Arab civilization, debated recently by Hisham Melham in Politico and Juan Cole with respect to the rise of the Islamic State.
The conversation, followed by a public dialogue engaging the audience, will conclude with a concert of Arab/Egyptian music performed live on kanun by Jim Grippo and on 'oud by Ziyad Marcus. Dinner tickets are $75 per person Patron of the Arts ($40 is tax-deductible) benefitting the new Levantine Cultural Center. Seating is limited to just 40 persons, so advance reservations are strongly advised. Seats are not guaranteed without RSVPs. Call 323.413.2001 or reserve here online.
"Mars at Sunrise is a thoughtful and inventive look at a seemingly endless war." —Jeanette Catsoulis, The New York Times
New Voices in Middle Eastern Cinema presents writer-director Jessica Habie's Mars At Sunrise (2013, 75 ms) is the story of a war waged on imagination. A painter's resistance, courage and spirit can never be imprisoned in this highly stylized story of the conflict of two frustrated artists on either side of Israel's militarized borders. Inspired by the creative journey of renowned Palestinian artist in exile Hani Zurob and on true stories and testimonies from the region, we witness expression, confinement, torture, jealousy, courage and freedom as both artists from each culture strive to paint a picture of life surrounded by conflict.
Mars at Sunrise stars Ali Suliman as Khaled, Golden Globe Winner for Best Foreign Film 2005, Paradise Now; Guy El Hanan as Eyal, an Israeli radio personality and an accomplished playwright; and Haale Gafori as Azzadeh, a singer based in Brooklyn and author of the film's original poetry. The soundtrack features six languages (English, Hebrew, Russian, Yiddish, Farsi and Arabic) and was produced by Tamir Muskat of the Balkan Beat Box, and featuring original music by Itamar Ziegler and Mohsen Subhi.
Jessica Habie will participate in a conversation immediately following the screening. This program sponsored in part by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (goldenglobes.org).
$10 general admission/$7 members and students. RSVPS strongly advised as seating is limited: 323.413.2001.
In line with the Levantine Cultural Center's exploration of American foreign policy, this forum asks, How does the C.I.A. play a role in the Middle East and North Africa? Was Robert Ames, the subject of Kai Bird's bestselling biography, The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, actually an ambassador for peace, particularly with respect to the Israelis and Palestinians? The book offers a "compelling portrait of the remarkable life and death of one of the most important operatives in CIA history— a man who, had he lived, might have helped heal the rift between Arabs and the West." The forum includes a book signing with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Kai Bird and public Q & A. This forum picks up where our previous forum in March 2014, America's Great Game: The C.I.A. and U.S. Middle East Foreign Policy, left off.
Read a Washington Post review of The Good Spy.
Josh Ruebner, author of the recent Shattered Hopes: Obama's Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace (Verso), will discuss how the United States supports Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people, why this policy must change, and how people can organize nonviolent campaigns of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) to take action. Read a review.
Josh Ruebner is the advocacy director of a national peace organization and former Middle East analyst for the Congressional Research Service. His book Shattered Hopes is written in a clear and accessible style and offers an informed history of the Obama administration's policies while mapping out a true path forward for the United States to help achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. This talk cosponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace-LA.
In this first installment in a regular workshop series (each self-contained), the Levantine Cultural Center presents Palestine 101, an audiovisual experience that surveys anti-colonial resistance and explores the history, culture and politics of Palestine, from the early 20th century forward. We will delve deeper beyond Hamas and the PLO as we explore how Palestinians have resisted both colonization and the erasure of their history and culture, including a look at poetry, hip hop and peaceful protest.
The workshop will include mention of bicultural coexistence organizations that envision a positive future for Israelis and Palestinians together, such as the village Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam (and its School for Peace), the Parents Circle Family Forum, Combatants for Peace, Just Vision and others.
The workshop is open to anyone who would like a more in-depth survey of 20th century history of the Holy Land, up to the present day, with a sympathetic take on the region's pre-1948 inhabitants. A suggested donation of $10 or $5 students/seniors is welcome. RSVPs strongly advised as seating is limited.
Sheana Ochoa, author of the first biography of theatre and acting legend Stella Adler entitled STELLA! Mother of Modern Acting, with a foreword by Mark Ruffalo, will moderate a discussion about the changing craft of acting. Stella Adler taught Brando, DeNiro, Ruffalo, Benicio Del Toro and many others. This panel features two contemporary young actors of Middle Eastern heritage, influenced by Stella Adler's teachings, Mojean Aria and Thom Bishops; an acting coach and casting director who studied extensively with Stella, Deborah Aquila; and a casting director formed by the New York theatre world, April Webster. The program will be a dialogue among the panelists about the evolution of acting from the early 20th century until today, and a look at how actors of Middle Eastern heritage are fitting in, despite potential barriers in the business.
Tickets are $15, or $25 includes a signed copy of the new hardback biography, STELLA! Mother Modern Acting. The café is open as of 6:30 pm serving delicious authentic Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine. Reservations are strongly suggested as space is limited: call 323.413.2001.
On Saturday, December 13th, 2014, the Levantine Cultural Center will hold its year-end comedy benefit show with the New Sultans of Satire at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, in Long Beach. With a special tribute to Robin Williams, this evening brings together the top young Middle Eastern comedians at work together, including Aron Kader (Comedy Central's "Axis of Evil"), Tehran, Sammy Obeid, Marie-Thérèse Abou-Daoud, Sherwin Arae and Melissa Shoshahi. The Levantine Cultural will donate a portion of the proceeds to Kinder USA (Kids in Need of Development, Education, and Relief) to help deserving children in Gaza with medical needs following the summer war. The Levantine Cultural Center works to bridge political and religious divides that may exist between Americans and the Middle East/North Africa, by presenting arts and education programs in the spirit of exploration, discovery and unity.
Proceeds benefit the Levantine Cultural Center, a 501(c)3 founded 13 years ago as a grassroots nonprofit organization that champions a greater understanding of the Middle East/North Africa and our communities in diaspora.
Join guest speakers Mark LeVine, co-editor of the new book One Land, Two States: Israel and Palestine as Parallel States; Asli Bali, international law professor at UCLA; Rabbi Aryeh Cohen of the American Jewish University; Estee Chandler from Jewish Voice for Peace-LA; Dr. Laila Al-Marayati with Kinder USA; and facilitators from Mediators Beyond Borders.
Americans are watching in dismay as Gaza comes under the bombs for the third time in the last few years and Israel as a nation finds itself in crisis, under attack by Hamas. More than 2,000 Palestinians and Israelis have been killed, over 10,000 thousand wounded. The Levantine Cultural Center and community partners present "The Crisis This Time: Conversations on Israel/Palestine," a weekly workshop and study group that meets each Wednesday evening in August (6, 13, 20, 27), 7-9 pm at the Levantine Cultural Center to examine the news out of Israel/Palestine, discuss the war, and explore solutions—how can we, as concerned Americans, contribute to peace and justice in the region, while holding our own government accountable to the highest standards of human rights?
Each evening will feature special guest speakers, conflict mediation specialists, film excerpts and study materials. The series is free-to-the-public and includes refreshments (tax-deductible contributions are welcome).
This series intends to bring together voices of reason, Americans against violence, hate and racism as we build bridges and community. All welcome.
RSVPs (optional) 323.413.2001, seating limited. Café open for dinner/snacks 6:00-9:30 pm.
Community partners include CODEPINK: Women for Peace, LA Jews for Peace, Mediators Beyond Borders.