Yehuda Shaul of Breaking the Silence, the organization of former Israeli soldiers, speaks out on the truth of the Palestinian occupation, and present the recent book Our Harsh Logic—"one of the most important books on Israel/Palestine in this generation" (The New York Review of Books). This public forum is presented by the Levantine Cultural Center with support from Jewish Voice for Peace-LA.
The very name of the Israel Defense Forces—which many Israelis speak of as "the most moral army in the world"—suggests that its primary mission is the defense of the country's territory. Indeed, both internationally and within Israel, support for the occupation of Palestinian territory rests on the belief that the army's actions and presence in the West Bank and Gaza are essentially defensive and responsive, aimed at protecting the country from terror. Read reviews.
Israeli American activist and author Miko Peled has toured widely presenting his book The General's Son: the Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. Dr. Laila Al-Marayati is a Palestinian American physician and activist with KinderUSA. They join in public conversation on the Israel-Palestine question at the Levantine Cultural Center on Thursday, Nov. 21, 7:00 pm. The program is cosponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace-LA. Everyone is invited to participate. Enjoy food/drink in our Café Rumi.
Writes Alice Walker in her foreword:
"There are few books on the Israel/Palestine issue that seem as hopeful as this one. First of all, we find ourselves in the hands of a formerly Zionist Iraeli who honors his people, loves his homeland, respects and cherishes his parents, other family members and friends, and is, to boot, the son of a famous general whose activities during Israel's wars against the Palestinian people helped cause much of their dislocation and suffering. Added to this, long after Miko Peled, the writer, has left the Special Forces of the Israeli army and moved to Southern California to teach karate, a beloved niece, Smadar, a young citizen of Jerusalem, is killed by Palestinians in a suicide bombing. Right away we think: Goodness. How is he ever going to get anywhere sane with this history? He does."
On Wed., Nov. 6, investigative journalist Max Blumenthal and activist Hamid Khan will discuss "LAPD Spying: Civil Liberties, Homeland Security, and the Israel Connection" in a public forum in the Progressive Conversations on Israel/Palestine and US Middle East Foreign Policy series. The program takes place at the Levantine Cultural Center.
As Dan Bluemel notes, "The federal government has been busy since the passing of the Patriot Act in 2001. Edward Snowden, an NSA whistle-blower, recently revealed that the NSA has been secretly storing vast amounts of digital information collected from millions of Americans' cell phone calls and Internet communications. Thanks to Snowden, citizens now have a much better idea of how busy their spy agencies have been, and who they have been targeting. However, one group, the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, is trying to alert people in Los Angeles to the fact that domestic spying doesn't just happen at NSA headquarters in Maryland. Spying is local too, they say, and we can look no further than the Los Angeles Police Department."
"A truly incredible story," says Ira Glass of This American Life. Kirk Johnson is the author of To Be a Friend Is Fatal: The Fight to Save the Iraqis America Left Behind, a moving, hard-hitting book about the plight of Iraqis who worked—often as interpreters—with the US Army and its affiliates. A memoir and a call to action, the book details his work in Iraq and his struggle to rescue the Iraqis who risked their lives to help rebuild the country, only to be branded collaborators and marked for assassination after being abandoned by the US.
Writing in the Boston Globe, Rayyan Al-Shawaf notes, "Part memoir, part impassioned plea, Johnson's book traces his experiences in Iraq, his personal breakdown, and his struggle to rescue the legions of young, idealistic Iraqis left behind by US administrations plagued by post-9/11 paranoia and gridlock. Because militants continue to kill such people despite the US withdrawal, it is difficult to imagine a book more urgent than this."
Johnson will discuss his book and his organization, The List Project to resettle Iraqi allies. This event is a benefit for the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Levantine Cultural Center, two nonprofits that champion literacy. More.
Join a coalition of concerned Americans on the Middle East when Ziad Abu-Rish presents a talk on revolution in Egypt and Syria in the series "Progressive Conversations on Israel/Palestine and US Foreign Policy in the Middle East," Thursday, Sept. 19, 7 - 9 pm at the Levantine Cultural Center.
Abu-Rish's presentation will explore the different trajectories of the "uprising" in two countries, Egypt and Syria. How was it that Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 18 days of largely non-violent protests, while Bashar al-Asad continues to hold on to power despite over two years of protests turned armed insurgency? How do we make sense of the recent popularly-backed toppling of Egypt's first democratically elected president, and the confrontations that have ensured since? Is "international intervention" a solution to the dire crisis in Syria? These are some of the questions that will be explored in the hopes of better understanding the nature of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Syria, the bottom-up movements that sought to dislodge them, and the complexities and transformations these movements have since encountered.
History, poetry and tragedy collide when actor/playwright Roger Guenveur Smith tackles the thorny odyssey of Rodney King—deemed "the first reality TV star"—from the harsh initial glare of the national spotlight as the victim of police brutality in 1991 to his involuntary martyrdom that ignited the LA riots in 1992 to his lonely death at the bottom of a swimming pool in 2012. A talkback ensues after the play with Smith, poet/activist/playwright Michael Datcher, author of the New York Times bestseller, Raising Fences, and Freedom Theatre West cofounder Jordan Elgrably. This performance is cosponsored in part by Freedom Theatre West; Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; the Levantine Cultural Center; and Muslims for Progressive Values.
Attorney Reem Salahi and filmmaker Faisal Attrache join forces to talk about their recent trips to Syria, Jordan and Turkey where they visited with refugees from Syria's uprising. Reem Salahi will report back on her recent trip to northwestern Syria, where she visited camps for internally displaced Syrians, villages in "liberated" Syria including Kafranbel, Saraqeb and Ma'arat Numan (in Idlib province) and local organizations and activists. Faisal Attrache, who is shooting the documentary "Walk-Ins Welcome: Stories of Syrian Refugee Barbers," about Syrian refugees in the Zaatari camp in Jordan, will join the conversation with recent photos and video.
A powerful recent documentary, narrated by Alice Walker, makes a reasoned argument comparing the South African apartheid that ended in the 1990s with today's relationships between Jews and non-Jews in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Israelis and Palestinians, controversial foes, two peoples locked in an inescapable relationship. But can Israel be "the only democracy in the Middle East" when rights for Arabs in Israel and the Occupied Territories are unequal? The Levantine Cultural Center presents a one-night only screening of Roadmap to Apartheid, cosponsored by Ms. Bana Hilal, Souhail Toubia, MD, the Council on American Islamic Relations of Greater Los Angeles and the Cousins Club of Orange County. The film will be followed by a public conversation. Light refreshments served. Tickets $10 advance/$8 members, $12 at the door. RSVP to 323.413.2001.
"EGYPT NOW", PUBLIC DEBRIEFING ON THE POST-REVOLUTION ERA, BRINGS TOGETHER KEY ACTIVISTS, SCHOLARS AND GENERAL PUBLIC, MON., APRIL 29, 7 PM, LEVANTINE CULTURAL CENTER
[Los Angeles-APRIL 23, 2013]—To get a deeper sense of life in Egypt today after the popular revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak and led to the election of Mohamed Morsi, top activists Jawad Nabulsi, Ahmed Maher and Karim Amer will speak to a limited audience in Los Angeles on Monday evening, April 29, 2013. "Egypt Now" is a public conversation with activist/entrepreneur Nabulsi, activist/engineer Maher, and activist/producer Amer (The Square), moderated by Nerfertiti Takla, on what Americans should know about Egypt in 2013.
There will be an exclusive short screening excerpt from the forthcoming documentary The Square by director Jehane Noujaim (Control Room) presented by its producer, Karim Amer.