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).
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.
a Levantine banquet of Greek, Turkish and Sephardic compositions
The Markaz, Arts Center for the Greater Middle East presents a special house concert, Meditations on the Oud, performed by oud musician and composer Dimitris Mahlis, who has created a unique evening of live performance and musical history that connects the rich past of the Middle East/Levant with the broader Middle East region of today.
On August 6th he will present the works of Greek, Armenian and Jewish composers of Ottoman classical music. In the rich mosaic that is this tradition, minorities of the empire played a substantial role both in the composition of Ottoman classical music as well as in the making of the instruments on which it was played. Composers such as Kemenceci Nikolaki, Kemani Tatyos, and Tanburi Isak are well known in the musical circles of Turkey and the Middle East, yet largely unknown in their "own" lands. It is in the spirit of coexistence and collaboration that this music will be presented along with the poetry of one of the most famous Greek poets of the Greek diaspora, Constantine Cavafy of Alexandria, Egypt.
Oudist, guitarist and composer Dimitris "Jimmy" Mahlis has become known in musical circles as an eclectic interpreter of many musical traditions. Having a thorough knowledge of both eastern and western musical theory, he has developed a playing style on several instruments which is both earthy yet intricate. As a composer, his pieces have set a standard in cross cultural pollination. He will perform a "Levantine" repertoire sure to be a feast for the ears. Listen to the artist.
an evening of literature and music helps us explore Iran
The Markaz, Arts Center for the Greater Middle East (formerly the Levantine Cultural Center) is pleased to cosponsor The Untold Story of Iran at the Last Bookstore. If you'd like an alternative to the Fox News version of what Iran is all about, this is where you want to be on the 10th of July. The evening features Dr. Nina Ansary (Jewels of Allah: The Untold Story of Women in Iran), Cyrus M. Copeland (Off the Radar: A Father's Secret, a Mother's Heroism, and a Son's Quest) and international vocalist Sussan Deyhim (as special musical guest) in a conversation about "The Untold Story of Iran." Guests will engage the audience in a humanist perspective on Iran—through personal experience, scholarly expertise, and musical expression—and a discussion aimed at shattering long encrusted stereotypes, taking us from the ancient Iran that issued the first charter of human rights to the patriarchal society of the present.
after nearly 14 years, the Levantine Cultural Center will become The Markaz...
Almost a decade and a half ago, we envisioned a cultural arts center for the Middle East and North Africa in Southern California.
With an estimated one million immigrants/Americans of Middle Eastern/North African heritage (Arabs, Iranians, Turks, Kurds, Middle Eastern Jews, Armenians, etc), Southern California has the largest U.S. population of people from the MENA region, but this population has traditionally been under-represented, and frequently misrepresented in mainstream media.
With ingenuity and a passion for bringing people together—despite perceived political, religious or cultural differences—we built a grassroots organization from the ground up. Operating mostly out of a storefront space for many of these years, the Levantine Cultural Center has managed nonetheless to serve more than 50,000 people with in-person performances, and more than 100,000 with online content. Now, we are reinventing ourselves with a new identity that crosses all the boundaries: The Markaz, Arts Center for the Greater Middle East.
The Markaz means "the center" in Arabic, but also Hebrew, Persian, Turkish and Urdu. The Markaz will be a home, a hub, a central gathering space for everyone interested in the greater Middle East, from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the east to Morocco in the west, for all minority cultures that are an essential aspect of the Islamic world, and for all us working for peace, understanding and interfaith unity.
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.
Naser Musa and Souren Baronian ensembles raise funds for the new Markaz
"Like two chemicals that flare upon touching, [Baronian's] music is a remarkable hybrid of two cultures." —Boston Herald American
"From the first rich resonant tones of Naser Musa's oud it is rare to find such an exotic variety of rhythms and songs together...capturing the heart and soul of its cultural source. The [songs] all feature Naser Musa's smooth talent on vocals and each is uniquely different, with many subtleties and changes that make listening a satisfying pleasure." —Mesmera
A beautiful concert for dancers and music lovers...Leave your worldly cares at the door, join us for a magical journey that weaves traditional Middle Eastern melodies and song with contemporary fusion compositions from Souren Baronian. Then travel along the Silk Road to the Gulf and listen to the desert music of the Bedouins known as khaliji, passionate songs of the Gulf Arabs, performed by oud master and vocalist Naser Musa and his ensemble. Naser Musa, Souren Baronian and friends perform to help raise funds for the new arts center for the greater Middle East, The Markaz (the center). One night only! Tickets just $25 General Admission/$35 Preferred, or $75 VIP front row seating plus a gift bag.
This is a benefit concert to support the new Arts Center for the Greater Middle East, The Markaz. Come enjoy the best of the best in Los Angeles and contribute to a worthy cause, The Markaz, fighting bias and intolerance, building a stronger Arab, Iranian, Middle Eastern community center.
NASER MUSA is recognized by critics of Middle Eastern music as a talented singer, a gifted songwriter, an oud virtuoso, an award winning composer, and a versatile studio musician. He has composed, arranged, and recorded numerous projects in the Middle East and in the United States. His recordings include the Arabia sound track; Khaliji, a collection of folk songs from the Arabian Gulf region; and Christmas and Beyond, a collection of Western Christmas carols and Arabic church hymns. Naser Musa appears on dozens of albums, including contributions on projects for Hollywood with John Debney and John Cameron among others. He has recorded with pop stars Shakira, Beyonce and Michael Sembello, and has shared the stage with Lebanese vocalists, Sabah and Ragheb Alame, and Egyptian vocalists, Hani Shaker and Hakim. Naser's oud was heard on the soundtrack of the film The Passion of the Christ by director Mel Gibson.
SOUREN BARONIAN grew up in Spanish Harlem riding two powerful currents of his creativity: his ethnic Armenian heritage, and jazz. His own music is an authentic organic hybrid of those two idioms. The sound of his band is truly unique, applying a jazz vocabulary and the bebop sensibility of Charlie Parker and Lester Young to Middle Eastern rhythms on traditional instruments such as the oud, qanun, G-clarinet and percussions.
film, food, conversation and activism with Women's Voices Now at the Levantine!
Women Bought and Sold: Voices United Against Violence—a weekend film salon showcasing short films by women of the Arab/Muslim world—aims to portray a deeper understanding of the worldwide issue of sexualized violence against women. Subjects broached in this film salon weekend include trafficking, slavery, domestic, servitude, forced marriages, sexual harassment, sexuality, and sexual freedom. Join us in viewing and discussing these films in the fight against these obstacles to peace, prosperity, and the dignity of women.
On the menu and included in the price of the ticket area choice of feta cheese and spinach fatayer, cheese fatayer, beef fatayer, bastilla, grape leaves, falafel, hummus and salmon mousse on cucumber. Catering by Bouchra Azizy.
Women Bought and Sold Short Film Salon Weekend Women's Voices Now seeks to empower all women living in Muslim-majority societies by promoting their free expression, thereby giving voice to the struggles for civil, economic, political, and gender rights. Learn more at Women's Voices Now.
Your film ticket includes a delicious homestyle meal catered by Bouchra Azizy featuring cheese and spinach fatayer, ground beef and veggie rolls, hummus, falafel, salmon mousse on cucumber a bastilla, a delicious Moroccan speciality, plus for dessert, fruit or baklava. See below for each evening's full schedule.
Saturday, June 6
Theme: States of Violence
Chronicle of Tahrir Square by Nour Zaki Final Moments by Shadi Amin Mohtarama by Malek Shafi'i and Diana Saqeb Take Care by Afrooz Nasersharif
Theme: Conditions of Culture
Breaking the Silence by Rajae Hammadi and Global Girl Media Vomit II - Celia Elslamieh Shomal Swap - Sayed Masoud Islami
Shadow of the Stone by Fatemeh Keihani
Guest speakers: Nausheen Sheikh (UCLA), Zeena Aljawad (Arab Youth Collective), and Sabreen Shalabi (activist / aid worker)
Sunday, June 7
Theme: Body Talk
Blobfish by Urgur Ferhat Korkmuz and Atilla Borutcu In the Name of Tradition by May El Hossamy The Reflex by Ali and Hussein Mousavi Get Along by Parya Vatankhah
Theme: Women without Men
Aabida by Maaria Syed The Virginity Minarets by Farhad Rezaee Behind the Wheel by Elise Laker
Guest speakers: M. Shadee Malaklou (PhD Candidate, UC Irvine) and Umayyah Cable (PhD Candidate, USC)
dinner, a talk, live music in an exclusive benefit event, select guest list only
Mark Amin & Reza Amin cordially invite you to a Levantine Cultural Center fundraiser and introduction to The Markaz* with special guest speaker Reza Aslan on The Power of the Arts, featuring the Naser Musa Trio. A dinner, talk and live music in an exclusive benefit event, select guest list only.
Reza Aslan, host of CNN's forthcoming new religion series Believer, is the cofounder of BoomGen Studios, producing the upcoming ABC show Kings and Prophets which has a diverse cast (Israeli, Palestinian, Lebanese, Indian) and the feature film 1001, just sold to Lionsgate based on the classic tale One Thousand and One Nights.
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.