April 23-24, 2009
Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish

Thursday, April 23th
7:00 to 9:30 PM
107 Psychology Building

Dr. Najat Rahman will give a lecture about the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and the significance of his poetry. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.

Friday, April 24th
7:30 to midnight
On Wisconsin Room, Red Gym

This is a cultural night that will include UW-Madison poets reciting their work as American poets interacting with Darwish for the first time, a lecture by Dr. Rahman, Arabic music, poetry recitation in Arabic and English, and a fantastic art exhibit from Palestine. Free food reception included.

Gaza Benefit Dinner, Goodman Atwood Community Center

Goodman Atwood Community Center
149 Waubesa Street
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Sponsored by Madison East High School Students for Justice in Palestine.

A vegetarian Middle Eastern dinner will be served at 6 pm, simultaneously with a cooking demonstration by Chef Sabi Attiyeh – baklava and dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) – followed by a presentation with slides by Lora Gordon, activist recently returned from two months in Rafah and Gaza. Entertainment will be provided by East High School jazz quartet.

Funds raised will go to the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) for Gaza relief. Tickets: $15 in advance, for reservations contact Bill at kursk1 at tds.net.

Supported by MRSCP; for more information call (608) 238-1227.

An Interview with Simone Bitton on Her New Movie Rachel

Simone Bitton
Still image from Rachel; inset: Simone Bitton

I think they had a pro-Palestinian agenda, and I don’t think that having a pro-Palestinian agenda means having an anti-Israeli agenda. Actually, as an Israeli, I have a pro-Palestinian agenda, and I think that when life will be normal and reasonable for Palestinians, it will be much better for Israelis too.

I don’t think it’s an insult to say that somebody has a pro-Palestinian agenda. If it means that somebody is committed to more justice for the Palestinians, who have been oppressed, bombed, caged, occupied, it’s very good to have a pro-Palestinian agenda. It’s not only good, it’s absolutely needed if you don’t want the Middle East to explode in the face of the world, more than it has exploded already.

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon, May 3, 2009

Interview with Simone Bitton

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Simone Bitton’s documentary “Rachel,” which premiered this week at the Tribeca Film Festival, is what’s not in it. Bitton, a Moroccan-born Jewish filmmaker who spent many years in Israel and now lives in France, conducts a philosophical and cinematic inquiry into the death of Rachel Corrie, the 23-year-old American activist who was killed under ambiguous circumstances in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip in March 2003. But the political firestorm that followed Corrie’s death, which saw her beatified as a martyr for peace by some on the left and demonized as a terrorist enabler by some on the right, is virtually absent from the film.

We do not see the infamous photograph of the keffiyeh-clad Corrie burning an “American flag” — not a real flag, but a crude children’s drawing of one — at a demonstration about a month before her death. Nor do we see the torrent of exaggerated and often shocking verbal abuse to which Corrie was subjected, postmortem, on right-wing bulletin boards and Web sites. Corrie, who suffered massive internal injuries when she was either crushed by a bulldozer or buried under construction debris, was routinely dubbed “Saint Pancake” in such venues, or described as “terrorist-loving swine.” (That’s without getting into the grotesque sexual fantasies and elaborate conspiracy theories.)

Bitton approaches Corrie’s death from an Israeli point of view, which means she sees it quite differently from the way Americans do. For her, it’s partly a forensic puzzle — an episode of “CSI: Gaza” without a clear resolution — and as a philosophical challenge to the military and political status quo. It’s important to understand that within Israel, Corrie’s encounter with a military bulldozer (an enormous armored machine called the Caterpillar D9, built in the United States to Israeli specifications) and the subsequent investigation were a relatively minor news blip, not the full-on media frenzy we enjoyed.

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April 15, 2009
Anna Baltzer: Life in Occupied Palestine

Stories & Photos

Anna Baltzer, Jewish-American granddaughter of Holocaust refugees, will present her slides, stories, & book Witness in Palestine, recounting first-hand experiences with the conflict while living with Palestinians in the West Bank.

First United Methodist Church
203 Wisconsin Avenue, Madison
7:00 pm Wednesday, April 15

Free and open to the public. Booksigning to follow talk.

Co-sponsors: American Jews for a Just Peace/Madison, Justice for Palestine, Madison
Friends Meeting, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Pilgrims of Ibillin, Playgrounds for
Palestine-Madison, Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative, and Yahara Friends Meeting

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The Birds That Are Your Hands, Broom Street Theater

the birds that are your hands:
how to start a fire under siege
By Sol Kelley-Jones
Directed by Sol Kelley-Jones

Against the backdrop of occupied borderlands torn asunder, the multi-media performance, the birds that are your hands: how to start a fire under siege, explores disparate yet overlapping tales of tyranny and resistance from Israel/Palestine to the U.S/Mexico border. From stony hills laden with olive trees to the blurry haze of a line in the sand among saguaros; from the bullet-riddled corridors of an ancient holy city to a chain gang of a modern metropolis, a tangled collage of stories unfurl and draw attention to the hands of those enclosed by borders, those making the crossing, and those who capitalize on the construction of walls: wielders of stones, bakers of bread, upholders of state. Shepherds emerge alongside Goliaths’ patrol, lovers find themselves to be terrorists, and Ingrid thinks we should all just lay down our arms and play violins.

Broom Street Theater proudly presents Sol Thea Kelley-Jones’ new work the birds that are your hands: how to start a fire under siege — a multi-media work from the theater’s newest playwright. Kelley-Jones, an activist and artist, has been re-imagining justice-making through the performing arts since her youngest years. In 1999, out of a desire to create theater and give platform to marginalized voices, she co-founded Proud Theater with Callen Harty, now Broom Street Artistic Director. Through the years, her art has reflected her belief in the interconnection between struggles for justice. She has continued to employ the theatrical arts in ever-widening circles. After teaching theater in refugee camps in the Palestinian Territories and working on behalf of immigrant rights at Coalicion Derechos de Humanos on the U.S. Mexico border, she embarked on her most recent theatrical work, which explores the peoples and militarized landscapes of these two border places.

the birds that are your hands: how to start a fire under siege boasts the talents of both veteran Broom Street actors and newcomers. Make sure to mark your calendars to see the provocative world premiere.

Produced by Broom Street Theater at Broom Street Theater
1119 Williamson Street, Madison
Performances: March 13 – April 19, 2009
Performance Times: Friday and Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.
There will be talkbacks after the March 22, 29, April 5, and 12 performances
Ticket Prices: $9 on Friday and Saturday, $6 on Sunday

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April 5-7, 2009
Israel-Palestine from Bush to Obama: Health, Human Rights and Foreign Policy

The University of Wisconsin – Madison Middle East Studies Program April Lecture Series
Prof. Noam Chomsky; Dr. Rita Giacaman; Dr. Graham Watt

Sunday, 5 April 2009
Rita Giacaman; Bir Zeit University, Ramallah, West Bank

“Health Conditions & Medical Services under Siege, 2006-2009”
First Unitarian Society of Madison; 900 University Bay Drive; 1:30-3:30pm

Monday, 6 April 2009
Graham Watt; University of Glasgow, Scotland

“Human Rights, Dignity & Medical Aid for Palestine (MAP)”
Room 206, Ingraham Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison
1155 Observatory Drive; 3:30-5:30pm

Monday, 6 April 2009
Panel Discussion Sponsored by Edgewood College
Graham Watt, Rita Giacaman & Noam Chomsky

“‘Balance’ and Intimidation: Silencing Debate on Palestine – the Lancet, March 2009 & other case studies”
Anderson Auditorium, Edgewood College; 1000 Edgewood College Drive
Madison, WI 53711; 7:30pm

Tuesday, 7 April 2009
Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Assessing the role of US Foreign Policy, Israeli Security, & Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories”
Orpheum Theater, 216 State Stree,; 7:30pm Tickets Required*

    *Tickets for Chomsky lecture: $10.00 per person; limit 4 per person. Tickets are available at:
    1. Orpheum Theater, 216 State Street; (608) 255-8755; www.orpheumtheatre.net
    2. Lakeside Printing Coop; 1334 Williamson St. (608) 255-1800; www.lakesidepress.org
    3. Rainbow Bookstore, 426 W. Gilman Street; www.rainbowbookstore.org
    4. Wisconsin Network for Peace & Justice; 122 State Street, #402; (608) 250-9240;

Co-Sponsors & Supporters

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February 8, 2009
Kathy Kelly Talk on Gaza

Sunday, February 8
Dardanelles Restaurant
1851 Monroe Street, Madison (Directions)

6:30 pm: Snack bar reception, $5 per person. Please RSVP by Friday, Feb. 6 to Joy First at jsfirst (at) tds.net or phone 222-7581.

7:15 pm: Talk, free and open to the public, no RSVP needed. Co-sponsored by MRSCP, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Madison Pledge of Resistance, Madison Chapter of American Jews for a Just Peace, and United Nations Association-USA Dane County.

Kathy’s presentation will cover her recent visit to Rafah and Gaza.

She is active with the Catholic Worker movement and since becoming a pacifist has refused payment of all federal income tax for 25 years. She helped coordinate the Voices in the Wilderness campaign on Iraq. She is currently co-coordinator of Voices For Creative Nonviolence. You can read more about the breadth of Kathy’s activism in Wikipedia and Yes! magazine.

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January 26, 2009
Live from Bethlehem Lecture and Film

Monday, January 26, 7:30 pm
Wisconsin Union Theater
Reception to follow

Amira Hanania is a lead journalist for the Ma’an News Agency, the only independent news network in the Palestinian territories. She is the subject of the recent documentary film Live from Bethlehem, which will be screened before her lecture. Ms. Hanania advocates for a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, challenges Western stereotypes of Palestinian political opinion, and confronts propagandistic journalism in all its forms. Come see Live from Bethlehem and then hear a true heroine of independent journalism.

This is part of the Distinguished Lecture Series at UW-Madison. Click here for ticketing policy.

For a recent article about Bethlehem, see “Israel to annex lands from Bethlehem villages in order to expand Gush Etzion settlement bloc”

    Khalid Al Azza stated that this land grab order is part of the “greater Jerusalem” Israeli plan which aims at illegally annexing more Palestinian lands, expand settlements on them and expand the Jerusalem boundaries in order to void any furture peace talks on Jerusalem. So far, the Greater Jerusalem Plan has annexed 72.000 Dunams, most of them agricultural lands, while Israel is still attempting to annex more lands while the international community remains idle.

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