September 14 – 15, 2011
Madison Film Premier: Cultures of Resistance

As part of the annual World Music Festival sponsored by the Wisconsin Union Directorate and others, an innovative, exciting new film will have its Madison premier.

Cultures of Resistance explores how art and creativity can be the ammunition in the battle for peace and justice on a world-wide scale.

As a celebration of cultural diversity, it was filmed in 16 languages: Arabic, Burmese, Dari, English, Farsi, French, Hebrew, Kayapó, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Korean, Portuguese, Sinhalese, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Xhosa.

Musicians and artists from 25 countries are featured in the documentary: Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Burma, Colombia, Congo (DRC), Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Liberia, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Occupied Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Syria, Uganda, USA, and Vietnam.

Join us at one of the following free showings:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 14: Premier showing at 7 pm in The Marquee, Union South, with post-film commentary by Jonathan Overby.
  • Thursday, Sept. 15: Showings at 7 and 9 pm in the Play Circle, Memorial Union.

June 5 – 11, 2009
Film: The Lemon Tree

FOR ONE WEEK ONLY! The Lemon Tree | Shajarat limon | Etz halimon
(Israel-France-Germany). Based on true stories behind the ‘separation wall’.

Sundance Cinemas Madison
(NR) Screening Room; Arabic, Hebrew, English dialogue; Subtitled
Fri: (1:25), (4:40), 7:10
Sat: (4:40), 7:10
Sun – Thu: (1:25), (4:40), 7:10

Salma Zidane refuses to let the Israeli military destroy her lemon grove.

Wisdom and sadness in a universal tale of fighting the odds

Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter, May 30, 2009

BERLIN — Taking its cue from the old song, the fruit of Eran Riklis' wise and poignant film "Lemon Tree" is as unpalatable as the age-old and relentless friction between Israel and the West Bank.

It's a simple tale of a Palestinian woman who refuses to allow her lemon grove to be destroyed by the Israeli military, which claims that it might harbor terrorists. Its universal story of a stubborn individual who resists powerful forces and the two lonely women who connect as a result will resonate with grown-up audiences everywhere.

Hiam Abbass, who appeared in Riklis' 2004 picture "The Syrian Bride," stars as Salma Zidane, the sorrowful owner of a small lemon grove full of trees planted by her late father. Her husband died 10 years earlier and her children have grown and moved out.

Riklis and co-writer Suha Arraf take time to establish Salma's relationship to the lemon trees as she tends them lovingly, sleeps in the shade of their branches, hears the fruit fall one by one, jars pickled lemons and makes very tasty lemonade.

Trouble comes along fast, however, when Israel's new defense minister, Israel Navon (Doron Tavory), who makes political capital with bold statements about defending his nation from terrorists, moves into a house on the West Bank border right next to Salma's lemon grove.

Barbed wire fences are swiftly erected along with a watchtower manned with machine-guns. Deciding that it's not enough, the Secret Service declares the lemon grove to be an immediate and deadly threat and orders the trees to be hacked down.

Determined to protect her family heritage not to mention her only source of income, Salma seeks the help of a lawyer, Ziad Doud (Ali Suliman), from a nearby refugee camp to represent her, and their case goes all the way to the Supreme Court.

As someone says in the film, happy endings are only for Hollywood movies, and Riklis sustains a kind but unsentimental tone as the story develops several threads. Among these are a slow-burning love interest between the widow and her counsel, and the revelation that all is not well in the defense minister's household.

His wife, Mira (Rona Lipaz-Michael), misses their grown children as well as her frequently absent husband. As her loneliness grows, she begins to identify with the plight of her neighbor even though they remain virtual strangers.

The cast is uniformly fine, but Abbass and Lipaz-Michael shine as two women who bond in the fear that the best of their lives is over and neither of them is happy with what the future holds. It's not a gloomy film, but in his parable of the tiny differences than can separate nations, Riklis suggests there's no great reason for optimism.

Continue reading

January 26, 2009
Live from Bethlehem Lecture and Film

Monday, January 26, 7:30 pm
Wisconsin Union Theater
UW-Madison
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.

Film: Occupation 101

Escape Java Joint
916 Williamson Street
Madison

“Occupation 101” (2006) Made at considerable personal sacrifice by two brothers, Sufyan and Abdallah Omeish, this 60-minute 2006 film has won at least eight major film festival awards. It provides an excellent, comprehensive historical summary and analysis of the Israeli occupation. Discussion will follow: What is the nature of the occupation? What does it mean for current proposed “one-state solutions”? Can there be an end to the Israeli occupation? Is real peace possible? What can we, in Madison and the U.S, do to work for peace in this part of the Middle East?

June 8, 2008
Film: USA vs Al-Arian

Sunday, June 8
7 pm
Escape Java Joint, 916 Williamson St.

This film about U.S. political prisoner Dr. Sami Al-Arian will be shown with remarks by Professor Mel Underbakke, a colleague of Al-Arian. Professor Underbakke is taking this film on a national tour to raise awareness of the Al-Arian case. For more information on the tour see www.freesamialarian.com.

Peregrine Forum, the Madison Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project are co-sponsors of this event.

Sami Al-Arian’s Long Ordeal

Stephen Lendman, Opednews.com, March 24, 2008

Sami Al-Arian is a political prisoner in Police State America. This article reviews his case briefly and updates it to the present.

Because of his faith, ethnicity and political activism, the Bush administration targeted Al-Arian for supporting “terrorism.” In fact, he’s a Palestinian refugee, distinguished professor and scholar, community leader and civil activist.

Nonetheless, the FBI harassed him for 11 years, arrested him on February 20, 2003, and falsely accused him of backing organizations fronting for Palestinian Islamic Jihad – a 1997 State Department-designated “Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).”

A week later, in spite of his many awards, impeccable credentials and tenured status, University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft fired him under right wing pressure.

Since February 20, 2003, Al-Arian has been imprisoned – first at Tampa, Florida’s Orient Road jail, then on to more than a dozen different maximum and other federal prison facilities. He’s currently on hunger strike at Warsaw, Virginia’s Northern Neck Regional jail after being transferred back March 18 from Butner, North Carolina’s medical prison.

Al-Arian’s trial began in June 2005 and was a travesty. It lasted six months, cost an estimated $50 million, and the prosecution called 80 witnesses, including Israeli intelligence agents and victims of suicide bombings to prejudice the jury. It introduced portions of hundreds of wiretapped phone calls from over a half million recorded; “evidence” from faxes, emails and what was seized from his home; quotes from his speeches and lectures; conferences, events and rallies he attended; articles he wrote; books he owned; magazines he edited; and various publications he read – all legal and in no way incriminating unless falsely twisted to appear that way.

After years of effort and millions spent, Al-Arian was exonerated. On December 6, 2005 after 13 days of deliberation, the jury acquitted him of all (eight) “terrorism” charges. They were deadlocked 10 – 2 for acquittal on nine others. All of them were false and unjust.