Amer Zahr, founder and producer of the annual 1001 Laughs Ramallah Comedy Festival, is a rising star in both the US and the Middle East. Amer is an Arab-American comedian, speaker, political activist, writer, and adjunct professor at the University of Detroit, Mercy School of Law. “Comedy is my form of protest,” says Amer!
Join us for a conversation between Amer Zahr and Nevine El Nossery, Director of the Middle East Studies Program. We will discuss Amer’s upbringing as an Arab American, how comedy and law intersect, and how it is possible to reconcile multiple identities. We will also talk about how American society and politics affect the lives of immigrants in general and Arab-Americans in particular.
We encourage you to watch Amer Zahr’s documentary, We’re Not White, before his talk on September 13. It’s a very thought-provoking educational resource for talking to students about intersectional matters related to race, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity.
Mohammed El Kurd is a Palestinian boy growing up in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed turns 11, his family is forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers, who are leading a campaign of court-sanctioned evictions to guarantee Jewish control of the area.
Shortly after their displacement, Mohammed’s family and other residents begin holding unarmed protests against the evictions, determined not to lose their homes for good. In a surprising turn, they are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters who are horrified to see what is being done in their name. Among them is Jewish West Jerusalem resident Zvi Benninga and his sister Sara, who develop a strong relationship with Mohammed and his family as they take on a leading role in organizing the protests.
Through their personal stories, My Neighbourhood goes beyond the sensational headlines that normally dominate discussions of Jerusalem and captures voices rarely heard, of those striving for a future of equality and pluralism in the city.
My Neighbourhood follows Mohammed as he comes of age in the midst of unrelenting tension and remarkable cooperation in his backyard. Highlighting Mohammed’s own reactions to the highly volatile situation, reflections from family members and other evicted residents, accounts of Israeli protesters and interviews with Israeli settlers, the film chronicles the resolve of a neighbourhood and the support it receives from the most unexpected of places.
My Neighbourhood is directed and produced by Rebekah Wingert-Jabi, who documented Mohammed’s story over two years, and acclaimed filmmaker Julia Bacha. It is the latest production by Just Vision, an award-winning team of Palestinian, Israeli, North and South American filmmakers, journalists and human rights advocates dedicated to telling the stories of Israelis and Palestinians working nonviolently to achieve freedom, dignity, equality and human security in the region.
Screening of a one-hour summary of the 4-part Al Jazeera investigative report that was never allowed to air, followed by Q&A. 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Eastern
The film was made by Al Jazeera during 2016, but was censored because Qatar, the gas-rich Gulf emirate that funds Al Jazeera, came under intense Israel lobby pressure not to air the film.
The film exposes the efforts of Israel and its lobbyists to spy on, smear and intimidate US citizens who support Palestinian human rights, especially BDS – the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. It shows that Israel’s semi-covert black-ops government agency, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, is operating this effort in collusion with an extensive network of US-based organizations.
We will stream the video on Zoom, but for better video clarity we recommend that you watch it on Youtube. We will join the Zoom meeting for opening remarks and we will give you the Youtube link and tell you when to press “Play”. We’ll then return to the Zoom meeting for the Q&A.
The Marquee Cinema, Union South
1308 West Dayton Street , Madison
Join UW Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the UW Middle East Studies Program, and the Wisconsin Union Directorate Film and Society & Politics Committees for a screening of the documentary Five Broken Cameras.
The documentary will be followed by a moderated discussion and Q&A with Professor Nevine El Nossery. Five Broken Cameras follows the resistance of one Palestinian farmer and his village against encroachments by the Israeli army.
Bar Bahar/In Between is a controversial film made by a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and produced and marketed as an Israeli film.
Israel | 2016 | DCP | 102 min. | Arabic, Hebrew with English subtitles
Director: Maysaloun Hamoud
Cast: Mouna Hawa, Sana Jammelieh, Shaden Kanboura
Criminal lawyer Laila, DJ/bartender Salma and religious student Nur are three Arab Israeli young women sharing an apartment in Tel Aviv. When Nur’s conservative fiancé encourages her to leave her studies and the city to marry him, her more secular roommates face their own struggles to balance modernity with tradition. Unfolding in a city where the protagonists are partly seen as outsiders, In Between candidly and movingly depicts their special friendship and unique bond.
The film has been praised as an honest portrayal of the contradictions facing Palestinian citizens of Israel (especially women), and criticized as a stereotyped and one-sided view of traditional Palestinian culture and of the town of Umm Al-Fahm that advances the Israeli agenda and glosses over the underlying facts of Israeli relations with Palestinians of all types.
There will be a discussion following the film.
Co-sponsored by the UW Middle East Studies Department and the Cinemathique film society.
Umm al-Fahm is a Palestinian town in an area of of Israel known as the Little Triangle with 300,000 Palestinian Israelis. Netanyahu is talking about transferring the Little Triangle from Israel to a future Palestinian state in return for the annexation of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank. See“Netanyahu alarms Palestinians with talk of land swap” by Jonathan Cook.
Free speech is not settled law,
and democracy is not easily won
Elvehjem Building L150
455 N Park St
University of Wisconsin-Madison
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM CDT
Please join the University of Wisconsin-Madison Middle East Studies Program for a showing of Tickling Giants, a powerful story of the “Jon Stewart of Egypt” and the price of laughter in the Mideast (LA Times).
There will also be a short graduation ceremony for certificate students afterward.
ABOUT THE FILM
In the midst of the Egyptian Arab Spring, Bassem Youssef creates the satirical show, “Al Bernameg,” which quickly becomes the most viewed television program in the Middle East, with 30 million viewers per episode. But, in a country where free speech is not settled law, his show becomes as controversial as it is popular. Despite increasing danger, Bassem employs comedy, not violence, to comment on hypocrisy in media, politics, and religion. Tickling Giants follows the “Al Bernameg” team as they discover democracy is not easily won.
Film screening of the documentary Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!, which follows queer activists fighting against Israeli pinkwashing propaganda in their community, providing a strategic primer on intersectional social justice activism.
After the film we will have a friendly discussion about how queer issues and Palestinian issues intersect, and the different opinions and thoughts on the film.
Fida Qishta, who visited us in Madison in 2014 and 2015 to show her powerful first film Where Should the Birds Fly, has been in film school in California. She is looking for donations to help fund her thesis film Equally Damaged. Please consider a donation via the gofundme link or check. As of today, she is still in need of $2,000.
We still have copies of Where Should the Birds Fly for sale, and one that we can loan for showings. If anyone is interested, let me know.
I hope you are all doing well. I’m almost done with my Master program in Film and Media Production and will be graduating in September.
I’ll start filming my final thesis film Equally Damaged on July 22nd. Please check my go fund me campaign and give it a kick. Share it, and send it to your friends and mailing list.
Sunday, March 15 First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall 203 Wisconsin Avenue Madison [Map] 7:00 pm
Join us for “Dessert and a Movie” at this year’s Rachel Corrie commemorative event with Rafah filmmaker Fida Qishta and her ground-breaking Where Should the Birds Fly? The event is free and open to the public, but donations to cover costs will be appreciated. Desserts, including baklawa, and coffee and tea will be served. Please RSVP to dwallbaum (at) gmail.com with the number of attendees.
March 16 will be twelve years since Rachel Corrie was crushed to death in Rafah by an Israeli bulldozer as she tried to stop the demolition of the Nasrallah family home. Just last week, the Israeli Supreme Court confirmed a lower court decision that the Israeli army bears no responsibility for her death; for more info and a statement from Craig and Cindy Corrie visit the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. Portions of Where Should the Birds Fly were filmed in and around the area where Rachel died.
Don’t miss your chance to see this powerful film and meet the remarkable woman who made it.
Co-sponsored by the Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, Playgrounds for Palestine-Madison, First United Methodist, Memorial United Church of Christ in Fitchburg, and Pilgrims of Ibillin.
Fida Qishta will also be showing Where Should the Birds Fly? in the Janesville area at
Milton United Methodist Church
241 Northside Drive, Milton, WI [Map]
Sunday, March 15 at 1 pm