.Title of Event: Films for Thought presents GAZA STRIP
When: Monday, March 23, 2009 7:00 PM
Location: Food for Thought Books Collective
Description: U.S. filmmaker James Longley's unsettling documentary captures the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with blunt candor. In January of 2001, Longley traveled to the Gaza Strip. His plan was to stay for two weeks to collect preliminary material for a documentary film on the Palestinian Intifada. It was during his stay that Ariel Sharon was elected as Israeli Prime Minister. As violence erupted around him, Longley threw away his return ticket and filmed for the next three months, acquiring nearly 75 hours of footage. Gaza Strip, his first feature documentary, is an extraordinary and painful journey into the lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip struggling with the day-to-day trials of the Israeli occupation.
The film will be followed by a panel discusstion with Students for Justice in Palestine (Hampshire College),Laila Shannan, Alisa Klein, and Joseph Levine.
Laila Shannan is a Palestinian who has been living in the United States for ten years. She is the mother of two children. Like many Palestinians, Laila's extended family is divided between four continents, with a good portion coping with daily life on the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Joseph Levine, a Professor of Philosophy at UMass Amherst, graduated with a BA from UCLA in 1975 and a PhD from Harvard in 1981. He has worked as an activist on Middle East conflict for over 25 years, and published several articles and op-ed pieces on the topic. He lived in Israel for about two years in 1970/71.
Alisa Klein, a resident of Western MA, is a dual citizen of Israel and the United States, and is a veteran of the Israeli army. Raised in a family personally affected by the Holocaust, Israel and Zionism were viewed by her parents as the answer to the historic persecution of the Jews. As a result of her experience in the army, and subsequent academic and professional work in the Arab world, Alisa developed a strong commitment to anti-militarist values and became an anti-Zionist Palestine solidarity organizer. Upon returning to Western MA, Alisa founded and co-organized Akoolu Lakum - the Western Massachusetts Palestinian Film Festival; the Western MA Fast for Palestine Solidarity; and many other vigils and actions calling for a just peace in Israel and Palestine. She served as a facilitator for Kopkind, an educational summer retreat for journalists to learn more about Palestine and Israel and for two years, produced and DJ'ed two shows on Northampton's community radio station WXOJ-LP – one concerned with a radical political analysis of news and culture coming out of the Middle East, and the other an Arabic-language music show.
Students for Justice in Palestine is a student group at Hampshire College whose mission is to raise awareness of the oppression and vast suffering of the Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation. They are also in support of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) as a viable form of non-violent resistance and strongly support the co-existence of Jewish and Arab peoples. They do not support and in no way encourage the use of violence as any form of solution. Overall, they stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people throughout the world and will continue to strive for their rights to life. As a result of a two year campaign led by SJP, Hampshire College is becoming the first institution of higher learning in the United States to divest from the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Middle East Peace Coalition is a community-based group of activists committed to peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians, and an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip and to Israeli settlements in those areas.