About the Witness Palestine Film Series
The conflict in Palestine-Israel is decades old and so is the dispossession of the Palestinian people. However, this conflict is not presented as a human rights issue in mainstream American media. It is highly politicized and distorted. The idea of the Witness Palestine Film Series is to address such misconceptions by screening documentary and narrative films about the conflict, compelling films which illustrate the realities on the ground in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Witness Palestine Film Series is sponsored by Christians Witnessing for Palestine, who seek a just peace for the people of Palestine wherever they may be. They have all traveled to Israel and Palestine on at least one political tour where they have met with and heard stories from both sides.
This film series is an attempt to communicate some of this information to others in the Rochester and Western New York area by working with a broader, more diverse segment of the community. The Witness Palestine Film Committee includes activists involved in interfaith and Palestinian solidarity work as well as local filmmakers.
Here is what organizers of the film series have said:
Our culture is incredibly visual. Since the invention of photography, we have accepted the unspoken rule that if you can’t see something, it doesn’t exist. This is why film is extremely effective at breaking down barriers between people by showing them that the “other” is not so different from them.At a time when American mainstream media have metamorphosed into a bland oligopoly, documentary filmmaking has taken on the role of investigative journalism.
A similar film series in 2008 was powerful enough to make me want to go to Palestine and see for myself. I want to provide an opportunity for others to see equally powerful films.
I went through the Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank. As an American, I had the impression that I was screened more quickly than Palestinians. It’s a huge imposition – a checkpoint on territory the Palestinians believe is theirs but which Israelis captured in the 1967 war.
I’m Palestinian. My dad is from Jerusalem and my mom is from Haifa. I graduated in May with my Bachelor’s in International Relations. I founded Students for Justice in Palestine on my campus and still volunteer my time whenever I can. This is why I’m involved with this film series.
My life experiences brought me to this film series. What’s most important is seeing people as individuals first. I’d like our audience to see Palestinians in a similar light.
This is part of my 22-year long advocacy work in the Rochester area.
Over the years I have learned that one doesn’t need to be a Palestinian or an Israeli to be involved in the conflict. I view myself as a global citizen and as such justice and human rights everywhere in the world are immensely important to me.
I’d like to eventually create my own film about Israel-Palestine.
It is not anti-Semitic to stand up for justice for the Palestinian people.
I want to highlight issues related to Palestine-Israel in a realistic and comprehensive way because these are missing from mainstream media.