Thought crimes in Israel – Nadim Rouhana: This suppression is symbolic of a state that fears its past

30 May, 2009

For the Palestinian citizens of Israel, life is becoming a collective Kafkaesque experience. For years, their state has been determined to buttress its Jewish identity by legal, constitutional, cultural, and political means, in spite of the fact that one in five of its residents is an Arab. This latest series of bills is just another part of that effort. In addition to the discrimination they already face in all walks of life, Palestinians will not be able to mourn the Nakba, the loss of their homeland, or express their opposition to Israel as a Jewish state.

It is not only that they have been excluded from belonging to their homeland, which has been claimed by people who immigrated there and made exclusively Jewish; it is not only that their people have been expelled, occupied or dispersed to all corners of the world; it is not only that they are legally unequal citizens and even treated as enemies in many areas of life by the very state in which they are citizens. They also have to accept this reality: express loyalty, show no opposition, and even refrain from mourning their loss in public.

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Racists for Democracy By Uri Avnery

30 May, 2009

HOW LUCKY we are to have the extreme Right standing guard over our democracy.

This week, the Knesset voted by a large majority (47 to 34) for a law that threatens imprisonment for anyone who dares to deny that Israel is a Jewish and Democratic State.

The private member’s bill, proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev of the “Jewish Home” party, which sailed through its preliminary hearing, promises one year in prison to anyone who publishes “a call that negates the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State”, if the contents of the call might cause “actions of hate, contempt or disloyalty against the state or the institutions of government or the courts”.

One can foresee the next steps. A million and a half Arab citizens cannot be expected to recognize Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State. They want it to be “a state of all its citizens” – Jews, Arabs and others. They also claim with reason that Israel discriminates against them, and therefore is not really democratic. And, in addition, there are also Jews who do not want Israel to be defined as a Jewish State in which non-Jews have the status, at best, of tolerated outsiders.

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Video: AL NAKBA: The Palestinian Catastrophe 1948 by Benny Brunner

Al Nakba: The Palestinian Catastrophe 1948 (58 min. documentary, Israel-Germany-The Netherlands, 1997). Arguably the first film that seriously tackles the historic events that lead to the creation of 750.000 Palestinian refugees at the end of the first Israeli-Arab war of 1948. Based on historian Benny Morris’ book “The birth of the Palestinian refugee problem, 1947-49”.

Produced and directed for ARTE by Benny Brunner & Alexandra Jansse. Photography: Ram Lital. Editor: Joseph Rochlitz. Original music composed & performed by: Elizabeth & Ilya Magnes.

Broadcast: Europe. Screened at the cinematheques of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in March-April 1998.

AL NAKBA: The Palestinian Catastrophe 1948 from Benny Brunner on Vimeo.

Video: The Concrete Curtain by Benny Brunner

The film chronicles the daily life of two Palestinian middle-class professionals who live in the shadow of “The Wall” in the greater Jerusalem area.

THE CONCRETE CURTAIN is a sequel to THE WALL which I made a year earlier for Dutch TV.

Photography: Eytan Harris. Editor: Simon Bunt. Director: Benny Brunner.

Produced by Xela Films.
In coproduction with LASSO Film & TV Production.

Year: 2004-5.
Duration: 76 minute.

Festivals: Palestine Film Festival, London 2005; Arab Film Festival, San Francisco 2005.
Screenings: various cinemas in Holland and Belgium 2005; Tel Aviv and Jerusalem cinematheques 2006.

The Concrete Curtain from Benny Brunner on Vimeo.

Video: Interview with Abderrahmane Sissako on "N'Dimagou — 'Dignity'"

30 May, 2009 – MRZine – Monthly Review

Interview with Abderrahmane Sissako director of “Dignity”

First of all, we would like to ask you where the story that you tell in your movie comes from.

The idea was born from the complexity of the theme proposed: dignity. I think it’s very difficult to deal with such sweeping concepts as justice and dignity in the allotted two or three minutes, so I looked for an idea that actually asked the question ‘What is dignity’ rather than answering it.

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