► Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

Racial and Environmental Justice: A Global and Palestinian Perspective

Dr. Qumsiyeh is a multi-dimensioned scientist, academic, author and activist. He is Director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History, which he founded, and an advocate internationally for environmental justice and sustainability. Professor Qumsiyeh teaches and does research at Bethlehem and Birzeit Universities. He is director of the main clinical chromosome studies laboratory and director of the Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind and Palestine Institute for Biodiversity Research at Bethlehem University, formed to “to research, educate about, and conserve our natural world, culture and heritage and use knowledge to promote responsible human interactions with our environment.”

He also previously served on the faculties of the University of Tennessee, Duke, and Yale Universities.

He is the author of several books, including Mammals of the Holy Land, Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle, and Popular Resistance in Palestine: a History of Hope and Empowerment. See more about the Museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPhFLOsEIM0&feature=youtu.be and https://www.palestinenature.org 

► "Jews Step Forward" a new film

Sunday, May 14, 2017

"Jews Step Forward traces a path grounded in the core ideals of Jewish identity, which ultimately must separate personal morality and conscience from socialized loyalty to Israel. It is a multi voice account by American Jews across the U.S., saying “no longer in my name”. Having moved beyond self censorship in the face of institutional power and social censure, they know that without help, Israel cannot rescue itself from its tragic devolution. Just as the American Jewish community historically was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, so must it speak the unvarnished truth about Israel today." - AWARENESS FILM FEST 2016

“Open ended policies of torture, imprisonment, and murder of indigenous Palestinians including children, contempt for international norms, and the rise of laws mirroring fascism, all poison any idea of national permanence for Israel based upon peace and regional integration.

The subjects of this film speak with the same Jewish voice, which historically led the struggle for justice around the world, cutting through visceral defenses to demand an awakening and a Judaism liberated from Zionism.” - Jewsstepforward.com

Rich Forer participated in the making of the film and will lead a discussion following the film.

Watch the trailer

► Open Bethlehem

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Big Film about a Small Town

Filmmaker Leila Sansour will be with us to present her new film, Open Bethlehem.

“… a fierce and poignant plea against the incarceration of a city” – Film of the Week, The Guardian

Open Bethlehem is a story of a homecoming to the world’s most famous little town. The film spans five momentous years in the life of Bethlehem, revealing a city of astonishing beauty and political strife under occupation. The film draws from 700 hours of original footage and some rare archive material.

Meet the filmmaker, Leila Sansour—hear her speak about her return to her hometown as it is becoming encircledby Israel’s wall. Open Bethlehem is a film, but it is also a movement—to save her city. The face of Bethlehem is changing rapidly with potentially detrimental consequences. Reports predict that if trends continue the Christian community of Bethlehem, a city that provides a model for a multi faith Middle East, may be unsustainable within one generation. Leila’s plan to stay a year stretches to five, and is only resolved when she realizes that, sometimes, the biggest dreams take flight from the smallest places.

► Iyad Burnat: Bil'in and the Nonviolent Resistance

Monday, March 27, 7 pm

Iyad Burnat is a leader of the non-violent resistance against Israel's wall being built on his village's land in Bil'in in the Palestinian West Bank. He leads the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Annexation Wall and Settlements - to protest Israel's theft of their lands for Israel's settlements and wall. Every Friday in the village, after Friday prayers, people march out to protest this theft of land - local villagers, joined by others from nearby villages as well as Israeli and international visitors supporting their struggle.

Bil'in is known for its creative non-violent demonstrations which were the subject of a film, Five Broken Cameras, made by Iyad's brother Imad.

Iyad will be touring the US to introduce his new book, Bil'in and the Nonviolent Resistance. He is winner of the 2015 James Lawson Award for Excellence in the Practice of Nonviolence, presented by the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC).

Come hear Iyad speak about Bil'in's decades-long struggle for justice and freedom through his first-hand experience.

► Three Generations of Palestinian Refugees--Then and Now

Sunday, February 12, 2017

with Suzann Mollner, Beirut and Beyond

Currently there are 5.4 million Palestinian refugees registered with the UN in four countries, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and the Palestinian Territories. Palestinians have endured refugee status for 68 years, making them the largest and oldest refugee population in the world. Three generations of Palestinian refugees are living in permanent refugee camps across the Middle East, and yet most don't know Palestinians are refugees. Fewer still know about life in these permanent refugee camps. 

This presentation will explore how the refugee crisis happened and what everyday life is like in a permanent refugee camp as a result of an ending conflict. We will discuss the realities on the ground in several different countries as well as the work being done. 

Suzann Mollner has over 18 years of cross-cultural work serving the most vulnerable populations in Africa, Thailand, The Middle East, and the United States. She has served Palestinian refugees in refugee camps in the Middle East for the past 13 years. She is the Executive Director of Beirut and Beyond, an organization dedicated to relief, reconciliation, and relationship on behalf of Palestinian refugees. 



► The Struggle for Peace in Palestine in the Era of Donald Trump: Where Do We Go from Here?

with Dr. Nader Hashemi
Associate Professor, Joseph Korbel School of International Studies; Director, Center for Middle East Studies

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States is an ominous development for our world. It will bring to power the most extreme and hawkish set of political actors whose views on international affairs make the Bush Administration neo-conservatives look tame by comparison.

What do we know about their views on the Middle East, the Israel-Palestine conflict in particular? How might a new US Foreign Policy toward the region look like under Donald Trump and his closest advisors (Steven Bannon, Jared Kushner, James Mattis and Michael Flynn)?

This talk will ruminate on these questions with a specific focus on how proponents of a just and lasting peace in Israel/Palestine should respond to this inauspicious development in American politics. 

► From Palestine to Standing Rock - Water is Life

Sunday, December 11, 2016

with Scarlet Plume & Joseph Medicine Robe

As we have observed the water protectors at Standing Rock, those of us involved in the movement for Palestinian rights have noted parallels—the unjust and brutal response of the powerful, the militarization of “law” enforcement, the criminalization of peaceful protest by local authorities and the Dakota Access Pipeline corporation, and, of course, the ongoing theft of land and violation of civil rights and human rights. 

Scarlett Plume and Joseph Medicine Robe will share about participating in the action in North Dakota, update us on the status of the pipeline and the nonviolent direct action, and help us understand the Native tradition of water protection and our sacred relationship with Mother Earth.

Scarlett Plume is a human rights activist and universal peace elder from the Teton tribe and the Great Sioux Nation. She works with elders and especially women elders.  She has done workshops in Israel and is traveling to Palestine in March.

Joseph Medicine Robe will give a powerful powerpoint presentation, showing some key visuals of what is taking place at this historic moment, some historical context, and some connections to what is going on in the Middle East.  As we will find out from his revealing presentation, there is a deep interconnection between Standing Rock, Palestine, and the Middle East.  Joseph will also offer educational materials and documents to those attending, as educational tools to use for spreading the awareness.

► We Refuse to Be Enemies
with Daoud Nassar

Sunday, November 6, 2016

[Daoud was unable to leave Palestine because of a new demolition order, so Bill Plitt and Beth Moore from Friends of Tent of Nations North America (FOTONNA) spoke and showed slides.]

The Nassar family has owned their farm, just south of Betlhehem, for 100 years. Their grandfather, Daher, purchased the land in 1916 and registered it with the Ottoman authorities. The deed has been recorded by British and Jordanian governments, and the family still has these deeds.

Their land sits high atop a hill and produces olives, grapes, almonds, wheat and other crops.

But in 1991 the Israeli government declared the surrounding area including the Nassar’s portion as Israeli ‘state land’. For the past 25 years, the family has fought in Israeli courts, to keep their land. The farm is completely surrounded by settlements, and their farm stands in the way of connecting these settlements and ensuring an Israeli presence in this part of the West Bank.

Daoud Nassar, Daher's grandson, will talk about the Tent of Nations, as the farm is now called—an organic farm and peace center. "Our mission is to build bridges between people, and between people and the land. We bring different cultures together to develop understanding and promote respect for each other and our shared environment."

► Israel's Public Relations War in the United States

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Israel's ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory and its repeated invasions of the Gaza strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies virtually everywhere in the world — except the United States. The Occupation of the American Mind takes an eye-opening look at this critical exception, zeroing in on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the U.S. Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the film explores how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel's favor. The Occupation of the American Mind provides a sweeping analysis of Israel's decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people — a battle that has only intensified over the past few years in the face of widening international condemnation of Israel's increasingly right-wing policies.

"I wish every American would watch this powerful documentary." Gideon Levy, HaaretzNewspaper of Israel


► Erasing the Liberty
with Phil Tourney
Sunday, September 11, 2016
On June 8, 1967, Israeli jets attacked the USS Liberty in international waters, killing thirty-four sailors and wounding 173, the worst loss of American naval personnel from hostile action since World War II. American fighter jets were dispatched to aid the ship but Defense Secretary Robert McNamara quickly recalled them, stating: "President Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors." Israel claimed mistaken identity but the Liberty had been identified as "American and friendly" before the attack.
Although the USS Liberty is the most decorated ship for a single action in US Naval history, Congress has refused to investigate the attack. After 49 years, USS Liberty survivors Phil Tourney and Ron Kukal will tell the real story of this infamous incident. Both were involved in the making of Erasing the Liberty, a soon-to-be-released documentary based on Phil’s book by the same name.