We are in Charlotte, NC now on our way to Alabama for our final screening on the Fall US tour of “With God On Our Side“. We have had a great two weeks traveling around the country and have had many good discussions.
Last night we were at Renovatus Church in front of a full house. During our Q & A session, we were interrupted by someone claiming to be a Messianic Jew saying that our film was biased, propaganda, and he said the audience should not listen to Stephen Sizer whom he dubbed “a PhD Liberal”. Instead everyone should get the whole story and research for themselves the facts. Now while I disagree that Stephen Sizer is a “liberal” (besides, who says Liberals are always wrong?) I agreeded publicly with him that people should begin to research more and to see what is going on over in the Occupied Territories and Israel. That is one of the goals of “With God On Our Side” – to bring a different perceptive and facts that are not generally talked about in the U.S. – especially in churches. It never ceases to amaze me that “balance” is never brought into the discussion unless it’s the Palestinian stories that are being shared. I doubt our friend would be so adamant about “the other side of the story” at an event that was sharing his opinion on Israel and Palestine.
But one of the things he said stood out to me as an example of rhetoric without reason (nothing lacking in Zionist propaganda) was when he said the settlements on the hilltops were there for security for the State of Israel. They need to be there for “military reasons”. First of all, maybe in 1950 that would be true or a palatable excuse. But we live in a world of satellites, missiles and remote control everything. Soldiers often sit in control rooms in another parts of the country or in some cases around the world to control weapons and drones. But he brought up a much more serious point. If he is right that Israel uses the settlements as a security buffer and moves it’s civilian population into such settlements – are they not using their population as a security barrier? Is this also why there are so many incentives to move low income families there? This is called human shields and what they accuse their enemies of doing?
I was amazed that an adamant supporter of Israel would make such an accusation against the State of Israel. Then again, it’s what happens when blind zeal overrides the facts on the ground.
I’m currently sitting at the Seattle / Tacoma airport with Stephen Sizer awaiting our “red eye” flight to West Palm Beach, Florida for the second week of the “With God On Our Side” film tour which now heads East.
WGOOS Pepperdine University
This week we screened at 5 different locations (California Baptist University, Pepperdine University, Point Loma Nazarene University, Westminster Chapel and Life Center Church). All of the screenings have been well attended with good discussions and questions following the film. Again and again we have seen that in all locations people are being exposed to a side of the story that they have never heard before and it has expanded their understanding of what is happening in Israel and Palestine. It is encouraging that we are hearing more people not only wanting to get involved but wanting to share what they have learned with others and wanting to host their own screenings.
Here are the dates and locations for next week. If you are able – join us!
West Palm Beach, FL
Private Screening Event
October 25, 2010
North Carolina State University
October 26, 2010
Withers Hall Auditorium (Room 232A)
Lampe Drive, North Campus – 7:00 PM
October 27, 2010 – 7:00 PM
The Lutheran Church of the Reformation
212 East Capitol Street, NE – Capitol Hill
October 28, 2010 – 7:00 PM
1209 Little Rock Road 28214
Silver Hill, AL
Silverhill Covenant Church
October 29, 2010 – 6:30 PM
4th Street and Hwy 104
We now turn to the East coast and look forward to more contructive conversations
Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss wrote a report from an event last night in New York City with Max Blumenthal, Jospeh Dana and Micha Kurz. Here is a video Joseph Dana showed that shows a lot of what is happening in the non-violent protests in the West Bank. The Palestinian man in the video is speaking Hebrew to the Israeli soldiers.
“They ask where the Palestinian Gandhi is, this is the Gandhi. There are many like him, sitting in jail.” – Joseph Dana
A report today in Israeli newspaper “Haaretz” on a new bill introduced in the Knesset that would make leading tour groups in Israel only for Israeli citizens who will ensure the Israel viewpoint. Here is a taste of the bill’s wording:
“To ensure foreign tourists are exposed to the national Israeli viewpoint, we suggest ruling that travel agencies, and any organization providing tours for foreign tourists, ensure that the groups are accompanied by a tour guide who is an Israeli citizen and has institutional loyalty to the State of Israel”
So in the past weeks, we have seen in Israel a loyalty oath for non-Jews needing to swear allegiance to a “Jewish State”, asking the Palestinian government (de facto the rest of the world) to recognize Israel as a “Jewish State” and now a bill that will only allow Israel’s who “has institutional loyalty to the State of Israel” become tour guides in the most popular industry in Israel.
The full report here.