Film festival: Palestine -- 100 years of conflict and resistance explored

Wanted 18

“How did we get here from there?” is a question frequently asked about the crisis that now engulfs Palestine/Israel. The 2016 NJP Palestine film series aims to explore that question, with movies that focus on developments over the last 100 years.

All shows begin at 7 p.m. on three consecutive Tuesdays beginning June 7, at Bethel Lutheran Church, 1321 North Ave., Northfield, and are free and open to the public. Each evening will end with discussion and a brief question-and-answer period.

7 p.m., June 7 – “The Wanted 18”is an animated film based on the true story of a herd of cows that Israel deemed "a threat to the national security of the state." Their story begins in 1987 during the First Palestinian Intifada, the nonviolent, unarmed civilian insurgency meant to “shake off” (“intifada” in Arabic) Israeli occupation. A group of townspeople in the West Bank town of Beit Sahour decide to buy 18 cows and produce their own milk. The dairy is eventually forced to go “underground” to avoid capture by the Israeli army. This film is an enchanting, inspirational tribute to the ingenuity and power of grassroots activism, illustrating the adage that violence is a failure of the imagination.

7 p.m., June 14– “1913: The Seeds of Conflict”: During the Ottoman Empire, Palestine was a relatively peaceful territorial outpost. Living side by side in the multi-lingual, cosmopolitan city of Jerusalem, Jews, Christians and Muslims intermingled with a cultural fluidity enjoyed by all. But rising Jewish and Arab nationalism, as well as the outbreak of World War I, ended centuries of peaceful coexistence. Using newly-available Turkish Ottoman archives and perspectives of Arab, Israeli and American scholars, “1913: Seeds of Conflict” provides new and fascinating insights into the dramatic events that took place in Palestine that set the stage for a century of unrest.

7 p.m., June 21– “Two Blue Lines”is the hidden story of Israelis debating their government’s occupation of Palestine. The film is narrated primarily by Israelis: Zionists who claim Israel is a “Jewish and democratic state” and human rights advocates who maintain that a democracy does not privilege one group over another. Others debate views of Judaism that stress entitlement to land versus commitment to freeing the oppressed. The director uses decades of his own footage, as well as archival newsreels, to lend historic perspective to the film.

The film series is presented by NJP, an ecumenical group of community members who organize local events to educate and advocate for justice and peace in Palestine/Israel. Members of the committee are available to speak about their experiences in Palestine/Israel. For more information about the event or NJP, visit the website at http://www.njpmn.org/ or by e-mail at info@njpmn.org.