Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stand in opposition to the US involvement in the slaughter of Palestinian civilians

-Sunday, July 13, WOODSTOCK: Silent Vigil to End the Genocide in Gaza will be held from 12 - 1 pm at the Village Green in Woodstock. This is a call to all residents of the Hudson Valley to stand in opposition to the US involvement in the slaughter of Palestinian civilians. No more funding of the Israeli war machine. No more protection of Israel in the UN. Sponsored by the Middle East Crisis Response . Contact: 845 876-7906

Ellen Davidson

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Two events this week

Palestine Stories

A presentation about the Freedom Bus by founder Ben Rivers

Tuesday June 3, 7:30 pm
Deyo Hall, 6 Broadhead Avenue, New Paltz
(next to Rail Trail—not on campus!)

The Freedom Bus, a project of the West Bank’s legendary Freedom Theatre, engages thousands of Palestinians and visitors from abroad in cultural actions, including Playback Theatre, to explore the experience of living under occupation. Freedom Bus events occur in villages, towns, refugee camps and Bedouin communities throughout the occupied West Bank.

Ben Rivers, co-founder of the Freedom Bus, will speak about the use of Playback Theatre and cultural activism within the broader popular struggle movement. Following Ben’s talk, Hudson River Playback Theatre performers will reflect audience responses. Admission is free. Donations to support the Freedom Bus will be accepted.

Endorsers of the Freedom Bus include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Judith Butler, Maya Angelou, Noam Chomsky and Peter Brook. Palestine Stories is cosponsored by Middle East Crisis Response. For more information please contact


The talk and Playback Theatre presentation drew about 35 people, and were very well received. 



We had over 40 people at our latest movie, and it was followed by a great discussion. Our Films of Palestine will return this fall.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Movie night with Jeff Cohen

We had a very successful night showing My Neighbourhood, followed by Jeff Cohen's presentation. Jeff had visited the family portrayed in the film and talked about the family's continued battle to get their house back from Israeli settlers. 

We had many questions about the occupation, the US involvement in supporting it, and the role of established religion in this country in hiding Israeli's apartheid practices from our citizens. Several audience members talked about their Jewish upbringing and how difficult it was reconciling the ideals of their religious beliefs with the horrors of the racial humiliation and ethnic cleansing being done in the Jewish state. 

Jay had liberated a Nazi concentration camp as a young, Jewish soldier in World War II. His remembrance of that time coupled with a sad recognition of fascist tendencies in the state of Israel made us all think about the use the Holocaust by religious groups in denying human rights to Palestinians. 

We had a nice crowd at the event. Close to 40 people saw the film and listened to Jeff Cohen's talk. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

MECR cosponsored this event at Vassar College

We counted 120 for this event at Vassar College. A good part of the discussion with these two authors involved the growing BDS movement on campuses around the country. Also, many links were made between Obama's war on immigrants, the "New Jim Crow" mass incarceration of African Americans, and the oppression of Native American peoples. Highly militarized and undemocratic societies use racist propaganda to keep their citizens in line. Max Blumenthal referred to Israel as the most militarized society in the world. But US spending on weaponry shows our country to be in the same category.

-Wednesday, April 30, in Poughkeepsie: Max Blumenthal and Ali Abunimah on The Battle for Justice in Palestine 6:00pm - 8:30pm at Taylor Hall 203, Vassar College, 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12604Sponsored by the Vassar College Students for Justice in Palestine and Haymarket Bookswww.haymarketbooks.orgCosponsored by Middle East Crisis Response, Hudson Valley Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and Hudson Valley International Socialist Organization,

Friday, January 3, 2014

Braving sub zero temperatures to hear about Palestine!

Ellen and Tarak gave us an in-depth look at their trip to the West Bank with Veterans For Peace. Ellen had taken some great slides and video that helped us understand the places they went and the people they encountered. 

We had a small but enthusiastic crowd, not bad for the night after a major blizzard with temperatures running to minus five degrees. Thanks to all who came out and made this a meaningful event.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jeff Cohen speaking at the UU in Kingston

Jeff Cohen on “My Inspiring Trip to the Occupied West Bank”

Date: Friday, December 6       From: 7:00pm  To  8:30pm

Jeff Cohen, acclaimed media critic and founder of FAIR, will speak in person about his recent trip to Palestine. Highlighted will be personal visits with the El Kurd family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarah, featured in the evening's screening of "My Neighbourhood." The 25 minute film is seen from the perspective of the Palestinian teenager, Mohammed El Kurd, whose home in the neighborhood is taken over by Israeli settlers. Event is part of the Films of Palestine Series and there is no admissions charge.
The bad weather kept many people from coming to Jeff's talk. We had about 25 in all. He agreed to come back at another time to give his full talk. But we had an interesting at at times emotional discussion with him about Israel, Zionist extremists, and the role of the US in covering up the appalling human rights abuses that Palestinians suffer on a daily basis. We also watched a short movie that Jane had made about her visit with the El Kurd family. Finally, Tarak and Ellen talked about their recent trip to the West Bank with Vets For Peace (they will cover their trip in more detail at a special event that MECR will host on Friday, January 3). All in all, a great night despite the weather.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My first trip to Palestine

L > R: Lorna Vander Zanden, Ken Mayers, Tarak Kauff, Mike Hastie, Elik Elhanan, Itamar Shapira, Eran Torbiner, Ellen Barfield 
Photo by Ellen Davidson
 This happen on our last day. We didn't expect the result we got, but after around 40 minutes, a young fellow with a yarmuke on, came over to us with a big smile and said, "I don't know if you realize it, but the embassy is shut down because of you. I think they're afraid of you or something. See that big crowd over there? They're all waiting to get in." He thought it was great.  We felt at that point, our mission was more than complete and so told him to go tell them that we were leaving and they could open now, which he was delighted to go and convey. He asked what our "message" was and that he would give any message we asked and take it inside. Ellen Davidson said, "We want the occupation to end and equal rights for everybody," and that good enough for us. We also had a great time. Our friends Elik, who will receive his PhD from Columbia soon, Itamar, Yonatan Shapira's younger brother and a terrific activist in his own right and Eran, who makes documentary films are all former IDF and original members of Combatants for Peace, just the greatest people. 
 This was my first trip to Palestine and far exceeded my expectations. We'll be returning.