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. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Laurie Kirby sang two songs

We had a good crowd for this film on the Jaffa Orange
and its place in the occupation of Palestine.

Laurie Kirby sang two songs at the end, one of them
a very moving one about walls between people.

Several people who want to show it local churches

This is just a great film. The self contained chapters mean that you can stop it at any time. The showing resulted in several people who want to show it local churches, and at least one mosque. We had a good crowd of people, and as always, a interesting discussion at the end. Paul Rehm talked about his trips to the West Bank and answered questions.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

We had a nice end to our film series, and plan to start another series in the fall. There were about 45 people in the audience to hear Ellie and then Jeff. We did a collection for Ellie's film that I think did very well. In all, a great night. Thanks to all those who brought food, and again to Jane who booked our quests and introduced them to the audience.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Land and Hope

We had a lot of people for this film and special event. Rami and Taha talked about friendship more than politics, but their relationship revealed many truths that the facts of the occupation often leave out. Rami's description of the fear and lack of knowledge of Israeli citizens was particularly insightful. Thanks to Jane for putting this all together.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Film Screening of "Private"

Great movie, but small turnout to see it. We did have a good discussion at the end.

For the future, we will combine a film showing with a panel or a talk by a director, as we did in the first movie of this series.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eli and I (later joined by Joe) handed out all our flyers and cards.

Everyone was very friendly because they didn't really know if we were representing a group. Handing out flyers without signs works better, at least for events like this.

My high point: a woman came back and showed me the card with the four maps of Palestine. "Did you hand this out? she asked. When I said I had, she told me she had read it, and couldn't go in to listen to Dennis Ross. I thanked her, she thanked me, and she walked away.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Where Should the Birds Fly

We had a great turnout for this first film in our series. A question and answer session with Fida Qishta followed the film. Her matter of fact presentation about life and filmmaking in Gaza brought us back from the intense emotion of her film. But lingering beneath the surface are always the questions. How is this suffering borne by the people of Gaza? And why don't the American people know about it?

For more information about the film:

Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to the film production:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dear Friends of Rachel Corrie

Dear Friends of Rachel Corrie,

Attached is the In Memoriam to Rachel Corrie in the Sunday, March 17 Poughkeepsie Journal, that you helped make possible.  Thank you so much for caring and standing steadfastly for truth and justice.

Tom Shaker
Greg DeSylva

Saturday, March 2, 2013

First Hand Report on the US Drone War in Pakistan

We had at least 20 people on a cold night in New Paltz. A small crowd for all the publicity we did. Only one college student, and mostly familiar faces. The presentation on drones produced a lively exchange of ideas, from the questioning of why the US would create so many enemies to the assertion that drones provide terror that empires have always relies on.


Patricia "Paki" Wieland:
First Hand Report on the US Drone War in Pakistan

Friday, March 1, starting at 7 pm
Village Hall, 25 Plattekill Avenue
New Paltz, NY 12561

Paki Wieland, retired professor, activist and grandmother, has participated in seven human rights delegations to conflict zones in the last three years. She was on a delegation to Pakistan studying the human rights aspects of the US drone war in Waziristan. She traveled recently to Bahrain in an effort to protect civilian protesters from state directed violence. 

A former family therapist and teacher at Antioch University Graduate School, Paki brings a human insight and empathy to the understanding of US wars in the Middle East. Presentation and discussion is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by: 
Middle East Crisis Response
Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter
Occupy Southern Ulster
Drone Alert - Hudson Valley 845 699-3051

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Phyllis Bennis at Bard College

We took Phyllis out to an early dinner before her talk at Bard College. Some student members of the Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative also attended the dinner.


Phyllis Bennis: "New Year and Old Wars in the Middle East: Where Do We Go From Here?"

Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 7:00 pm 
Bito Auditorium, Reem Kayden Center, Bard College
30 Campus Road
Annandale, NY 12504

Phyllis Bennis is a Middle East analyst and director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. She is also a Fellow at the Trans-National Institute in the Netherlands, and the author of eight books on the Middle East. Presentation and discussion are free and open to the public.

Cosponsored by:
Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative -
Middle East Crisis -