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TPA Film Night, June 1, Israel vs. Israel
May 17, 2012 -
A Rabbi, a soldier, a Holocaust survivor and an anarchist are four Israeli peace activists profiled in the documentary Israel vs. Israel. Undeterred by skepticism and criticism from their fellow citizens, these four and many others work to end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories, promote a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and improve the lives of Palestinians and their fellow countrymen alike.
For me, this film is about creating hope in a very dark and sad situation, says the films director Terje Carlsson. The Israeli peace activists are a great example of hope. Carlsson, who will answer audience questions after the screening via Skype, is a freelance journalist who has spent almost a decade covering the Middle East. His first feature documentary in 2008, Welcome to Hebron, followed a 17-year-old girls daily life at a Palestinian girls school. The director had long thought about making a film about Israel peace activists, not only because he felt their work was so important, but also because he was impressed with their commitment to this cause. They do all this in a place where most people believe in nationalism and simple, populist rhetoric.
Carlsson began researching various Israeli peace groups. Each of the four activists Carlsson profiles has a different focus and background, reflective of Israel itself, which consists of Jewish people with a great variety of backgrounds and expectations. Carlsson wanted to show this diversity in the peace movement, where one finds middle-class women and young anarchists, religious rabbis and recent secular arrivals from New York, Kiev or Teheran.
A one-man crew, Carlsson shot the footage, produced the sound, handled the research and conducted all the interviews himself. He was working around the clock in order to keep up with all the anti-war activities that were going on in Israel and in the West Bank. Often the filming was difficult and dangerous, and he was threatened by the Israeli army and/or Jewish settlers. Tear gas was a constant hazard and a soldier shot Terje with a rubber-coated steel bullet. Luckily it did little physical damage, but it did affect him psychologically.
Israel vs. Israel has been an international success, and has managed to bring together people from all sides who believe in peace, justice and co-existence. Israeli peace activists deserve the worlds attention since they are far from being cowards, says Carlsson. It has been an honor to make a film about them. One day, the revolution might be televised.
Israel vs. Israel screens on June 1 at the Topanga Library, 122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. A cheese/veggie potluck at 7:45 p.m., precedes the film at 8 p.m. A Q&A with the director follows the screening. A $10 donation is requested, but no one is turned away for lack of funds. For further information, contact Julie Levine at (310) 455-9389.