Sunday, December 26, 2010
Jawad Siyam is a community organizer in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Silwan has become a focus of the Israeli settlement debate since the 1980s at which point Israelis began to settle in Palestinian homes in order to re-establish the historic Jewish presence in the area, known in Hebrew as Shiloah. Siyam heads the Madaa Silwan Community Center and works at the Wadi Hilweh Information Center. The Community Center was formed in 2007 to bolster the cohesion of the community in response to the lack of civil services provided by the Jerusalem Municipality to the neighborhood. The Information Center was formed in 2009 in order to articulate the Palestinian narrative of the Silwan neighborhood in light of the Ir David (City of David) archeological site which serves as a large tourist attraction and stresses the historic Jewish identity of the area. Siyam poignantly asked how American diplomatic visits can tour the City of David, and at the same time voice support for an end to East Jerusalem settlement? His mission is to challenge established narratives and present the Palestinian history of the neighborhood.
Dr. Jamal Muhasien sits on the Palestine National Liberation Movement's (Fateh) Foreign Regions Commission and is a member of the Fateh Central Committee in Ramallah. I first met Dr. Muhasien in 2008 while he was Governor of Nablus. After a two year term as Governor, Dr. Muhasien was transfered to Bethlehem, and then to Ramallah and his current position. For his current post he travels to foreign countries on Fateh diplomatic and public relations delegations in order to develop relations between the Ramallah-based Palestinian Government and foreign regimes. In this August 7, 2010 interview in his Ramallah office, Dr. Muhasien shares the history of his service as Governor of Nablus from 2007-2009 at which time rival gangs and political groups ruled the city by force, as well as his work with the Fateh Foreign Regions Commission in creating a future independent state of Palestine.
This interview was conducted outside the entrance to the Freedom Theatre of Jenin in early August 2010 with Tariq Jarrar, a native resident of Jenin and active member of the Freedom Theatre. Jarrar first became involved in theater when he was recruited to act in a play produced by a joint Palestinian/French initiative that toured in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Bethlehem. He was subsequently active in theater activities while studying as an undergraduate in Jenin. After his return from further studies in Dubai, the once fledgling Freedom Theatre had become a hub of activity since its re-founding by Juliano Mer Khamis, Jonatan Stanczak and Zakaria Zubeidi in 2006 (All formerly interviewed on CrossTalk). While Jarrar describes the virtue of the theatrical arts in terms of Palestinian culture and political progress since the end of the Second Intifada, a mileu of Arabic, German, and English in the background of the recording stands testament to the success and international popularity of the Theatre. On that August day, the Theatre was preparing for a concert by the Palestinian hip hop group DAM (formerly interviewed on CrossTalk), demonstrating the cultural assets that the Theatre brings to a town once mired in the depths of armed conflict.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I spoke with Hani Masri for the second time on CrossTalk on July 28 in his Ramallah office. Masri is an independent columnist for several Middle East newspapers, and is the General Director the Palestine Media Research and Studies Centre - Badael. Masri spoke on Palestinian politics, the resistance to Israeli occupation, and the issue of cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian governments and security administrations. Masri believes that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza must be met with every form of peaceful, popular resistance. Masri sees the current cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian governments as merely a "beautification" of occupation.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Usman Bukhach is the Director of Hizb ut-Tahrir's (Party of Liberation) Central Media Office in Beirut, Lebanon and is a practicing medical engineer. Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) was established as a political party in Jerusalem by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, an Islamic scholar and appeals court judge, in 1953. Since that time, HT has spread to over 40 countries with an estimated membership of over 1 million. It is has become popular among Muslim communities in the West, particularly in Britain. HT strives to promote the intellectual and popular basis for the re-institution of an Islamic Caliphate, which would eventually spread to encompass the entire world. Despite several accusations to the contrary, HT maintains that it is a non-violent organization. My conversation with Mr. Bukhach covers HT's moral and philosophical positions on capitalism, secularism, and individual/group rights. Our conversation also focuses on HT's narrative of the overt and covert forms of contemporary colonialism around the globe.
Hani Masri is a Ramallah-based independent analyst of Palestinian and Israeli politics as well as the General Director of the Palestine Media, Research and Studies Centre - Badael. He writes for several Palestinian and Arab newspapers as an independent columnist. My conversation with Mr. Masri focuses on the armed Palestinian gangs which developed after the failure of the Palestinian/Israeli peace negotiations of the early 1990s and the current strategies that Hamas, Fateh, and independent organizations and individuals are employing to achieve Palestinian independence.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
The City of Jenin: How we can understand modern Palestinian and Israeli history
Monday, April 26, 2010
Adi Maoz is the Jewish Program Director at Sadaka Reut, a joint Arab-Jewish youth movement based in Jaffa, Israel. Ms. Maoz has worked as a group facilitator on a number of projects both with Sadaka Reut, "Peace Now," and multiple Palestinian / Israeli seminars. She is one of many accomplished staff members at Sadaka Reut, which continues to be a dynamic force in realizing political and social change in Israel through the promotion of a binational, multicultural and egalitarian society based on social justice and solidarity. Ms. Maoz joined me live over the phone from Israel to discuss her role as a group facilitator and the Jewish Program Director in work related to Palestinian / Jewish coexistence. She gives an interesting cross section and analysis of Israeli society, particularly the divide between Jewish and Palestinian cultural narratives, as well as a critique of the current political situation.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Gershom Gorenberg joined me this week on CrossTalk to talk about his experience as a journalist and historian as well as his perceptions of politics and religion. Gorenberg is an American-born Israeli journalist, historian, and blogger. He focuses on the interaction of religion and politics, currently lives in Jerusalem, and serves as a senior correspondent for The American Prospect. Mr. Gorenberg has most recently published "The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977" which is a comprehensive investigation into Israel's post-1967 history with a focus on Israeli settlement in the lands captured during the Six Day War. Mr. Gorenberg also wrote "The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount," which investigates the central role of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem in creating messianic narratives and determining global religion and politics. Gorenberg blogs at South Jerusalem (www.southjerusalem.com) a progressive, skeptical blog on Israel, Judaism, culture, politics, and literature.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Hala Nassar is an assistant professor of Arabic and Arabic culture in the Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations Department at Yale University. She is primarily interested in Arab popular political culture, performance and literature. Ms. Nassar will join me on CrossTalk in the near future to speak about her book "Exile's Poet," which investigates the work and life of the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish as well as her future work in Theater and modern Palestinian culture.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Juliano Mer Khamis is the General Director of the Freedom Theatre in the West Bank city of Jenin. Mr. Mer Khamis will join me in the near future on CrossTalk to discuss his professional and personal experiences working in the Israeli movie, TV, and theater industries, as well as his groundbreaking work on the Freedom Theatre, a project that aims to bring art and creativity to the youth of Jenin's Refugee Camp. This interview is the third in a mini-series on the activities and personalities of the Freedom Theatre.
Jonatan Stanczak, an Israeli / Swedish activist, joined me from Sweden over the telephone today on CrossTalk. Mr. Stanczak was one of the founding members of the Freedom Theatre in 2006, located in the West Bank city of Jenin. Mr. Stanczak currently serves as the Administrative and Financial Manager of the Freedom Theatre and splits his time between Sweden and Israel. His international citizenship has allowed him to travel freely throughout the West Bank while working with The Theatre. Mr. Stanczak was inspired to form the Freedom Theatre when he first witnessed the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank. He sees the Freedom Theatre as a form of Palestinian resistance to this Occupation.