Palestinian-Israeli Conflict From The Perspective Of Palestinian Filmmakers

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Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the perspective of Palestinian filmmakers

Palestinian-Israeli conflict from the perspective of Palestinian filmmakers

In recent years there has been an extraordinary growth in films made by Palestinians - in the Occupied Territories, in exile, and inside Israel. The films are diverse -- fictional and documentary, feature-length and shorts, political, cultural, and personal. Sometimes they erase the distinction between the political and the artistic. The Film Society of Lincoln Center has commented that this movement has produced “a number of provocative, insightful works that have often challenged the notion of rigid ideologies or monolithic historical readings. Rather, these films have sought to capture the complexity of Palestinian history, culture and identity, using a wide variety of styles and genres.” Palestinian films, directors, and actors have gained wide international recognition, including numerous awards at film festivals, praise from critics, attention from the press, and sober analysis in academic publications. Formal, institutionalized financial support, however, is virtually nonexistent,” and filmmakers struggle to raise money for their projects.

In addition there have been innumerable films made about Palestine and the Palestinian-Israel conflict by non-Palestinians - Israeli and international filmmakers. The Internet is filled with films and videos on the issue. No liberation struggle has ever before has been so well documented with such immediacy for such a global audience. Much of this work has been carried out despite the numerous obstructions imposed by the Israeli Occupation and by political supporters of Israel. The production, distribution, and public showing of these films is inescapably political, and cannot be simply a commercial or artistic enterprise.

For the past seven years we have been engaged in a group called “Psychoanalytic Work Group for Peace in Palestine/Israel.” The group was formed by Nadia Ramzy, Faculty Member of the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute and co-editor of the International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies. In 2004, Ramzy, long interested in the psychosocial dynamics of the “intractable conflict” between Palestinians and Israeli Jews, gathered together Toronto-based Palestinian psychoanalyst George Awad, Israeli psychologist Carlo Strenger, and several Jewish American, Arab-American and Arab Canadian psychoanalysts, including the two of us, to form a work group in hopes of helping North American psychoanalytic colleagues to better understand the Palestinian as well as the Israeli perspective on this conflict that is at the heart of intensifying global tensions.

We gather twice a year from our far-flung parts of the world for weekend-long meetings and participate in discussion groups on the application of psychoanalysis to social issues and prejudice at American Psychoanalytic Association meetings. Periodic conference calls continue the work in between our meetings. Our goal is to engage other psychoanalysts through public events at which we speak and listen to one another as we express diverse perspectives and concerns, modeling empathic speaking and listening, and hopefully motivating others to become actively engaged in social action projects designed to facilitate peace and justice in the Middle East. We have also invited speakers to share their perspectives on the conflict, including psychiatrist Joel Kovel, Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni, Carlo ...