Mohammad Bakri is an extraordinary actor and filmmaker. He is also a Palestinian citizen of the state of Israel, which gives rise to complex issues of identity.
Bakri is currently appearing in a production of Federico Garcia Lorca’s “The House of Bernarda Alba” at the Tzavta theater in Tel Aviv. In an article in Ha’aretz, theater critic Michael Handelzalts called his performance “rare and impressive.” But right-wing groups are condemning the performance because of Bakri’s filmmaking history.
Born in 1954 in the Galilee, Bakri has acted in dozens of theater productions and films. His first major role was as a Palestinian political prisoner in Uri Barbash’s Oscar nominated “Beyond the Walls” (1984), one of the most highly acclaimed Israeli films ever produced. He also starred as the leader of a PLO unit in the award-winning “Cup Final” by Eran Riklis (1991). Both films raised important issues concerning Arab-Jewish relations and political tensions. Bakri has also appeared in a number of international films including “Anna K.” by Costa Gavras and in “Haifa” and “Laila’s Birthday,” both by Palestinian filmmaker Rashid Masharawi.
It has been 25 years since David K. Shipler published his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land.” Shipler wrote the book following a five-year stint as Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times. He has also worked for the Times as a reporter in Saigon, Moscow bureau chief and Washington bureau chief diplomatic correspondent. His new book, “Rights at Risk: The Limits of Liberty in Modern America,” is forthcoming in March 2012. Shipler spoke with The Arty Semite about his thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 25 years after publishing “Arab and Jew.”
Renee Ghert-Zand: Why did you decide to examine stereotypes and views of “the other” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
How many ways are there to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Given that none so far have definitively worked, the number doesn’t seem high. But in a new anthology, “United States of Palestine — Israel” (Sternberg Press, 2011) a group of Israeli, Palestinian and European left-wing writers and artists present no less than 18 solutions to the conflict.
On September 17 Joshua Simon, an Israeli writer, curator, filmmaker and editor of the collection, held a talk at the New Museum in New York together along Ohad Meromi, an Israeli writer, and Ingo Niermann, a German artist. Niermann is also the editor of the “Solutions” series for the Sternberg Press, a German publishing house that has tackled the problems of places such as the U.S., Japan, Scotland and Dubai.
The Five Percent: Finding Solutions To Seemingly Impossible Conflicts
By Peter Coleman
Public Affairs, 288 pages, $27.99
One of the great challenges of our time is finding ways to resolve intractable conflicts that have proven persistent, destructive and resistant to change.
A groundbreaking new book by Columbia University professor Peter Coleman argues that while most conflicts can be resolved by traditional means, 5% of those conflicts — the ones that seem impossible to solve — call for new ways of thinking.
Based on the work of an extraordinary multi-disciplinary team that includes specialists in complexity science, astrophysics, mathematics, social psychology, anthropology and conflict resolution, “The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts” brings to the general reader, for the first time, research that could reshape our understanding of intractable conflicts.
Americans often hear about Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the U.S.-Israel relationship. We read Israeli authors in translation, buy Israeli products, and anyone within driving distance of a JCC can hear an Israeli speak on a nearly weekly basis.
What we don’t often hear are Palestinians.
This is, I believe, understandable — particularly for the Jewish community. We want to know more about ourselves, our brothers and sisters, our homeland. We want to support our people and our future. We know the story, and don’t feel a need to hear the version told by Israel’s enemies.
But perhaps that’s exactly why we do need to consider Palestinian voices — because after all these years, Israel and the Palestinian people are still enemies.
This article has been sent!Close