Witness Palestine Film Festival 2016

Download PDF flyer here. WPR-Logo-Final-file-RGB

The fifth annual Witness Palestine Film Festival starts in one month, on September 15, 2016. This may be our most interesting one yet. But you need to be the judge. Please consider attending the seven different programs, each presented once between September 15 and October 21. Two programs are free.

As before, we offer a discussion immediately following each screening.

This year’s Festival theme is “when I see them, I see us.” This short from Black Solidarity will be shown ahead of some of the features – rotating with other shorts.

Black-Palestinian Solidarity | Home

The Festival web site gives full information with trailers, descriptions, images, and bios of panelists. Please visitWitnessPalestineRochester.org. Therefore I’m keeping this summary “light” on bytes in your mailbox.

Keynote Presentation: Justice and Freedom: the Keys to Peace in Palestine

Author Miko Peled in person
Thursday, September 15, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
315 Gregory Street, Rochester
There is no charge for this event.

Author of The General’s Son, Miko described his 2012 book as an account of how he, “the son of an Israeli General and a staunch Zionist”, came to realize that “the story upon which I was raised … was a lie.”

3000 Nights

Sunday, September 18, 2:00 p.m.
The Little Theatre, #5
240 East Avenue, Rochester
Admission $10 ($5 students)

A Palestinian woman’s random good deed leads to her arrest and imprisonment, a feature that illustrates the plight of political prisoners in Israel through one character’s experience.

An actress from the film will be with us in person to lead the discussion immediately following.

The Idol

Monday, September 19, 6:45 p.m.
The Little Theatre, #5
240 East Avenue, Rochester
Admission $10 ($5 students)

This film documents the story of Mohammed Assaf growing up in Gaza with a talent for music. I believe you’ll find interesting his struggles with life in Gaza as he attempts to explore his musical gifts.

Two Blue Lines

Sunday, September 25, 2:00 p.m.
The Little Theatre, #5
240 East Avenue, Rochester
Admission $10 ($5 students)

I recommend this film especially for those who seek information about the Middle East conflict. It reminds me of a study tour to the region; you’ll get many insights and be able to draw your own conclusions.

Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back!

Monday, September 26, 6:45 p.m.
The Little Theatre, #5
240 East Avenue, Rochester
Admission $10 ($5 students)

“Pinkwashing” is the practice of presenting something, particularly a state, as gay-friendly in order to soften or downplay aspects of its reputation considered negative.

This film shows the efforts of activists to oppose programs in Israel’s Hasbara (propaganda) campaign in Seattle.

A Program of ‘Shorts’

Israel’s Wall: Security Or Apartheid?
When I See Them, I See Us
Batman at the Checkpoint
Jerusalem in Exile
My Neighbourhood

Monday, October 10, 6:30 p.m.
St. John Fisher College, Basil 135
3690 East Ave, Rochester
There is no charge for this event

Emma Alpert of Just Vision, the producers of My Neighbourhood, will lead the discussion.

Closing Event: Celebrate Palestine

“Resistance through celebration”
Friday, October 21, 6:00 p.m.
Asbury First United Methodist Church
1050 East Ave, Rochester
Admission $20 ($10 students)

This is an evening of Palestinian food, music, and culture opening with a performance by The Building Company Theater. Special guest is Remi Kanazi, spoken word poet/activist.


Jim Tiefenthal, Co-convener,
Witness Palestine Film Festival

Free Palestine: End Israeli Apartheid: Speaker Jason Farbman @ RIT

Free Palestine: End Israeli Apartheid
Thursday October 2nd, 7pm
RIT, Building 7A, Room 1350 Webb Auditorium
Guest Speaker: Jason Farbman, fellow at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU
More than 1,800 dead, including 1,300 civilians. Some 10,000 injured. The homes of 60,000 people reduced to rubble. Nearly a quarter of Gaza’s 1.8 million residents on the move in search of somewhere safe to shelter from Israel’s rampage.The brutal Israeli assault on Gaza this past summer combined with the use of repressive force against Palestinians on the West Bank and those who are citizens of Israel, has pushed larger numbers to question the Israeli claim that even the most naked aggression is somehow self defense. Many have begun to see through the consistent media bias in favor of Israel and the hardline support for Israel demonstrated by many governments, including and especially ours.  Millions across the world mobilized in solidarity with Gaza.

College campuses have become an ideological battleground anyone daring to criticize Israel’s repression of Palestinians and Students for Justice in Palestine chapters are springing up all across the country.

Join us this Thursday for a discussion of our generations anti-aparthied movement and the international context in which it is developing.

One state with equal rights for all!

Sponsored by the Rochester Branch of the International Socialist Organization

2014 Witness Palestine Film Series

In May, I told you the dates for the 2014 Witness Palestine Film Series. Now that our program is set, here’s information about all seven events, the first of which occurs this month. You should be able to click through to the details on our web site, WitnessPalestineRochester.org.


My Name is Rachel Corrie
Sunday, September 21 at Noon
Monday, September 22 at 8:00 p.m.
MuCCC Theatre, 42 Atlantic Avenue

This is a live, one-woman theater performance, part of the Rochester Fringe Festival. The play is based on Rachel Corrie’s diaries, edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner. The Witness Palestine Film Series helped bring this event to Rochester.

Rachel was an American peace activist, killed in March 2003 while defending a host family’s home from being demolished by an Israeli bulldozer. In the play, we witness the maturation of a girl who is on a search to find her voice. When she does, we watch her use it to speak for a people who have been silenced by occupation.

Ticketed separately by the Rochester Fringe Festival.


Celebrate Palestine
Sunday, November 9, 5:008:00 p.m.
Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Avenue, Rochester NY

One of the important goals of Witness Palestine is to gain an understanding of and appreciation for Palestinian history and culture, both of which get lost in strident regional politics. To this end Celebrate Palestine is intended to be a first-hand exploration of Palestinian food, music, and literature.

Palestinian Suzi Aboud will cater a full Palestinian dinner including a traditional entrée, salad, condiments, and dessert. After dinner, there will be an open mic evening. You’re invited to read your favorite Palestinian prose or poetry – or just listen. All are welcome to participate. There will also be plenty of Palestinian music and perhaps an impromptu attempt at dabke, a modern Arab folk dance.


Thursday, October 30, 6:30 p.m. It’s Better to Jump
St. John Fisher College, Basil 135, 3690 East Avenue, Rochester NY

Hear the hopes and challenges of Palestinians living in Acre, Israel. The title refers to a rite of passage for young people, jumping off the precipice of the Ottoman-era sea wall into the Mediterranean.

Panelist: to be announced by St. John Fisher College

Sunday, November 16, 2:00 p.m. When I Saw You
The Little, 240 East Avenue, Rochester NY

The setting is 1967 and at a refugee camp near Amman, Jordan. New refugees are arriving frequently in the aftermath of the six-day war – joining some who came after the Nakba. Ghaydaa and her 11-year-old son Tarek are among the new arrivals. They don’t know what happened to their husband/father; perhaps he was killed in the fighting. This narrative explores Palestinian exiles’ longing to return home.

Panelist for the discussion immediately following the screening: Annemarie Jacir, director of this film. Via Skype.

Monday, November 17, 6:45 p.m. On the Side of the Road
The Little, 240 East Avenue

Filmmaker Lia Tarachansky is a Jew who was born in Kiev. When she was six her family moved to the Ariel settlement in the West Bank. Her mother wanted to contribute to Zionism, Lia said.

Tarachansky turns the camera on herself as she revisits settlements and interviews current residents. She says her goal is just to examine and narrate.

Panelist: Lia Tarachansky, this film’s director; in person.

Sunday, November 23, 2:00 p.m. Voices Across the Divide
The Little, 240 East Avenue

Filmmaker Alice Rothchild is an American Jew raised on the tragedies of the Holocaust and the dream of a Jewish homeland in Israel. Voices Across the Divide follows her personal journey as she begins to understand the Palestinian narrative while exploring the Palestinian experience of loss, occupation, statelessness, and immigration to the US. The documentary is both a personal journey to understand the Palestinian narrative as well as the implications and contradictions of deeply held cultural beliefs in the Jewish community.

Panelist: Alice Rothchild, co-director of this film; in person.

Monday, November 24, 6:45 p.m. Stone Cold Justice and From al-Araqib to Susiya
The Little, 240 East Avenue

In the first film, a reporter travels to the West Bank to hear the stories of children who claim they have been taken into custody, ruthlessly questioned, and then allegedly forced to sign confessions before being taken to court for sentencing.

The second film describes Israeli suppression of the eponymous villages, one in the Negev west of the green line, the other in the West Bank near Hebron.


  • Brad Parker, an attorney and international advocacy officer with Defence for Children International Palestine, an independent child-rights organization dedicated to defending and promoting the rights of children living in the occupied territories. In person
  • Nadia Ben-Youssef, USA Representative for Adalah, the Haifa-based organization that produced From al-Araqib to Susiya. Via Skype.

Series Pass

New this year is a series pass that admits you to five events for the price of four: Celebrate Palestine and the four programs at The Little. You can buy your pass at the first program — or from The Little. Note that the film at St. John Fisher College is free and open to the public.

Please say “hello” when I see you at these events.

Jim Tiefenthal
Witness Palestine Film Series

Rally at the Federal Building to Demand an End to the Massacre of Palestinians

Please come out!


Brian Erway: 585-755-1895

Brian Lenzo: 585-208-2772

At 5pm on Friday, July 25, there will be a rally at the Federal Building in solidarity with the people in Gaza who are being massacred and driven from their homes by the Israeli army.   Israel’s ground invasion continues and the casualties are mounting. The US government, our government, has professed full support for Israeli actions.   We are horrified by the inaction of the world in the face of this assault on civilians.

In Gaza, more than 650 killed, more than 4,250 wounded, over 100,000 have been displaced. Innocent civilians are 75% of the victims, killed and injured mostly in their own homes or while traveling on the public road. How can people stand silent in the fact of these atrocities?

More than a million Palestinian live in the largest open air prison in the world in Gaza. They are not allowed to leave.  Few resources are allowed in.  Egypt has destroyed the tunnels that used to provide access to necessary goods.   There is a shortage of water and the electricity has been taken out so untreated sewage floods back into towns and villages.   There isn’t enough food and no gas to cook it with.   Now they are slaughtered like fish in a barrel.  Where will it end?

We stand before you to declare our absolute rejection of this policy.  We stand with the innocents and those who cannot protect themselves.  We stand with the people of Gaza and the people of Palestine.  Our government has the power to restrain the Israeli government and stop the slaughter.   They are using US missiles and bombs, Apache helicopters and F-16 warplanes.  They receive 3 billion dollars a year in US aid.  It is time for the US to stop supporting Israeli atrocities.

We demand that they do so NOW!


Sponsored byRochester Against War and The International Socialist Organization andChristian Witness for Palestine

A song from Penny Stone for the children of Gaza

Published on Jul 19, 2014

This song is about some people in a place called Gaza. The media too often paint pictures of people in Gaza as victims or terrorists. They are just people like you an me.

This is the story of some kids in Gaza breaking the world record for the number of kites flown in the sky at the same time.

The people of Gaza have dreams too. It’s time to stop attacking them. It’s time to stop killing them. It’s time they stopped having to live in fear.

Join the Boycott of Israel until the state of Israel start behaving like human beings again. Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions

Contact penny stone

Rally in Solidarity with Palestine

Rally in Solidarity with Palestine

Friday July 18
5:00 – 6:00 PM
@ the Federal Building at 100 State Street
Please come and bring banners and signs.   This is very last minute, again, but the situation is fluid. it looked like Israel might make a deal to back off but since then they have resumed slaughtering Palestinians and destroying their homes. Yesterday they drove 100,000 people from their homes by warning they would bomb them. Sounds like the Nakba. Terrorize the people. Threaten them and drive them out. Most of the people driven out 65  years ago are still refugees. Where will the Gazans go now? They are trapped.

Lets go out one more time to stand in solidarity with the people in Gaza against the horrific assault Israel has once again perpetrated on them.
Israel has no right to target families in their homes. Israel stop killing children. Israel stop killing Palestinians. Israel, you can’t kill Palestine. Come with signs supporting Palestine and Palestinians right to their homeland. Tell Rochester that Palestine lives and it won’t be forgotten.