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"Little Town of Bethlehem" film: Holy Land Trusts Anti-Israel Activism with a Theological Backdrop
- “Little Town of Bethlehem” is a 77-minute documentary film distributed by EthnoGraphic Media (EGM), a non-profit media organization. The film tells the story “of three men of three different faiths and their lives in Israel and Palestine. The story explores each man’s choice of nonviolent action amidst a culture of overwhelming violence.”
- Using a façade of multiple viewpoints, the film actually presents a single narrative of Palestinian victimization and Israeli violence. The three interviewees include two Palestinian leaders of a highly politicized anti-Israel NGO (see below) and a radical Israeli activist.
- EGM is hosting “Global Voices of Nonviolence,” a 12-day “global conversation,” starting September 21, 2011. It begins with a screening of the film and a live panel discussion, all streamed online and hosted at the Catholic University of America based in Washington, DC and co-sponsored by the University’s Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies
- Sami Awad, Executive Director of Holy Land Trust and one of the subjects of the film, will appear on the panel.
- EGM is not generally involved in anti-Israel activism, but produces films highlighting what it considers social injustices worldwide.
Those involved in the production of the film include:
- Yonatan Shapira (interviewed), a far-left anti-Israel activist. Shapira represents a marginal and fringe viewpoint within Israel. He is active in Breaking the Silence, a highly politicized NGO. Shapira participated in the “Free Gaza” flotilla in 2010 and was aboard another flotilla attempt in 2011. He also defaced the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto wall, spray painting “Liberate all ghettos” on the walls.
- Sami Awad (interviewed), Executive Director and Founder of Holy Land Trust (HLT). Awad has stated that non-violent demonstrations are “not a substitute for the armed struggle.” Awad has also minimized Israel’s legitimate security needs as a “manipulation” of the fear of another Jewish Holocaust. In a speech given at the “Christ at the Checkpoint” Conference in 2010, Awad stated that “the [Israeli] soldier now, who’s gone through that trauma experience [of visiting Auschwitz] now is trained in this weaponry all of a sudden is also put at a checkpoint inside the West Bank, between Palestinian areas.”
- Ahmad Al’azzeh (interviewed), Activities Coordinator of HLT. Al’azzeh advocates a one-state solution and the so-called “right of return.”
- Mark Arnold (Producer), a Canadian lawyer involved in legal attacks against Israel. Arnold represented Al Haq and the Village of Bil’in in a frivolous lawsuit in 2008 filed in the Quebec Superior Court against two Montreal companies they accused of “aiding, abetting, assisting and conspiring with the State of Israel” to commit “war crimes.” The case was dismissed in the preliminary stages and the court imposed costs on Al Haq.
- Awni Jubran (Production Staff), Office Manager for HTL.
Holy Land Trust