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Home Front (2012)

Thursday, September 27, 2012, 6:45 – 9:00 p.m.

Location: The Little Theatre, 240 East Avenue Rochester NY ~ Tickets $8 from The Little box office

“Home Front” run time: 32 minutes ~ “One Family in Gaza” run time: 23 minutes ~ Style: documentary ~ Language: Arabic with subtitles ~ Format: video projection

This film is shown in the same program with “One Family in Gaza”

Four video portraits profile Palestinians fighting Israeli settler takeover of their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah section of East Jerusalem as well as Israeli solidarity activists who support them.

  1. Mohammed El Kurd is a Palestinian teenager whose family is forced to give up part of their home and live under the same roof as a family of settlers. He comes of age in the face of unrelenting tension with his neighbors and unexpected cooperation with Israeli allies in his backyard.
  2. An American-born Israeli mother, Terry Benninga, to her own surprise becomes involved in the demonstrations after her children are arrested for protesting.
  3. Amal Qassem is a Palestinian community organizer from Sheikh Jarrah. She spearheads the involvement of local women in the movement while facing the risk of losing her own home to the settlers.
  4. Gil Butglick: a former Israeli soldier from a religious background who only several years after his combat service in the West Bank finds himself taking on a leading role in the protests.


Jen Marlowe (via Skype)
Jen Marlow, author and panelist
Old City Sami Al Jundi Jerusalem Israel

The producer of One Family in Gaza, Jen Marlowe will take part via Skype.

Jen Marlowe is a Seattle-based author/documentary filmmaker/playwright and human rights advocate. Jen began her professional life working at Seattle Children’s Theatre. From 1994-2000, she did youth theatre work in Seattle, using theatre as a platform for students to tell their stories. Jen lived and worked in Jerusalem from 2000-2004, using some of these same techniques to engage in dialogue-based conflict resolution with Palestinian and Israeli teenagers. Jen also did conflict resolution work with youth in Afghanistan, Cyprus, India, Pakistan and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was while working with youth in conflict areas when she first picked up a video camera – at that time, in order to record messages being exchanged between Israeli and Palestinian youth.

In her book The Hour of Sunlight, Jen helped her Palestinian co-author, Sami Al Jundi, tell his story starting with ten years in an Israeli prison. He was involved in militant anti-occupation activities as a youth and spent the last two decades of his life working towards nonviolence and peaceful reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Jen is also the playwright of There is a Field, which addresses issues faced by Palestinian citizens of Israel. The play launched globally in October 2010, to mark the ten-year anniversary of Black October.

She’s joining us through Skype. As we understand her schedule, she’ll be in the Middle East during our screening of her film.

Dr. Ismail Mehr 
panelist Ismail Mehr
Dr. Ismail Mehr

An anesthesiologist at St. James Mercy Health System in Hornell NY, Dr. Mehr volunteered numerous times overseas for emergency medical relief – including during the Gaza war in 2009. He said, “I still remember the indescribable joy I felt once I stepped foot inside Palestine [through the Rafah checkpoint from Egypt] and I saw the same feelings mirrored on the faces of my team members. It’s ironic how crossing into a land which has been violated and victimized for the past 60 years brought out such feelings.”

Israel’s embargo has crippled Gaza’s healthcare system, Dr. Mehr reported. “The medical equipment is outdated and in shambles. If something breaks down parts cannot come in. If someone has cancer, he or she won’t find chemotherapy for treatments. The Palestinian medical community is eager for knowledge and training in newer treatments and techniques. Unfortunately they cannot venture outside of Gaza, nor can outside experts come in on a frequent and consistent basis to help train professionals in Gaza.”

During his mission, he provided anesthesia with an outdated and substandard anesthesia machine.

His medical work abroad has been through the Islamic Medical Association of North America for which he chairs its Medical Relief committee.

In his spare time he coaches football at Hornell High School.