BRATTLEBORO — On Thursday, July 27, at 6 p.m., 118 Elliot, co-sponsored by Jerusalem Peacebuilders (JFB) and the Windham World Affairs Council, will host a unique evening of film and dialogue bringing together Vermonters, Israelis, and Palestinians to explore and develop their understanding of the difficult moral and political issues behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The evening begins with film director and producer Stephen Apkon presenting his acclaimed film, Disturbing the Peace (2016, 87 minutes) which artfully plumbs the painful realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the personal challenges of former combatants working together to end the violence.
The screening of this compelling film will be followed by small group discussions led by teams of Israeli and Palestinian teens who are in Brattleboro as part of JPB's annual interfaith, leadership program, according to a news release.
Adding to the event, 50 Iraqi teens from SIT's Young Iraqi Leadership Exchange Program plan to watch the film and share their views.
Founded in 2011 by two Brattleboro residents, the Rev. Nicholas and Dorothy Porter, Jerusalem Peacebuilders is an interfaith nonprofit organization with the mission of creating a better future for humanity across religions, cultures, and nationalities. Its programs focus on uniting Israeli, Palestinian, and American youth and adults and providing them with the opportunities and skills they need to become future leaders for peace in the global community.
“JPB is excited about this local event at 118 Elliot,” Porter said in the news release. “These 16 teens were selected from dozens of applicants from schools and youth programs in Jerusalem, central Israel, and the Galilee. Leading the post-film discussions helps the teens to develop peacebuilding skills and resiliency as they prepare to return to their home communities and become agents for peace.”
Apkon is “one of the leading visualists and educators of the day,” Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme has said. Apkon wrote the acclaimed The Age of the Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens (with a foreword by Martin Scorsese) and founded the renowned Jacob Burns Film Center, a nonprofit film and education organization in Pleasantville, N.Y.
“It is a real privilege to have Jerusalem Peacebuilders offer the community a chance to dialogue with these teens at 118 Elliot. They are the world's hope for a solution to a problem that has destabilized the region and hamstrung the United Nations for half a century,” said Lissa Weinmann, co-director of 118 Elliot and WWAC board member who leads United Nations programming for area high school students.
WWAC Chair Eshagh Shaoul said he believes that “peace between nations, peace between religions and peoples is the only way forward. Showing this film and discussing it with Israelis and Palestinians advances peace and understanding both here in Brattleboro and in a region close to the hearts of many.”
Shaoul and the WWAC board unanimously agreed to co-sponsor this community learning and dialogue event along with Jerusalem Peacebuilders.