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Say DeNiro and Bil’in in the same breath, and you’ve won the game

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Today I am going to try and do hopeful posts that don’t scare anyone off. Because I think our side is winning, and it is important to reach out to the middle. The neocons really are on an ice floe these days. It’s a big ice floe, but it’s an ice floe. The broad middle is now in transition. Mainstream types are beginning to question the ideology of permanent war that grew out of Israeli intransigence. They are beginning to see that Israeli intransigence is as important a factor here as "Palestinians not being a partner for peace," the old mantra. I bet even Rahm Emanuel sees that. Certainly David Axelrod is questioning that mantra. Netanyahu did us a huge favor by coming to the U.S. and defying Obama in front of AIPAC. It was like the ’92 Republican Houston convention, a giant political misstep borne of arrogance. When he said Jerusalem is not a settlement and we were building there 3000 years ago, secular Jews have to be sick to their stomachs. They understand the principle of Palestinian self-determination, and recognize at some level that our community has helped to destroy that principle for six decades. Oh but I said I wasn’t going to scare anyone off! Decaf!

Why am I optimistic?

Well I deal in straws in the wind, and here is the latest: an announcement about Budrus, the documenary, from Ronit Avni, a filmmaker and social activist whom I saw at J Street. Note all the signifiers in her exultant email of popular culture; note that all the signifiers are lining up in favor of Palestinian freedom. Note the wonderful mixing of American celebrities and Palestinian names. Note that the left is now clearly aligned with Palestinian freedom; the old days of Progressive Except for Palestine are evaporating before our eyes. Avni:

We are off to an unbelievable start. Budrus kicked off its North American premiere with a private event at the Tribeca Film Festival hosted by Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan. Protagonist and Palestinian nonviolence leader Ayed Morrar joined the filmmakers in a panel hosted by Christiane Amanpour. The movie was introduced by Jane Rosenthal and the audience included many of our supporters as well as festival founder Robert De Niro. Meanwhile, producer Rula Salameh screened the film to a cheering audience at the Bil’in annual nonviolence conference in the West Bank.

Several days later Budrus sold out every screening at the Tribeca Film Festival. Arab, Jewish, Christian and Muslim community leaders, academics, journalists and celebrities attended, including filmmaker Michael Moore and Jessica Alba. On Thursday we even won the Special Jury Mention! You can view photos of these events on our Facebook page by clicking on "photos" and visiting the various albums. It was very moving to see so many familiar faces joining us to show their support. The film received terrific reviews and media coverage in outlets ranging from ABC News, the Jewish Week, Al Jazeera International and Arabic, NY1, the Washington Post, Channel 10 in Israel and The Nation. To review this coverage, visit We were especially honored to meet with journalists at a private discussion hosted by the New America Foundation following a screening.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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