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Sundance Film Festival to feature doc on system of control in longest-running occupation

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The Sundance Film Festival begins later this week in Utah. How exciting to get the announcement that the film fest has picked up Praxis Films’  The Law in These Parts.

THE LAW IN THESE PARTS explores the four-decade-old Israeli military legal system in the Occupied Territories. Since Israel conquered the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 War, the military has imposed thousand of orders and laws, established military courts, sentenced hundreds of thousand of Palestinians, enabled half a million Israeli “settlers” to move to the Occupied Territories and developed a system of long-term jurisdiction by an occupying army that is unique in the world.

THE LAW IN THESE PARTS explores this unprededented and little-known story through testimonies of the military legal professionals who were the archtects of the system and helped run it in its formative years.

Directed by Ra’anan Alexandrovicz. Laura Poitras producer. Sundance’s synopsis:

“This film is not about the people who broke the law, but about those entrusted with the law,” says director Ra’anan Alexandrowicz about his latest project. Ambitiously perceived, sparely designed, and meticulously executed, The Law in These Parts is commanding and compassionate as it goes to the heart of Israel’s moral quandary. In this country founded on democratic principles, Alexandrowicz asks—in both simple and profound terms—can justice truly be served in the occupied territories given the current system of law administered by Israel for Palestinians?

(Hat tip Matthew Graber @WPEB881RAA )

annie
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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44 Responses

  1. Winnica
    Winnica
    January 16, 2012, 9:29 am

    Actually, if you ask the Tibetans, the occupation of their homeland and the exile of many of their people began earlier than the Israeli occupation, which began in 1967. Also, parts of the Israeli occupation have in the meanwhile been ended; not so for the Tibetans.

    Some Kashmiris would make a similar claim. The West Saharans and some of the Cypriots will tell you their occupation hasn’t been much shorter.

    • MLE
      MLE
      January 16, 2012, 10:01 am

      We’re really splitting hairs on this one, aren’t we?

      • Winnica
        Winnica
        January 16, 2012, 10:43 am

        Not really. It raises the obvious question, If Mondoweiss is against long-term occupations, why does it focus only on one.

      • Donald
        Donald
        January 16, 2012, 11:00 am

        “It raises the obvious question, If Mondoweiss is against long-term occupations, why does it focus only on one.”

        Here’s the obvious answer–the blog is mainly about the Israeli occupation, not occupations in general.

        Sheesh, maybe someone better dredge up the JSF list of the four basic arguments. We’re gonna be hit by a number of variations, it seems.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        January 16, 2012, 11:04 am

        Not really. It raises the obvious question, If Mondoweiss is against long-term occupations, why does it focus only on one.

        Now how did I know that was coming? Welcome to Mondoweiss, Winnica, if only as a bemused anthropological observer. You might want to have a look at this: http://www.jeremiahhaber.com/2007/09/singling-out-israel-for-moral.html

      • Donald
        Donald
        January 16, 2012, 11:06 am

        Nevermind, I looked it up myself–

        How to make the case for Israel and win

      • eljay
        eljay
        January 16, 2012, 11:07 am

        >> It raises the obvious question, If Mondoweiss is against long-term occupations, why does it focus only on one.

        As a quick glance at this site’s “About” page reveals, this site is not dedicated to “long-term occupations”:

        ————————————–
        It has four principal aims:
        1.To publish important developments touching on Israel/Palestine, the American Jewish community and the shifting debate over US foreign policy in a timely fashion.
        2.To publish a diversity of voices to promote dialogue on these important issues.
        3.To foster the movement for greater fairness and justice for Palestinians in American foreign policy.
        4.To offer alternatives to pro-Zionist ideology as a basis for American Jewish identity.

        ————————————–

        If one were to join a site dedicated to discussing the China-Tibet issue, and to excuse China’s actions because “Israel does it, too!”, that person would look just as stupid as every Zio-supremacist who comes to this site excusing Israel’s actions because “China does it, too!”

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        January 16, 2012, 11:11 am

        It began in 1948, Winnica. That was the year the Ziobots dispossessed the Palestinians. How come there are so many people crammed into the Gaza Strip? How did this happen?
        Everything Israel does is a follow on from 1948.

      • annie
        annie
        January 16, 2012, 11:21 am

        winnica, i am going to write phil and adam about deleting threadjacking first comments in general. i put a certain amount of effort into drafting these posts and i don’t do it so you or anyone else can come along and change the topic on the first comment. i think it’s rude and impolite. you could have asked me that later.

        this is my personal opinion and does not reflect blog policy but if this is something you continue to do i’ll make a big stink about it, big stink.

      • James North
        James North
        January 16, 2012, 11:27 am

        Shmuel: Hasbara Central really needs a better training course. Winnica has followed their long-familiar pattern: a new commenter shows up on Mondoweiss, full of wide-eyed, feigned innocence, followed within 48 to 72 hours by outrage at most of what they see here. Mondoweiss demands more sophisticated sparring partners!!

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        January 16, 2012, 12:15 pm

        A particular action is wrong if a true universal principle logically implies that it is. So what happens if we say that some action is wrong and another action, genuinely very like the first, is then mentioned?
        The likeness of the two actions supports, does not weaken, the view taken of the first one. If the second action is brought into the debate as something already known to be wrong and as a clear parallel to the first, it merely proves that the argument against the first action was all along right, not that it was all along questionable.
        No one at any stage of a debate is obliged to mention everything relevant before saying anything at all.

      • Pamela Olson
        Pamela Olson
        January 16, 2012, 12:15 pm

        More sophisticated sparring partners? Good luck with that… we’re talking about Zionists here. They are masters at fooling themselves, and bullying the weak-minded. But that’s all they got. It’s why they’re losing despite boatloads of money in a world of freely shared information.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        January 16, 2012, 12:26 pm

        Winnica, why should every single blog make categorical statements about every single issue on the planet and throughout history.

        Why wouldn’t MW condemn other colonial projects and other injustices?

        Do you see Phil Weiss saying otherwise? Do you see Adam Horowitz saying otherwise? Do either of them support the dictators in the Arab world or the Islamic fundamentalists?

        Phil is very transparent and sincere. He talks about his past mistakes.

        So I see NO basis for your insinuations.

        Moreover, you just don’t want us to talk about THIS occupation. It has nothing to do w/ other issues; other crimes; other whatevers.

        It has to do with us talking about something YOU specifically care about.

        And your reaction (as well as many other Zionists) is instead to divert attention away from Israel by filibustering (Darfur/China/blah blah). As if we are pro-Darfur genocide or something.

        This is an I-P blog.

        Why don’t you go to a blog critical of other issues and then say to them, why don’t you talk about Israel?

      • American
        American
        January 16, 2012, 12:38 pm

        If Mondoweiss is against long-term occupations, why does it focus only on one.”

        Because it is about ‘one’.
        For discussions about any and everything else there are plenty of blogs and some I am sure specifically about Tibet if that’s your interest.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        January 16, 2012, 12:53 pm

        I think they also have respectability, which we still lack. Preposterous arguments from respectable people get taken seriously. Still, better be right than respectable.

      • MLE
        MLE
        January 16, 2012, 3:06 pm

        Do The Chinese extend full citizenship to the Tibetans under the land that it claims as part of China?

      • radii
        radii
        January 16, 2012, 3:32 pm

        y’all forgot another one – Witty’s longterm occupation of this site’s comments section

      • john h
        john h
        January 16, 2012, 5:11 pm

        As is everything that Palestine has become, seafoid.

      • munro
        munro
        January 16, 2012, 6:42 pm

        “Sundance” will generate new commenters because zionists are fanatically obsessed with anything the least bit zeitgeisty, particularly with regard to film and tv and Sundance owner Redford has very strong credentials on the environment, Native Americans, animals. Not good.

      • Justice Please
        Justice Please
        January 17, 2012, 6:21 am

        Annie,

        “i put a certain amount of effort into drafting these posts and i don’t do it so you or anyone else can come along and change the topic on the first comment.”

        I support that.

      • Shmuel
        Shmuel
        January 17, 2012, 6:43 am

        Hasbara Central really needs a better training course.

        Mondoweiss should submit a proposal. I’m thinking a fat sub-contract from the Ministry of Information. We do it anyway; might as well support our favourite blog in the process :-)

      • peeesss
        peeesss
        January 17, 2012, 11:45 am

        Right on Annie. Winnica , conveniently leaves out the fact of complete, total, US support for Israel, militarily, economically, diplomatically which has enabled the continued occupation of Palestine and the obscene violence and humiliation its inhabitants have been made to suffer. Our tax dollars and Zionist occupied congress allow this . I don’t believe we can say that about Tibet and Kashnir.

    • eljay
      eljay
      January 16, 2012, 10:47 am

      >> Actually, if you ask the Tibetans, the occupation of their homeland and the exile of many of their people began earlier than the Israeli occupation, which began in 1967.

      “Israel: We may not be as good as the best but, hey, at least we’re not as bad as the worst!” (c)

      • justicewillprevail
        justicewillprevail
        January 16, 2012, 11:26 am

        Well at least you acknowledge the heinous nature of the Israeli occupation, and being in the same category as China’s occupation of Tibet, and its attempt to wipe out its indigenous culture and history. As a matter of fact, the parallel has been mentioned on more than one occasion here, so I think you can take it that people here generally detest the occupations of both indigenous people. The Israeli occupation is of course the focus of this blog, and you can find others dedicated to Tibet. Somehow, though, you don’t come across as caring a damn about the occupation and dispossession of native people. I wonder why. Meanwhile, back on planet earth, there is an interesting and releveant film being shown at Sundance, perhaps you should see it, then you might have something to contribute here, rather than pathetic trolling.

      • January 16, 2012, 1:05 pm

        I would quarrel with this statement:

        “In this country founded on democratic principles, Alexandrowicz asks—in both simple and profound terms—can justice truly be served in the occupied territories given the current system of law administered by Israel for Palestinians?”

        No, Israel was NOT founded on “democratic principles,” not for a minute, not in its planning, not in its foundational writings, not in its earliest acts, not in its history of denial of the obligation to respect the rule of law. Jabotinsky enshrined the principle that “might makes right” in his militarist plans that Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, Jabotinsky’s assistant, followed, and that Bibi carries out today.

        From its inception in the 1880s Israel was to grant self-determination ONLY to Jews; intended to disempower the indigenous peoples of Palestine; acted in disregard of rule of law; and acts today not only in disregard of rule of law but also under the philosophy and praxis that Israel’s process of eroding protections of law in the international arena should itself BECOME the prevailing way of being among all nations.

        Chas Freeman pointed out how Israel disdains law:

        These crimes have been linked to a concerted effort to rewrite international law to permit actions that it traditionally prohibited, in effect enshrining the principle that might makes right.

        As the former head of the Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Legal Department has argued:

        “If you do something for long enough the world will accept it. The whole of international law is now based on the notion that an act that is forbidden today becomes permissible if executed by enough countries . . . . International law progresses through violations.”

        A colleague of his has extended this notion by pointing out that:

        “The more often Western states apply principles that originated in Israel to their own non-traditional conflicts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, then the greater the chance these principles have of becoming a valuable part of international law.”

        These references to Iraq and Afghanistan underscore the extent to which the United States, once the principal champion of a rule-bound international order, has followed Israel in replacing legal principles with expediency as the central regulator of its interaction with foreign peoples. The expediently amoral doctrine of preemptive war is such an Israeli transplant in the American neo-conservative psyche. Neither it nor other deliberate assaults on the rule of law have been met with concerted resistance from Palestinians, Arabs, or anyone else, including the American Bar Association.

      • MLE
        MLE
        January 16, 2012, 3:01 pm

        The whole democratic principles thing is a Hasbra talking point. I don’t think people would argue that the Israeli definition of democracy is a bitmofma stretch.

  2. LeaNder
    LeaNder
    January 16, 2012, 9:38 am

    Hi Annie, isn’t it a bit early on the West Coast?

    Your details look interesting. But I have to figure out why some videos don’t work on my Firefox. Anything special about this one?

    • LeaNder
      LeaNder
      January 16, 2012, 9:49 am

      Vimeo again. Do they use a different format, does anyone know?

      But yes, I remember this documentary. Good one.

    • annie
      annie
      January 16, 2012, 11:09 am

      Hi Annie, isn’t it a bit early on the West Coast?

      good morning LeaNder. i actually drafted this sat night, finishing blockquotes yesterday. it probably would have gone up had the breaking news not blown everything into a topsy turvy but you’d have to ask phil or adam about that. they make the editorial decisions about when things get published. as a matter of habit tho i am usually up and running by 5:30/6:00 am. (3 hrs before the MW timestamp)

      as for the film, i actually saw and extended version of a trailer (as i recall it was 10-15 minutes) back in july at 972 joseph dana’s here: http://972mag.com/new-film-investigates-israels-military-justice-system-in-the-west-bank/18990/

      i was one of the only people who saw it (notice first comment on the thread), just a coincidence i happened to be there at the time. the ‘trailor’ was pulled very shortly after it was posted and dana replaced it with another video and added other text.

      this trailer is good and gives one a very good sense of the movie, but what i saw before was absolutely exceptional. there’s nothing on film like it. nothing.
      you may have to download flash or something like that to watch vimeo.

      either way, try to watch the whole movie when you get a chance. i can’t wait to see it.

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        January 16, 2012, 11:20 am

        i actually drafted this sat night, finishing blockquotes yesterday.

        thanks Annie, I realized this after I was wondering how early it must be on the West Cost. I have flash, but for whatever reasons Vimeo videos only work on IE for me. I have to look into this.

        05.30, that’s middle of the night for me.

      • annie
        annie
        January 16, 2012, 5:53 pm

        i know but i think of it as a blessing. generally i sleep around 6 hours, it just works for me. i’ve always been a morning person.

  3. Siegfried al-Haq
    Siegfried al-Haq
    January 16, 2012, 9:43 am

    Alexandrowicz is an interesting case of an Israeli director — his earlier doc “The Inner Tour” is a stand-out work, one that goes to the heart of the right of return. However when I asked him once if he considered the film anti-Zionist he was very conflicted with the label. When the film screened at MOMA he similarly distanced himself from the label during the Q&A. I saw him as a kind of leftist Israeli artist I occasionally run into — able to express a critique of Zionism almost unconsciously through his creative work, but very uneasy with socially and publicly embracing the critique he had just enacted or articulating it through available political frameworks of “anti-Zionism” or otherwise. His next film, James’ Journey to Jerusalem, is a nice liberal film against racism directed towards African migrants in Israel — nothing to complain of, but plainly and safely in the realm of acceptable critique, a film that is cozy with Zionism. As I recall, it doesn’t even reference Palestine/Palestinians. I was disappointed seeing it, I felt he was moving away from edge into the soft center of Israeli public discourse. But I’ve held out hope and this film seems more promising… I look forward to seeing it.

    • annie
      annie
      January 16, 2012, 6:14 pm

      when I asked him once if he considered the film anti-Zionist he was very conflicted with the label

      this doesn’t surprise me. thanks for your comment.

  4. Richard Witty
    Richard Witty
    January 16, 2012, 12:00 pm

    Thanks for that recommendation Annie.

    I assume you recommend the film.

  5. January 16, 2012, 12:21 pm

    “I asked him once if he considered the film anti-Zionist, he was very conflicted with the label. ”

    Why do people always try to put a label on anybody??
    Why do they try to squeeze other people in some kind of drawers, so then they can take them out of those drawers, and use whenever needed??
    Anti-zionist, liberal anti-zionist , conservative anti zionist, progressive anti-zionist, leftist anti-zionist, secular anti-zionist, ultra anti-zionist, hyper-anti-zionist, hypo-anti-zionist, almost anti zionist ,”wanna be” anti- zionist,” gonna be ” anti-zionist, anti-zionist with affinity to zionism, anti-zionist in making, anti-zionist in breaking, anti-zionist in zionist’s clothes, …………..
    Maybe he just tries to be objective, honest, ABOVE all the labels??
    Maybe he just wants to present the movie , for the audience to see, to learn, to discuss, to judge.
    As long as he has done the docummentary honestly, trying to be as objective, fair and square as possible, then let’s appreciate the effort , without trying to put a label on his back.

  6. Les
    Les
    January 16, 2012, 12:26 pm

    Who were the lawyers who helped Hitler write his many and varied of laws against Germany’s Jews? Good Germans, I imagine.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976
      January 17, 2012, 5:57 am

      The most ingenious and important, Hans Globke, remained in high honour after the war in the Adenauer regime. One of my early memories is of sitting in a library reading a journalist in a (moderately) conservative magazine attempting to rubbish Betrand Russell, to whom we should have listened more, for pointing this out.

  7. john h
    john h
    January 16, 2012, 5:35 pm

    Here’s 18 minutes worth (no English).

  8. Dagon
    Dagon
    January 16, 2012, 9:50 pm

    Yeah,he cares about Tibet.There are many temples around the cincinnati area.for few years now one has two big signes on it’s lawn saying:A call to your concious,darfur.One day I might go crazy and buy the house across the street and have some fun with the hypocrites.

  9. dbroncos
    dbroncos
    January 16, 2012, 10:23 pm

    Winneca:
    “Not really. It raises the obvious question, If Mondoweiss is against long-term occupations, why does it focus only on one.”

    Tibet, Cypress, Kashmir, Palestine – American tax payers are only financing Israel’s occupation army in Palestine – that’s one important reason why.

  10. Light
    Light
    January 16, 2012, 10:30 pm

    Looks interesting. The last quote in the trailer is telling

    “But when it goes on for 40 years…”

    The judge is in complete denial of the Nakba.

    • iamuglow
      iamuglow
      January 17, 2012, 3:34 am

      It does look interesting.

      The quote…

      “Order and justice don’t always go hand in hand. ”

      is another telling quote.

  11. Justice Please
    Justice Please
    January 17, 2012, 6:21 am

    Cool that Sundance shows it. I hope many are watching!

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