Reviews of Voices Across the Divide film

From the Witness Palestine Film Series, Rochester, November 2014
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Alice Rothchild – Extended Interview – Arlington Public News
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WRMEA – Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
August 2014
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Gathering Peace April 8 2014 Alice Rothhild – Voices From the Nakba
4/8/2014 WGDR Conversation with Alice Rothchild
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Made of Clay
Conversation with Alice Rothchild
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The Mark Johnson Show
4/7/14 Alice Rothchild discusses plight of Palestinians
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Robin Caudell
“Palestine, from both sides now”
PLATTSBURGH – History is the story of the victors. – That’s what Alice Rothchild, an American-born Jew living in Massachusetts, has learned since embarking on a journey to understand the Israeli and Palestinian issue up-close.

A storyteller, activist and recently retired physician, Rothchild has organized annual health-and-human-rights delegations to Israel/Palestine since 1997.

Based on her observations and interviews, she authored “Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience,” which was published in 2007 with a second edition in 2010.

In her debut theatrical release, “Voices Across the Divide,” Rothchild delivers a rare and powerful documentary that flips the script on the mainstream coverage of Israel and Palestine.

Eitan Bronstein Aparicio
Founder of Zochrot
Voices Across the Divide is a unique example of a “talking heads” film that succeeds to move the viewer and takes him into a stories and testimonies world with empathy and fascination. Alice Rothchild puts her interviewees, all Palestinian refugees, on stage and makes them speak into a microphone in a way that amplifies not only their voices but also their beautiful humanity. They are not victims but citizens of this world struggling for freedom and justice. Alice, an American Jew, is explicitly with them, calling her viewers to action and by that, builds a bridge that fills Across the Divide. I find this movie beautiful and important.

Inez Hedges, Ph.D.
Professor of Languages, Literatures and Cultures
College of Social Sciences and Humanities
Northeastern University

Voices Across the Divide will take you on a historical journey that is, at the same time, a deeply personal narrative about the need for understanding and reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians. It’s an ideal teaching tool for the classroom, for the community, and for sharing with friends and family. Viewing this beautifully directed and edited film is a transformative experience.

Elaine Hagopian
Professor Emerita of Sociology
Simmons College, Boston

Your film is truly excellent. You managed to be non-threatening, though I know there will be those who see it as such. It is very engaging to say the least. For me, it is the best Palestinian Oral History documentary I have seen, both because it is more than a documentary and because it doesn’t follow the stale series of interviews bereft of context and hope.

Kudos to Alice Rothchild for producing an important, powerful and unique documentary. Rothchild gives life to the Palestinian tragedy as she parallels the telling of her own evolution from Zionism to compassionate awareness of Palestinian loss. She provides historical substance and a brilliant moving narrative of the chronology of events. With clarity and respect, she expresses empathy for both peoples, but recognizes that the Palestinian catastrophe has neither been acknowledged nor rectified. The film intertwines touchingly the telling of the history, which ties both people together, with the oral histories of a number of Palestinians from the 1948 and 1967 wars. The interviewees speak with dignity, not angst. The documentary’s message is clear: resolution and reconciliation are possible when Palestinian grievances are recognized. Truly, Voices Across the Divide is a must see film. It is an invitation to the sanity Rothchild so superbly exhibits.

Dr. Sara Roy
Senior Research Scholar Associate
Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Harvard University

A moving and deeply insightful journey into a history that Palestinians and Jews both share. Rothchild gives voice to Palestinians and in so doing, shows that she is giving voice to the Jewish people as well.

Rabbi Alissa Wise
Jewish Voice for Peace

To hear the stories of the Nakba told by those that experienced it reminds us how recent it was, and how critical it is for those still alive to see justice in their lifetimes. Voices Across the Divide is an essential film for all those who hope to one day see peace, justice and equality for Israelis and Palestinians.

Rabbi Brian Walt
Brilliant! an incredibly powerful and important movie, especially for Jews who know so little about what happened to the Palestinians in 1948. Without understanding the Nakbah, there is no hope for peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
The movie was an invitation to travel an amazing journey. The photos and stories of the Palestinian life before the Nakbah opened my eyes – as they did Alice’s – to a world that has been deliberately hidden from me. As a Jew, I learned so much about Israel but it was only part of the story, the narrative of the Palestinians was deliberately distorted and hidden.
For me as a Jew, 1948 and the creation of the State of Israel was a tremendous source of joy and pride. I had no idea that a whole people had been dispossessed and their villages destroyed, 1948 from the Palestinian perspective. The movie is a beautiful invitation to go on an important, difficult but very hopeful journey with Alice as she opens her eyes to the “other” narrative. A courageous, poignant, challenging and hopeful movie!
What a gift for all of us!

Mike Daly
Program Coordinator, Interfaith Peace-Builders

Voices Across the Divide is an important film. Using her own story of transformation as a frame to draw viewers in, Alice Rothchild introduces us to Palestinians telling their own stories. These human stories tell of displacement and exile – and survival and resilience. And the stories are too often unheard in the US. As we meet Palestinians of different ages, backgrounds, and waves of displacement, family photos and archival footage help to draw us into the film and personalize the Palestinian experience.

May Seikaly
Associate Professor, Modern Middle Eastern History, Wayne State University ,Department of Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures (Near Eastern Studies)

I liked the documentary very much and on the whole it relays the essence of the dilemmas Palestinians and somewhat the other side too…I would have wished to hear more of the voiceless and seriously marginalized camp residents. One angle , I thought was succinct was the common convergence of human suffering, cruelty of fate as a result of planned and orchestrated methods of uprooting- this was well relayed and emotionally punctuated. Injustice, mistreatments and dispersal, did not seem to block persistence and resistance in the experience of those interviewed- a testimony to human resilience even after over sixty years. The stories of individual suffering are so important humanizing the catastrophe and the life spent in the shadow of that catastrophe, and informing of the various layers of the Israeli oppression. It was a relief to see women well portrayed as the protectors of history, of legacy, of family and resistance- the quiet, persistent and empowering role of women is well documented.
(May Seikaly has served on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, on the Wayne State University Press Committee, on the Editorial Committee of the Journal of Palestine Studies, on the Albert Hourani Award Committee and on the Task force for the Arab American Museum in Detroit.)

Anat Biletzki
Professor of Philosophy at Tel Aviv University and Quinnipiac University
previous chairperson of B’Tselem (2001-2006)

We know the facts, we’re familiar with the history, we’ve encountered – first hand – the evils of occupation, that of 1967 and also that of 1948. There is a weariness, even a certain cynicism, that goes with the knowledge and, accompanying that, a bleakness leading to “nothing will ever change.” We sometimes call it a rational despair – a hopelessness born of political realism and based on direct acquaintance with the real world of Palestine-Israel. So we are, therefore, unexpectedly gratified to be impacted so deeply by a movie like Voices across the Divide – a movie that doesn’t mince words, doesn’t round corners, doesn’t pretend and doesn’t excuse. But still, a movie that succeeds in returning us to the human essence underlying this tragic story. Does it give us hope? We don’t know – but it certainly touches us, moving us to reflect, yet again, on where we might still go in this story and, more importantly, how we might go there with those across the divide.

Ami Asher
(completed the Hebrew subtitles for the film)

There’s one thing I wanted to tell you about your film. To be totally honest, here in Israel, as a Jew, I’m used to see Palestinians shy away from me, or avoid eye contact. At first when I read your script, I thought that yours was an unrepresentative group of witnesses, as they all seemed well-off, educated, etc. But when I looked at them in the actual film, so confident, particularly in comparison to other films and my own experience, I found myself happy for them, and for you, that you are able to interact as equals, something which is very difficult to achieve here. They sound so powerful and free, despite their trauma. Keep up the good work.

Jen Marlowe
Author of The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker, Director of One Family in Gaza

“Voices Across the Divide” provides an essential perspective about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, filling in gaps of a narrative that it is absolutely imperative for Jewish Americans, in particular, to confront.

Terry Ahwal
Interviewee for the documentary

I am overwhelmed with the honesty and passion you put into this project. As a child I dreamed and wished to have the power to expose the reality of the Israeli occupation. Your documentary brought this dream to life.
Whenever I feel at a loss for the lack of progress in Palestine, I think of people like you, who give hope to victims of the atrocities. On Thanksgiving, I will share this documentary with my Jewish cousins in Pittsburgh. I hope this will shed some light on what truly happened in Palestine in 1948.
Again, I cannot express my gratitude, maybe this documentary will be the beginning for truth and reconciliation.

Rabbi Joseph Berman
V’Haya Im Shamoa – “If you really listen…” (Deuteronomy 11:13). For many in the Jewish community, an important first step in peacemaking is listening to Palestinian voices and hearing Palestinian narratives. In focusing on Palestinians telling their own stories, Voices Across the Divide provides a powerful opportunity for Jews and others to begin to understand Palestinian experiences of al-Nakba (The Catastrophe), exile, and occupation. Truly opening ourselves to the voices in this film creates the internal groundwork that is necessary to work for justice, equality and self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis.

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