"For Cultural Purposes Only":
Curating a Palestinian Film Festival
Bethlehem in the 1970s and 1980s: I well remember the time when it was illegal to show the colors red, white, black and green together—for together they represented the Palestinian flag. This prohibition was at a time when Israeli soldiers were ordered to shoot at, if not to kill, those who exhibited these colors, perhaps hidden on a T-shirt, or stitched on an embroidered bracelet.
We were also forbidden to gather in groups, and when we were on the streets, we would always separate from each other so as not to attract the unwarranted attention of the Israeli Army. Our symbolic unity, like colors of a flag, had to remain separated and detached from one another.
Nevertheless we continued to cross the Israeli borders to visit our families, hid our embroidered bracelets, and smiled when we heard stories of a neighbor daring to hang her laundry out to dry in a specific color scheme. We watched as soldiers desperately tried to find a culprit when they saw the hint of a flag waving at them from atop a tree. Every day we saw new graffiti splashed on walls, and every day the Army would order someone to whitewash over it in a hopeless attempt to cover it up.
As Palestinians, our visual memories were affected by these policies and we thus innately learned the power of representations and images. We also learned that many of our daily activities were considered a threat by our occupiers and thus criminalized, and that our personal expression was not to be taken for granted. Through our daily lives, we found out that colors, symbols and images were invested with dangerous or emancipatory powers. But we also found how sensitive our adversaries were to these symbols—wherever we were in the world, we felt limitations, sometimes even internalized ones, on the quality, quantity and variety of representations available to us—and rarely if ever did we see representations of Palestinians by Palestinians.
In New York, as I began curating the Dreams of a Nation film festival in 2002, these memories returned to me. This project, of which the festival was a part, of presenting, archiving and studying Palestinian cinema is an effective manner to support the continuing struggle of Palestinians to use colors, symbols and images to represent ourselves in the face of the destruction of our culture. The Palestinian colors and flag were targets, but this only is the surface of a military campaign to prevent the emergence of Palestinian cultural and civil institutions. Over the course of the recent Intifada, Israeli forces have continued to systematically destroy and dismantle the cultural infrastructure of Palestinian civil society. It may seem ironic that in this climate, Palestinian filmmaking has matured and evolved in such a way as to attract the world's attention. The primary rationale behind Dreams of a Nation was to highlight and discuss the impressive feat that Palestinian filmmakers were attempting—to develop an aesthetically and socially relevant body of filmmaking just when the achievement of decades of cultural development in the West Bank, Gaza, and elsewhere, was facing new threats. The secondary rationale was quite different: to intervene and contribute to the present rather disappointing cultural discourse on Palestine in the US, and in New York specifically, by introducing the nuanced and compelling work we were seeing from Palestinian filmmakers around the world.
Over the course of the last two years, between 2001 and 2003, it has become clear that one central policy of the Israeli occupation, under the auspices of weakening Palestinian resistance to it, has been to accelerate the systematic destruction of Palestinian cultural and social institutions, and the snuffing out of any semblance of Palestinian cultural vitality. Last year, all across Palestine, cultural organizations, media outlets, educational and research facilities, have been targeted in raids and incursions by the Israeli Army. Files and computers from the ministries of agriculture, industry, civil affairs, and finance have been seized. The Land Registry Office, Central Bureau of Statistics, Palestinian Legislative Council, various human rights organizations, numerous medical institutions, as well as private radio and television stations, have all been searched and ransacked—the greatest amount of damage occurring in the full-scale reoccupation of all major Palestinian cities during April and May 2002.
This matter has historical roots. In 1948 and the few years that followed, 418 Palestinian towns and villages were depopulated, destroyed and occupied and 780,000 Palestinians became refugees. Some of those villages were later populated by new Israeli immigrants, others remain empty to this day. In a few villages, not all buildings were razed or destroyed, as in the case of Qisarya (Cesearea), where the old village mosque remains, but has been converted into a bar and restaurant. For those Palestinians who remained in the new state of Israel, nearly twenty years of internal military rule (from 1948 to 1966) would ensure cultural stagnation and retreat. For those outside, it would also take years of work and development for active cultural institutions to emerge.
During the 1970s and onwards, Israel engaged in a mass campaign to eliminate Palestine’s greatest artists, intellectuals, and leaders through the use of letter bombs, exploding cars and telephones, and muffled assassinations across Europe and Arab world. This operation included the assassinations of novelist Ghassan Kanafani in Beirut (and his 16-year old niece who was in the car with him), writer Wael Zuaiter in Rome, intellectual Mahmoud Al-Hemshari in Paris, poet Kamal Nasser, Kamal Idwan, Ali Salameh, and Mohammad Yousef Al-Najjar (and his wife) in Beirut, Hussein Abu Al-Khair in Cyprus, feminist leader Nada Yashruti in Beirut, Majed Abu Sharar in Rome, Khalil Al-Wazir in Tunis and Atef Bseisso in Paris only to name a few.
Unfortunately, this is not only an historical reality but also reflects a continuing system of destruction that in many ways serves as the backdrop to the difficulties we faced organizing our Palestinian film festival in New York. The threat of ridding Palestine not only of its native inhabitants but also of destroying and erasing all remnants of Palestinian cultural and civil life is still very real.
Let me cite a few recent examples of how this policy is carried out, on the ground, by describing one attack on an important Palestinian cultural institution last April, the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center. This center, a non-profit and non-political community-centered organization, is located in Ramallah, where it serves as a frequent location for art exhibits, concerts, literary events, film screenings, lectures and children's activities. In the April 2002 invasion of Ramallah, the center was targeted by the Israeli army as it swept through the city. The Sakakini Center, whose building is a masterpiece of Palestinian architecture, had four offices broken into—including that of the acclaimed poet Mahmoud Darwish. Irreparable damage was caused to artwork in the building and to the antique original iron door. In addition to ransacking the offices and destroying equipment, the hard drive of the main computer was stolen and the telephone switchboard and alarm system destroyed. I have wondered why the Israeli Army would steal the hard drive of an art institution and have concluded that perhaps Israeli intelligence had hopes to update their contact information of certain Palestinian artists—no doubt for adding their works to their personal collections, as many artists featured at the center have also shown in major international art exhibitions and museums. Given the assassination record of the “only democracy in the Middle East,” I am frightened to think of more sinister uses of the list of Palestinian artists.
In addition to the Sakakini Center, similar destruction befell the Kasaba Theater and Cinemateque, also in Ramallah, which had one week earlier, hosted an event of poetry, music and dance with Mahmoud Darwish. This same institution, only a few weeks before, had hosted Nobel literature prize laureates Wole Soyinka and Jose Saramago who had been visiting Palestine on a solidarity mission. Again, the offices of the theater were ransacked, files and computers destroyed. In addition to the Kasaba Cinemateque and the Sakakini Center, other art institutions which are known forums for Palestinian intellectuals and visual artists to express themselves and show their work were also systematically targeted during the incursions.
The Palestinian media infrastructure was another target: Radio and television stations such as the studios of Radio Hub wa Salaam (Radio Love and Peace), and Al-Quds University's Educational Television, Al Nasr TV, were also broken into by the army and its equipments looted and destroyed. "Irreplaceable archival videos and data have been for ever lost," according to Ayman Bardawil, director of Al Quds Educational Television. The French and Greek Cultural Centers in Ramallah were not spared either (the Greek Center received 10 rockets during the incursion). In Jenin and in Al-Bireh, the Public Municipality Libraries were also broken into and ransacked by the Israeli Army. Other than cultural institutions, other civil society organizations—in the fields of health, social services, and human rights, to cite a few—were also targeted with devastating and clearly calculated accuracy. For example, the Health facilities of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees (UPMRC), a grassroots, community-based health organization founded by doctors and health professionals seeking to supplement the health infrastructure in Palestine, and who have also been involved in the production of educational videos and the training of filmmakers to use their medium to work towards bettering civil society through health and education, had its offices ransacked. Once again, every computer in the office was destroyed, and their hard drives removed. In addition, health records, dating back several decades, were also destroyed. Other office equipment, including video cameras and videotapes were smashed and destroyed and a file room filled with office records was used as a urinal. The list goes on—many other similar events have been chronicled by local and international human rights groups.
This systemic destruction of Palestinian cultural life targeted not only the individual institutions I have mentioned, but much more fundamentally, our national record as a people. This became more obvious when the Ministry of Education had its computer Internet servers stolen along with archives of floppy disks, CDs, files and other important documents. School records were taken or destroyed, including records of official transcripts that had been developed over years, which has now made it impossible to issue students' documents and transcripts for a generation of Palestinian students. The ministry's storage rooms were also invaded where video equipment and other teaching aids were confiscated. The Ministry of Culture in Ramallah was not spared from the raiding, looting and destruction either. This included its library, the art gallery and a Palestinian cinema archive, which contained many historically significant possessions.
This is the context in which our Palestinian film festival, Dreams of a Nation, took place in New York in January 2003. There was a communal urgency in curating the Dreams of a Nation festival for precisely these reasons—it was part of widespread and determined activities carried out by Palestinians worldwide, to resist the systematic destruction of the cultural infrastructure of Palestinian civil life and the further fragmentation of our society.
Just as the military authority issued orders prohibiting our adoption of our national colors, so too did they attempt to impose the occupation through systems of colors and signs. Symbolic of the ways in which Israelis have been able to separate and control Palestinians has been through this apparent obsession with colors on the part of the architects of occupation. For example, cars belonging to Palestinians in the West Bank were formerly made to have blue license plates, while those in Gaza had silver plates and those in Israel had yellow plates. Later it was decided that West Bank and Gaza plates were to be changed to white while Israel's remained yellow (one of the purposes of this is to better identify cars on 'Israelis-only' settler roads, prohibited for use by local Palestinians).
Colors are also used to differentiate identity cards issued to Palestinians and which must be carried at all times: these identity cards and permits come in a palate ranging from orange to blue, depending on whether one is a Palestinian from Gaza, the West Bank, or from inside Israel. For example, West Bankers and Gazans were initially made to carry orange and red cards (both now green) and those Palestinians who live in Israel as well as Palestinians from Jerusalem have to carry blue cards.
The tactic of separation as a method of Israeli control is also evident in the numerous military checkpoints that surround every Palestinian town and village, preventing Palestinians from any real kind of freedom of movement or contiguity. Visually, their impact is stark - they are impositions on the landscape, demarcating clear boundaries and limits for Palestinians in their ability to move from one town to the next. In such circumstances, social cohesion erodes, institutions weaken, and connections unravel. This was an inescapable fact during the planning stages of our festival. Curating the film festival from New York hinged on the necessity of having someone on the ground in Palestine who could physically gather the tapes— since Palestinians in various parts of the West Bank and Gaza are under different levels of military curfew and are often not allowed to leave their homes let alone to venture to a post office to mail videotapes. This made even the mundane details of receiving copies of films for the festival a major difficulty, often requiring sophisticated planning and execution by parties both inside and outside of Palestine.
In one case, we solicited a film titled "Local", made by three Ramallah-based filmmakers, a film which had never been seen outside of Ramallah. My sister Emily in the West Bank, who has the advantage of having a US passport, helped to facilitate the sending of the tape to us in New York. She was usually able to travel across checkpoints while the filmmakers were not—although during curfews she too had no choice but to remain indoors. When the tape was initially requested, a full curfew prevented any initial effort towards obtaining it. This being the case, when the curfew was lifted, Emily went to the home of the filmmakers, picked up the tape, crossed the checkpoints to Jerusalem and mailed the tape to us via Federal Express. My initial relief faded when after two weeks, the tape had not yet shown up. Emily once again traversed the checkpoints from Ramallah and returned to the Federal Express office in Jerusalem where she was informed that the tape had not been sent and was being held for "security reasons." One can only surmise that they had chosen to watch the video in the sealed package, and decided that the work of these Palestinian filmmakers was too much of a threat to allow it to be sent to the festival. After much consternation, we were finally able to get another copy of the tape out of Palestine and to New York through an acquaintance who was willing to carry it out through the airport and mail it from Europe.
Eventually, each with its own story, the tapes began to arrive in our office at Columbia University, all duly marked on the package with the conventional phrase, "For cultural use only, no commercial value”—this is the way films are sent through international customs as submissions to film festivals. In our case however, I felt the "cultural use" disclaimer could be seen as an impediment rather than facilitating the process of crossing borders. The films and videotapes arrived from all corners of the globe, however, in every format and system imaginable, and we proceeded to prepare for their screening.
In addition to the difficulty of receiving tapes of work from within Palestine, it was also often a challenge to merely locate some of the films and filmmakers we hoped to feature. Due to the fact that Palestinians are dispersed all over the world, a global search was required to contact several of them, and since there is no central archive or central location in which information on these films exists, at times we only had a passing mention in an article or a book to go on. (It should be noted that in Lebanon an effort was made to create such an archive. The archive there contained footage from the 1940s to the late 1970s. After the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982, the Palestinian film archives there "disappeared" and, to my knowledge, have never resurfaced in their entirety.) In addition, I could not locate any updated databases of Palestinian cinema today. Due to these facts, in order to obtain many of the films, I had to rely on personal networks to make contact with the filmmakers, and on researching those who have exhibited in various international festivals—both of which are clearly limited means. In addition, there have been a few organizations that have recently brought together the work of Palestinian filmmakers, most notably l'Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris where, in their 2002 biannual film festival, a focus was made upon Palestinian cinema.
Aside from the active effort of the military occupation to prevent any semblance of symbolic unity or personal expression of artists, in addition to the destruction of cultural work undertaken by many organizations and institutions, the act of filmmaking is also subject to interference and barriers due to the nature of the occupation and its policies on the ground. Last year, when I finished shooting a short fiction film in Palestine, as I tried to leave Ben Gurion airport, Israeli airport security confiscated the unprocessed film I was taking out of the country to be developed. As part of a long interrogation, as well as three body searches, it was clear that "security concerns" were not the only reasons for their actions. Among other things, the security officers demanded that I give them a script of what had been shot, as well as the names and whereabouts of the cast and crew who had worked with me. After several hours (having long since missed my flight), they decided to let me go but kept the film with them for another day until they had determined that it was not a "security threat." What is clear to me is the fact that for airport security, the initial concern was not for the security of the airplane, but rather reflected a deep unease about the fact that a Palestinian had simply made a film. In that sense, not much has changed since the days of the first Intifada, when the colors of the Palestinian flag were banned—in the present context, colors, symbols and images are still subject to criminalization.
This story is not unique, but only an example of what filmmakers working in Palestine have to face in their work. For those in the diaspora, simply accessing their homeland has become more and more difficult, sometimes impossible. There are many examples of filmmakers who have been denied entry into the country entirely—a recent example is the experience of Omar Al-Qattan, who is based in London. Al-Qattan is a respected film producer and director (he produced the recently highly-acclaimed PBS television series on the life of Muhammad), and also directs the Culture and Science Program of the A.M. Qattan Foundation, a charitable institution aimed at advancing cultural, educational, and scientific development in the Arab world. In May of 2003, Al-Qattan, who has British citizenship, arrived at Ben Gurion airport with his two-member crew from Belgium, intending to work on a film project, and was denied entry on the grounds of "security.” After long and unpleasant interrogations, with no further explanation given, they were deported back to their respective countries in Europe. Another Palestinian film was prevented in its pre-production.
Other filmmakers, such as Rashid Masharawi, have been allowed back into the country but only on the condition that they remain in their specific Bantustan-like areas, from which they are prevented from leaving by the Israeli authorities. For example, Masharawi, who was born in Al Shati refugee camp in Gaza, has for well over a decade made his home in the West Bank (where both his wife and career are located). Masharawi, who is frequently invited to international film festivals abroad (his film Ticket to Jerusalem has recently gained a theatrical release in the U.S), has been prohibited from returning to his home in Ramallah. Instead, he has only been given permission to enter and remain in Gaza.
As the checkpoints multiply and the destruction of Palestinian cultural activities and institutions occurs, young filmmakers across the West Bank and Gaza are picking up their cameras and creating works that both record and resist these destructive policies. In addition to the several, mostly foreign-financed or produced fiction films shown in the Dreams of a Nation festival, it was crucial to include the daring new works of those documentary filmmakers in Palestine who continue to work alone in such adverse conditions.
This is precisely why our primary criterion for the films in the festival was for its director to be Palestinian. The films had to be by Palestinians and not necessarily about Palestine. I often heard "there are also many non-Palestinian filmmakers working in solidarity with Palestinians. Why can't they be included?" There is no doubt that I find the work of those filmmakers important and noteworthy in their own way, but we did not consider this a festival about political solidarity. We conceived this as a Palestinian film festival—a chance for Palestinians to have a forum to tell their own stories. This was an occasion to celebrate our own cinema and in fact celebrate our own different voices, politics, stories and ways of seeing. For me, this is a matter of our very survival, of resisting our culture's disappearance.
Like many colonized peoples, Palestinians have been the subjects of other people's films and research, and have often been perceived as exotic others, as victims, or as terrorists. We have constantly been subject to other groups' gazes, and yet ironically, whether we live in Palestine or in the Diaspora, we have come to understand how we have been made invisible through the complete absence of our own voices, our own images, and our own imaginations. Instead, we have seen our experiences and lives be represented and mediated through the work—sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes well intentioned, sometimes not—of others.
Another imperative of the festival was to introduce Palestinian cinema to the US, and more specifically to film audiences in New York City. Before the festival began, we had little idea how the event would be received. In addition to bringing these new films to New York audiences, the importance of the festival lay in the fact that most Americans have never had the opportunity to view Palestinian films ever before and that these images and stories are rarely, if ever, seen in the US. Historically, Palestinian voices in the US have been systematically silenced.
This is why the range of films we choose
was meant to include both fiction, documentary, and experimental work and to
give a forum for both well-known filmmakers such as Elia Suleiman, Rashid
Masharawi, Michel Khleifi and Mai Masri, as well as new voices and visions,
including, for example, those of children living in refugee camps (such as the
film "Our Nights and Our Mornings").
We wanted to make a place in New York for Muhammed Bakri's "Jenin,
Jenin" which was banned by the Israeli Censorship Board. We also wanted to
bring together Palestinian filmmakers in the Diaspora with those in Palestine.
The agenda was ambitious; yet we were overwhelmed by the great interest
Palestinians had in the project. Even though, due to time constraints, we were
not able to include as many filmmakers as I would have liked, we were still
able to program over 34 films, of which 3 were world premieres, 12 US premieres
and 5 New York premieres.
Even before we were able to gauge the audience reaction, we had other concerns to distract us. Sadly, there were difficulties in organizing the festival beyond simply logistical issues. As we began the preparations for the film festival, our efforts became known to certain individuals and organizations who felt compelled to register their disregard of our work. Web sites appeared attacking our festival. We also began to receive a barrage of hate mail, personal attacks and death threats. The day before the festival was to begin, campus security and the New York police department became involved, upon receiving word that anti-Palestinian extremists were threatening to violently obstruct the festival. Our computers were hacked, our emails spammed, our voicemails flooded with racist, obscene, and threatening messages. The festival's academic sponsor, Hamid Dabashi, came under pressure as head of the department hosting the event and was made to "explain" numerous times to various university and other authorities the nature of the festival, so as to prevent the event from being cancelled.
“Americans for a Safe Israel” were one among many groups who incited a campaign to not only call the president of Columbia University and threaten that "donations will be withheld and that concerned citizens will use whatever influence they have" to prevent the festival from occurring but they were also urged to call President Bush at the White House and remind him "of the need to honor God's Covenant with Israel." Other web sites published a statement claiming the films in the festival "oppose Israel's existence and call for Arab migration to 'Zionist controlled territory.'" Due to this coordinated campaign, the University was finally forced to release a public statement defending the rights of academic and artistic freedoms where the film festival was concerned.
These responses seemed excessive and absurd. Who opposes film festivals? And in specific, why would anyone want to go to such lengths so as to protest a modest film festival, unique only by virtue of featuring Palestinian filmmakers? What is so threatening about such an event? Is it the filmmakers, the issues they deal with, or something much more fundamental: the symbols, images and representations they bring forth? Or is it simply the fact that for the first time Palestinians had represented their own experiences themselves without mediation and commentary?
Many of these organizations seemed most disturbed by the festival poster - a map of historic Palestine with doves flying from it overlaid on a strip of film. In a very basic way, the poster clearly was representing the land from which these filmmakers originate. No one can dispute the fact that one million Palestinians inside the state of Israel are part of the larger community of Palestinians, which also include millions in the Diaspora who originate from within these borders—and yet indicating their inclusion through the use of a map of where we come from was deemed an act of symbolic violence. On the website of a self-proclaimed believer "in human rights for the Palestinians," the festival was attacked for "obliterating my country!" For those who fear the very existence of Palestinians and deny our right to personal expression, the use of imagery indicating our symbolic unity, even simply on a poster, is clearly still a threat.
Despite all of this, the festival was a success beyond all of our wildest expectations, selling out most of the shows and with standby lines circling our venues. For the four-day event, thousands of people turned up, almost overwhelming the small crew of volunteers. For our opening night alone, we had to literally turn away hundreds of people. I was surprised to find that people drove from as far as Iowa and Texas to attend the festival. Some came in solidarity, others for curiosity, and many for their love of cinema. I met high school students who had never seen images of Palestinians in their lives and elderly Palestinians pleased that "their" stories were being presented in a public forum. What is clear is that everyone had decided to come because the film festival was offering something that they had not had access to before, something that they had been seeking. This is a testament, no doubt, to not only the persistence of Palestinian culture but also to the fact that many people in the U.S and in other parts of the world want to see these films. The interest of significant numbers of people, around the world, to have access to these cultural works, so as to increase their understanding, or to simply enjoy them as works of art, is noteworthy.
For me, the most meaningful part of curating the first Dreams of a Nation festival was working with the small group of volunteers that came together to make it all happen. For those who attended the festival, only the most perceptive might have noticed the tiny group that worked tirelessly to make it all happen. The Dreams of a Nation project had virtually no financial support or backing, little institutional support, and very few resources available to us. I especially extend my gratitude and admiration to Hamid Dabashi, Kamran Rastegar, Ahmed Issawi, Ghada Jiha, Kareem Fahim, and Golriz Dadedell for coming together to work on this project.
The attempts at suppressing Palestinian cultural identity has only led to more resistance, and the evolution of cultural production by Palestinians continues, despite the loss of lives, the loss of land and property, despite dispossession and exile. With cameras, we tell our own stories, represent our experiences, and resist being made invisible. Dreams of a Nation is a celebration of Palestinian persistence.
 Israeli Military Order 101 was implemented on August 27th, 1967 and banned gatherings of people, as well as pictures, maps, and drawings of a political nature, and flags. It was stated that Israeli soldiers had the right to use any kind of force needed to carry out this order, including acting preemptively. Military Order 101 was amended on Oct. 5th, 1981 with Military Order 938, which also made it illegal to listen to certain songs. On October 14th, 1983, the order was again amended and added recording, cinematography (including records and voices) and the broadcasting of films to its list of illegal activities with Military Order 1079. "Israeli Military Orders in the Occupied West Bank 1967-1992, Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre, Second Edition, 1995 p. 15 For complete military order, see http://muqtafi.birzeit.edu, Military Order 101 p. 227
 Walid Khalidi, "All That Remains: The Palestinian Villages Occupied and Depopulated by Israel in 1948"
 My own family house in Bethlehem, built in 1908, had its front entrance and surrounding walls bulldozed and destroyed by an Israeli Army tank in 2001 with several bullets shot into the front door and kitchen windows. A few months later, across town, my mother's family house suffered a similar fate when an Israeli missile was launched into the side of the house, driving a hole right through the bedroom wall into the house.
 See Gush Shalom website, http://www.gush-shalom.org/terror/images2/page_01.html.
 See the report "Damage to Palestinian Libraries and Archives During Spring of 2002" released on August 2nd, 2002 and written by Tom Twiss, for the International Responsibilities Task Force of the American Library Association's Social Responsibilities Task Force. www.pitt.edu/~ttwiss/irtf/palestinlibsdmg.html Also "Assessment of Israeli Destruction of Palestinian Institutional & Cultural Infrastructure" by Dr. Rita Giacaman, April 8th, 2002. www.redress.btinternet.co.uk/giacaman2.htm
 Israelis also carry blue cards. However, inside the identity cards of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, it is clearly noted that they are "Arab" and therefore not Israeli Jews with full rights.
8 Checkpoints, a method of collective punishment, are points of control that circle every Palestinian town and village to prevent movement. Those Palestinians who are given permission to travel are typically delayed for hours at checkpoints, after which they may or may not be allowed to travel past a given checkpoint. All roads and the Palestinian living areas are controlled by a series of checkpoints.
 Several sites featured a statement found on Frontpage.com (http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=5738).
 This appeared on the website of a minor Israeli-American 'folksinger': (http://www.sandycash.com/jan22-2003.html). She goes on to talk about the doves that appeared on our poster, falsely stating that "in Palestinian culture, the doves flying in the foreground are not symbols of peace, but of the souls of "martyrs" ascending to heaven."