Palestine & Israel

Occupation, Enraged, Kibbutz

The 10th Hong Kong Social Movement Film Festival has scheduled screenings of Occupation 101 (21-Nov), Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment and Enraged (22-Nov)—three movies about Israel/Palestine—among other films on globalisation and oppressed people.

Occupation 101 tries to profile the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within the larger context, and expose the audience to other aspects and narratives which are largely missing from the mainstream media.

Enraged is about a group of Jewish Israeli activists opposed to the occupation, and their effort and struggle to bring it to an end.

Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment traces the history of the kibbutz movement—social collectives originally started by some of the Jews immigrated to Palestine in the early twentieth century, they themselves being escapees of the anti-Semitic persecution in Eastern Europe.

The story about kibbutzim is an interesting one. As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is usually framed as a religious, ideological and ethnic issue in the mass media, the significance of its economic impact—about money and resources—is largely neglected. Most people probably don’t realise that the occupation is also a profitable business for some people.

At the same time, while there were nationalism, Zionism and occasional religious factors involved in the kibbutz movement, it’s also a movement dedicated to economic equality based on socialist ideals. However, in the past few decades, there’s been a trend of privatisation and decline among the kibbutzim due to economic pressure and other factors—the money has once again changed hands. It is rather ironic when one considers that some of the kibbutzim were built on depopulated Palestinian villages.

As illustrated by the self-immolation in Tunisia which started the Arab Spring, and similar tragedies in Israel and Gaza in this year, something as basic as food and livelihood is still very much a serious concern for many people while some others go on a wasteful living style. And perhaps we all have more in common than we realise, or are willing and ready to admit.

Speaking of food, a restaurant run and staffed by people with hearing impairment has recently been established in the Gaza Strip.

Note: In Chinese on