Posted on June 25, 2010 in Viewpoint with James Zogby

On Thursday’s edition of Viewpoint with James Zogby: M.J. Rosenberg, Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network; Genieve Abdo, Fellow and Iran analyst at The Century Foundation; Ronit Avni and Julia Bacha, Executive Producer and Director of the Film Documentary Budrus; Ayed Morrar, Protagonist of the documentary Budrus and co-founder of The Popular Committee Against The Wall.

M.J. Rosenberg, Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network, discussed the Gaza Flotilla incident’s role in growing Israeli isolation from the international community. “Israel has never been this isolated before”, Rosenberg said. M.J. also commented on statements by members of Congress on the Gaza blockade: “They [certain members of Congress] consciously do what the lobby tells them to do. It’s all about pleasing AIPAC, pleasing the lobby and keeping fund-raising dollars coming in.” Rosenberg also responded to comments by Glenn Beck directly attacking Rosenberg’s recent article Lying About The Gaza Flotilla Disaster.





Geneive Abdo, Fellow and Iran analyst at The Century Foundation, discussed internal Iranian politics. Abdo gave a description of the current political landscape one year after the Iranian presidential elections where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was controversially reelected. Abdo maintained that their is still Iranian opposition to the current regime, “I would even argue their is more opposition now within society to the state than there was a year ago”, she said. “The regime survived”, she continued, “they didn’t win”. However, Abdo stated that there has been a great deal of mobilization to keep political opposition at bay. When dealing with Iran, Abdo suggested that the U.S. policy should “pressure from many directions”.





Ronit Avni, Executive Producer of the film Budrus and Julia Bacha, Budrus Director and Producer, talked about their award-winning film documentary Budrus. Budrus documents the struggle and process of Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who succeeded in uniting local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in a non-violent and unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. “We wanted to tell a story about non-violence”, said Ronit Avni. The film shows a side of Palestinian activism in a light which is rarely seen in mainstream media and has succeeded to raise awareness across many different groups. “Since Budrus, more and more Israeli’s have joined Palestinian demonstrations”, said Julia Bacha.





Ayed Morrar, Co-founder of The Popular Committee Against The Wall and protagonist of the film documentary Budrus, spoke about the series of events that the film documents. Morrar discussed the ways he was able to mobilize non-violent resistance. Despite frustrating situations and temptation to fight back, Morrar said he built trust between activists and made them feel like partners. “If you want to achieve 100% your target, you must use 100% of your power”, he said. For Morrar, power comes from the struggle, which he believes is his duty, and from the will to foster real change through peaceful resistance.





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