“COLLIDING DREAMS” (“THE ZIONIST IDEA”)— The Evolution of Israel

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“Colliding Dreams” (“The Zionist Idea”)

The Evolution of Israel

Amos Lassen

Opening in New York on February 19 and in Los Angeles on March 4 is “Colliding Dreams” (“The Zionist Idea”), a new documentary that takes a different look at how Israel came to be.

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At present the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is very much in the news but I think that many do not realize that this has been going on for more than a hundred years and no solution has been found. Today, more than ever, it is overwhelming and holds great importance for both society and the world of politics. From the very start it has been devastating for both sides and the consequences have affected Israelis and Palestinians. Quite basically, this is about two nations or peoples struggling for a historically significant piece of land to both sides. The tragedy that has ensued is the result of the conflict between the rights of both sides and that both Israel and Palestine both lay claim to the area—a small territory that makes big problems. Now it is only fair that I give this disclaimer—I am an Israeli citizen who served in the Israel Defense Forces during three major wars so my opinions are colored by that. Today I live in the United States and I am trying to be as objective as possible.

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“Colliding Dreams” gives us the drama and the history of one of the most controversial yet relevant political ideologies of the modern era. The century-old conflict in the Middle East continues to play a central role in world politics and, I believe, until a solution is found, it will continue to do so.  We need to look back to see where we are and that means dealing with the controversy that surrounds the Zionist dream of the Jews for a homeland of their own. Unfortunately the basis for Zionism is often misunderstood and is often distorted.

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This documentary looks at that by the exploration of Zionism’s meaning, history and future. This is related to us through the remarkable lives and the voices of Jews and Palestinians who live in the Middle East today. The film brings together the past and the present with the hopes of seeing a future. We look at the ideas and the passions from the earliest times, at the wars and at the peace talks and we hear from the brilliant and the ordinary. This allows us to see the depth of the problems with sensitivity.

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If we look at political movements, we see that very few have had impact such as Zionism. Political Zionism came into being in the late 19th century and it was something of a dream. Zionism was meant to solve the terrible actions that anti-Semitism brought with it. It was Zionism that worked to find a way that Jewish life and culture could not only exist but also thrive in the world. I doubt that anyone thought that it would be as successful as it has been and that it would have happened as quickly as it did. It took less than fifty years from the beginning of the political Zionist movement for the State of Israel to be born.

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It had been a dream and an utopian dream at that which was meant to provide a democratic state where Jews could live freely. What is so interesting is that despite the fact that Israel exists (which gives legitimacy to the Zionist Idea), the country and the theory are questioned every day. The debate over Israel that has come about as a result of the last war or is triggered by a terrorist attack questions the country’s right to exist as she does. And this questioning is more emotional than substantive. The argument is often filled with anger and fear instead of a simple understanding of Zionism and the role it has played. Here we get opinions of writers, politicians, activists, the young and the old, Israeli and Palestinian.

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There is footage pulled from archives that looks at several critical moments in the history of Zionism. We see the origins of Zionism in Europe and the early relations between Jews and Palestinians in turn of the century Palestine; the 1948 war (the War of Independence) and the Nakba; the joy and pride of the Jewish People worldwide and the devastation felt by Palestinians after Six Day War of 1967; the messianic West Bank Settlement Movement and the idealism of the Peace Movement. But we also see the colliding forces among Jews, and between Jews and Palestinians today. Do we reach a conclusion? Can we reach a conclusion? Can we still hope for Israel or is the cause lost? I have my own opinions but let it suffice for me say that I am a very ardent Zionist, however, the state of Israel today is not the country that I helped to build. Here is a film that will make you think and while you may not change your mind, at least you will have an opinion.

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“International Film Circuit is proud to present the US Theatrical release of COLLIDING DREAMS, a film by award-winning filmmakers Joseph Dorman (Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in Darkness and Arguing the World) and Oren Rudavsky (A Life Apart: Hasidism in America and Hiding and Seeking). COLLIDING DREAMS will open at Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York and at Laemmle Royal and Town Center 5 in Los Angeles and at Regal Westpark in Irvine, CA on March 4th. A national release will follow”.

 

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