Film Festival Program Announced

The Witness Palestine Film Festival planning team published the following schedule for fall 2022:

  • Blue Box, Saturday, October 22, 2022 at 3:00 pm. at The Little Theatre
  • Huda's Salon, Sunday, October 23, 2022 at 3:00 pm. at The Little Theatre
  • The Journey of the Others, Saturday, October 29 at 3:00 pm, at The Little Theatre
  • Boycott, Sunday, October 30 at 3:00 pm at The Little Theatre

Boycott will be reprised Wednesday, November 2 at 6:00 pm. at St. John Fisher College, Basil Hall, Room 135.

Witness Palestine Film Festival is a project of Rochester Witness for Palestine. For further details, please refer to the Festival's web site.

AI: Israeli policies = apartheid

February 2022: In a recently released report, “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: cruel system of domination and crime against humanity”, Amnesty International says that the Israeli government’s policies amount to apartheid.

“The organization has concluded that Israel has perpetrated the international wrong of apartheid, as a human rights violation and a violation of public international law wherever it imposes this system. It has assessed that almost all of Israel’s civilian administration and military authorities, as well as governmental and quasigovernmental institutions, are involved in the enforcement of the system of apartheid against Palestinians across Israel and the OPT and against Palestinian refugees and their descendants outside the territory.”

The report begins quoting former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s words:

“Israel is not a state of all its citizens… [but rather] the nation-state of the Jewish people and only them”

Successful Film Festival Concludes

Our tenth annual Witness Palestine Film Festival concluded October 24, 2021. It felt good to be back in-person at The Little after a 2020 Covid hiatus. The discussions offered rich insights. E.g., creator/director Farah Nabulsi described interesting details about the creative process for her BAFTA winning narrative short, The Present.

Following a screening about Gaza, local panelists described their experiences. Two traveled there in 2020 on a medical mission. Another, a Palestinian from Gaza studying in Rochester, told some of his life experiences.

A few of our 2021 movies are now online as described on our web site

RW4P Held Memorial Day Vigil

Some of the participants gathered around the field of flags. Foreground: A flag honoring Mahmoud Hamed Talba, 13.


Nobody is a number and everybody has a name.

Each of seventy-two white flags displayed the name and age of a child killed during the latest Gaza war. Gathered Monday afternoon in a church yard, participants read the names and ages. When all had been read out, the people processed silently to the side of the church to plant the flags on a lawn.

Rochester Witness for Palestine organized the event on May 31 at Irondequoit United Church of Christ. Officiating were Rev. Loren McGrail, pastor of Irondequoit UCC, and Rev. Richard Myers, pastor emeritus of Immanuel Baptist Church in Rochester NY.

Participants also brought children’s toys to decorate a memorial altar.

The flags remained on display on the Ganado Road side of the church until Wednesday June 2, 2021.

News we're following

We completed our 9th Witness Palestine Film Festival

The Little Theatre marquee displaying the Witness Palestine Film Festival

The 2020 Witness Palestine Film Festival closed on November 1. This festival went online because cinemas in New York State have been closed due to covid-19. In an effort to support the amazing Little Theatre, our home since 2012, we advertised with them, which meant our programs were listed on their web site and on the marquee on East Avenue.

Our virtual 2020 festival included:

A People Without a Land, Oct 4-13
It's What We Do, Oct 11-20
Seeing Through the Wall, Oct 18-27
Brooklyn Inshallah, Oct 25 – Nov 1

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UN releases database of firms benefiting from Israeli settlements

On February 12, 2020, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), released a report listing 112 companies benefiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Among them are parent companies operating familiar web sites including AirBnb, Expedia, Home Away, OpenTable, Orbitz, Priceline, Travelocity, TripAdvisor, VRBO, and the Israeli office of Re/Max.

agoda airbnbcheaptickets expedia general mills kayak Motorola Solutions Open Table Orbitz priceline rentalcars travelocity tripadvisor trivago vrbo

You can read the UN’s MS-Word document here.

The study authorized an independent international fact-finding mission in 2016 (see UN Human Rights Council A/HRC/RES/31/36/) which established these criteria to be included on the list:

  1. The supply of equipment and materials facilitating the construction and the expansion of settlements and the wall, and associated infrastructures;
  2. The supply of surveillance and identification equipment for settlements, the wall and checkpoints directly linked with settlements;
  3. The supply of equipment for the demolition of housing and property, the destruction of agricultural farms, greenhouses, olive groves and crops;
  4. The supply of security services, equipment and materials to enterprises operating in settlements;
  5. The provision of services and utilities supporting the maintenance and existence of settlements, including transport;
  6. Banking and financial operations helping to develop, expand or maintain settlements and their activities, including loans for housing and the development of businesses;
  7. The use of natural resources, in particular water and land, for business purposes;
  8. Pollution, and the dumping of waste in or its transfer to Palestinian villages;
  9. Captivity of the Palestinian financial and economic markets, as well as practices that disadvantage Palestinian enterprises, including through restrictions on movement, administrative and legal constraints;
  10. Use of benefits and reinvestments of enterprises owned totally or partially by settlers for developing, expanding and maintaining the settlements.

The study was already contemplated in 2012 (UN Human Rights Council A/HRC/RES/19/17)

This article on Mondoweiss lists all of the companies: “UN releases database of companies operating in illegal West Bank settlements