Paula Towers
About Paula Towers

Paula Towers is a writer and editor, and has also worked as a political speechwriter and researcher. At present, Paula works as a radio presenter and production co-ordinator at Sydney's Radio Skid Row as well as a freelance writer on a number of print publications and a travel web site. Previously Paula was the Editor of Pacific Island Paradises and Asian Paradises magazines.

A special screening of Land Beyond Mountains, a television documentary by Israeli journalist and author Nir Baram based on his book A Land Without Borders, was hosted by +61J on September 5.

Baram, 41, aimed to find out the real story behind the Palestinian cause by talking to those living in the occupied territories.

The research for the movie and book had Baram speak to over 200 Palestinians and included much illegal travel. Was he scared? “Occasionally, yes!” he admitted. “In Ramallah and other places you could feel the tension in the air. In some places I was invited to leave. Behind the wall in Jerusalem, there was a boy who came to me and said, ‘Go, now!’ and I listened to him.” Generally, Baram was pleasantly surprised by the co-operation.

Interviewed at the screening by +61J Contributing Editor Shahar Burla, Baram suggested that the film was challenging to many for one main reason: “They never asked Palestinians, seriously, about their whole narrative. It didn’t start in ’67; maybe it started in 1917 with the Balfour declaration.” Baram was told by a citizen of Ramallah, “A land was promised to a nation that wasn’t here even, only 10 per cent – what about us?’

Nir Baram and Dr Shahar Burla in conversation

“When you look at it from their perspective, everything is true. The narrative is a very substantial narrative. This is part of the problem in this conflict.” Addressing the ’48 border issue and two state solution is a large part of this.

Baram revealed that the film was unsettling to “a lot of people in my camp”. This included his father, Uzi Baram, who served as a Minister of Internal Affairs in Rabin’s government, thus Nir grew up veritably inhaling politics.

“When I was six years old, my father told me that the occupation will end very quickly because the international community would boycott Israel. People in Israel are still talking about this garbage, this ridiculous argument.”

However, Baram warned, “If we continue down the same path for 10 or 20 years, there will be 900,000 settlers, and three million Palestinians there, the discussion will only be about one vote, the Israeli government will beg the Palestinians to take two states but it will be too late – this is the argument against Netanyahu. And the wave of terror that happened in 2015 will be much worse.”

He believes that the biggest problem with the Left is they have not seriously thought about and understood the Palestinian story.

And the best option? A confederation: “Two states, one homeland. A total secular initiative,” he concludes. “This has some support from the settlers and I think it’s the best idea that I’ve heard in the Middle East in the last 20 years.

“The fact that most of you, and most of my friends in Israel that come to the movie, don’t know about it, shows only something about the Israeli progressives: they’re not interested in evolving their thinking – because this initiative I think is genius. Because it solves most of the problems of the conflict and doesn’t create a civil war in Israel between the Left and the settlers.”

This discussion, held at North Shore Temple Emanuel, was part of a new series of talks furthering +61J’s aim of “broadening the conversation” and encouraging all streams of Judaism, as well as all ages and political preferences, to join the conversation by engaging and interacting in real-time settings as well as online.

You can read more about Paula Towers and her work here.

This Plus61J article may be republished with this acknowledgement: ‘Reprinted with permission from ’ 

Paula Towers
Posted by Paula Towers 5 months ago