The Great Book Robbery

chronicles of a cultural destruction
Follow us:

US screening tour

Benny Brunner's picture
During February 3rd to 17th the film was screened 6 times in some leading Universities on the East Coast of the US. Among them, Columbia, Cornell, and the University of Pittsburgh. The screenings were well attended; the audience comprised of students, teachers, and members of the community. In Columbia we had Mariam Said the widow of Eduard Said and prominent Palestinian historian Rashid Khalidi. The Q&As usually lasted 60-90 minute and were of high quality. A recurring feedback I got from the organisers: “The film energised us and the activists in our group.”   Read more

Israel-Palestine screening tour

Benny Brunner's picture
During January 2013 the film was screened in the three major Israeli cinematheques of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa 6 times. We produced for these screenings Arabic and Hebrew versions of the film. We participated in 3 well attended screenings in Israel. The Q&As, as expected, were emotional and at times resulted in shouting matches among the audience. I was accused of “distorting history” and “being a disgrace to Israel” among others. But most of the people were genuinely open to the film’s alternative narrative of 1948. Read more

Post broadcast

Benny Brunner's picture
I know, I didn't post for many long months. Simply put, I just didn't have the time. The work on editing the film and everything around it consumed all my time. Now, that we are post the Aljazeera broadcast and the  Read more

Editing - the beginning

Benny Brunner's picture
Two weeks into the editing; only logging the material but the story’s contours begin to get into shape. Next to dramatic testimonies of Palestinians we have some really arrogant Israeli justifications of what took place in 1948. It is fascinating to watch many of our interviewees struggling with fading memories and elusive recollections of their distant past. But, memory and the struggle to shape it form a key subject matter of this film. After all, one of this project's aims is to avoid the memory of what happened to the Palestinian books in 1948 from fading into oblivion.  Read more

Communication Manager

Benny Brunner's picture
In the name of all the people who work on this project I'm happy to announce that Karina Goulordava has joined the team as Communications Manager. We all are very excited to work with Karina. Originally from Moscow, she has been living in the States for the past 14 years. Currently Karina is in her final year at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earning a B.A. in Spanish and Communication-Rhetoric. She also take Arabic courses. It was her study of Arabic which brought  Karina to Palestine last summer. Read more

Seeking a social media maven

Benny Brunner's picture
Are you a social media maven, interested in the Middle East? The Great Book Robbery is looking for an intern or volunteer to support our communications across the web. You will be expected to have no problem with blogging, tweeting and FB, with a natural ease in want to share and connect with other people and communities across the web. Some fluency in Arabic would be a bonus, though not required.  Interested, please contact us via this website (ABOUT tab).

Aljazeera

Benny Brunner's picture
We've signed a contract with Aljazeera English to produce a 50 min. version of the project for their WITNESS strand. Obviously we are excited and looking forward for the hard work ahead. But the opportunity to tell the world the little known story of the looted Palestinian books and the destruction of Palestinian culture in 1948, fill us with trepidation and make us humble. In spite of this fantastic development, we didn't give up on our original idea of a 90 min. film that will have around 15 min. of animation; thus, fund raising efforts are still on.

Yet another books story

Benny Brunner's picture
David K Shipler in his 2002 book "Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land",  tells about 20,000 "holy books" who were left behind in the Torat Hayim Synagogue when the Jews fled their homes in Jerusalem's old city in 1948. An Arab "from the Abu Lachim family stacked the (synagogue’s) 20,000 books in a small room and thus saved them all... When the Israeli army entered the city in 1967, the Arab custodian presented surprised soldiers with the key" (to the abandoned synagouge and the 20,000 books).

Mohammad Batrawi

Benny Brunner's picture
I'm very sorry to report that 82 years old Mohammad Batrawi whom I interviewed for the film this last January has passed away on March 15th. Batrawi was a man of many qualities, first among them, an inspiring humanism. He nurtured what is good in man kind. The Middle East needs more of the Batrawi type.

Huffington Post

Benny Brunner's picture
Mark Belinsky published a criticism of the project on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-belinsky/social-media-to-prevent-h_1_... I've tried to post a reply on HP but was limited to 250 words. As my reply is longer, I posted it here: Read more