Faith & Spirituality

April 4, 2014

Palestine, from both sides now

PLATTSBURGH — History is the story of the victors.

That’s what Alice Rothchild, an American-born Jew living in Massachusetts, has learned since embarking on a journey to understand the Israeli and Palestinian issue up-close.

A storyteller, activist and recently retired physician, Rothchild has organized annual health-and-human-rights delegations to Israel/Palestine since 1997.

Based on her observations and interviews, she authored “Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Jewish and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience,” which was published in 2007 with a second edition in 2010.

In her debut theatrical release, “Voices Across the Divide,” Rothchild delivers a rare and powerful documentary that flips the script on the mainstream coverage of Israel and Palestine.


Her interviews with Palestinians in North America are complemented with historical photographs and footage to give an intimate glimpse of a seemingly unsolvable conflict.

Wadad Abed, Salma Abu Ayyash, Hanneh Ahwal, Terry Ahwal, Hala Ajluni, Faris Alami, Yusif Barakat, Daphne Beardman, Dianna Buttu, Nimer Haddad, George Khoury, Tahir Monsour, Hasan Newash, Jamila Okah and Yamila Shannan are the interviewees, some born in Israel/Palestine and many born in exile.

“I was born in 1948, the same year as the state of Israel,” Rothchild said. “I started to get involved in Jewish/Palestinian dialogue groups and got to know the narrative that is taught in America and the narrative of the Palestinians, and began to understand all the other forces like colonialism, imperialism, racism, etc. that makes this a very difficult conflict to understand.”

Rothchild, raised on the tragedies of the Holocaust and the dream of a Jewish homeland in Israel, quickly realized what she was not told and what the world, it seems, will not tell itself about the conundrum of immigrant Jews who live in a state that displaces and disenfranchises Palestinians in their own homeland.

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