Synopsis by Mark Deming
In the fall of 2002, it was announced that Benjamin Netanyahu would deliver a speech at Concordia University in Montreal, and reaction from the student body was swift and sudden. Jewish students groups supporting Israel's position in the Middle East and Palestinian students who oppose their presence both made their feelings known, leading to a war of words that escalated into a riot. Filmmakers Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal sought out three campus leaders who became a part of this conflict, and this documentary charts the events that led up to the violence while allowing all sides to voice their opinions. Noah Sarna is the president of the Concordia chapter of Hillel, the Jewish student's organization who helped organize Netanyahu's appearance; his firm opinions disguised by a quiet demeanor, Sarna believes Israel is one of the greatest accomplishments of the Jewish people, and has trouble understanding political opposition to their positions. Samer Eletrash is the son of a Palestinian family who were forced to flee their homeland in 1967 when Israel took the West Bank; as a leading member of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, he speaks frequently and with great passion about Israel's abuses, and helped launch the drive to ban Netanyahu's appearance. And in the middle sits Aaron Mate, the vice-president of the Concordia student council; a Jew whose grandparents died in the Holocaust, Mate opposes Israel's actions against Palestine and ultimately believes that freedom of expression should outweigh the opinions of either side. Discordia was screened at New York City's 2004 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.
activism, campus, Canada, debate, heritage, Israel, Jewish, Palestinian [nationality], peacemaker, Prime-Minister, riot [uprising], struggle, student, tolerance