Actor and director, Juliano Mer-Khamis-the son of a Jewish mother and a Christian Arab father was murdered by Palestinian terrorists
on Monday April 4th 2011. He was shot 5 times at point blank range in his car
in Jenin on the West Bank.
Juliano was a very talented actor and producer. His future in acting and directing was
assured. However, he felt that his place was in Jenin in the West
Bank working with young Palestinian children and youth. He
established the Freedom Theater and continued his mother, Arna Mer-Khamis's
legacy, in teaching Palestinians to act as well as the culture of acting in
order to help them come to terms with the Israeli occupation.
Jule, as the Palestinians called him, was very devoted to the Palestinian cause. His mother
was Jewish and his father was a Christian Arab from Nazareth. He viewed himself as 100% Jewish
and 100% Palestinian.
Jule was a rare mix and a man of peace. He hated the occupation because of what it has done to both Israelis and Palestinians. He believed that the occupation is immoral.
He had no sympathy for the settlers nor did he have anything in common with extremist
Palestinian ideology. Perhaps this is the reason why he was assassinated. He
He taught acting skills to the Palestinian youth. He seemed to be admired and loved by
all. Apparently this is not entirely correct. He was a freethinking progressive
humanist believing in coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.
Today the Arab people in the Middle East are fighting for
democracy and human rights in their society as well as equality before the law.
As mentioned in my previous articles, the Arab uprising is not about Israel which
has always been a uniting factor in the Arab world. The Arab dictators had
always kept the fire of hate for Israel as a mantra to maintain
their own stability and to oppress their own people.
The Arab uprisings against their own ruthless dictatorships are part of the process for democracy
and human freedom.
If this is the case, their message has not reached Palestine
in its entirety. There are still Islamic extremists in Palestinian society that
are using the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict as a mantra to maintain a semblance
of unity. This unity serves the extremists in Palestinian society – the hate
which had been common place since its establishment in 1948 and which is manipulated
by Hamas and its terrorist allies. As far as they are concerned Israel is
Jule was part of the spirit of equality, human rights and democracy. He was the embodiment of freedom, progress as well as equality of the sexes.
Despite all positive qualities that he had and the Freedom Theater that he had established, there
are still hard core conservatives in Palestinian society that wished his death.
Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their extremist Islamic allies are groups that are
against Palestinian progress. They still hold much power especially in Gaza and it is difficult to assess their power in the West Bank. Jule was a thorn in their flesh. He had been
subjected to death threats and even his Freedom Theater was vandalized. Jule's
progressive ideology was too much for them. He paid the ultimate price by being
murdered in cold blood. He had imbued his students with freedom and equality.
This was in keeping with the spirit of the Arab arising but not in keeping with
Hamas and their extremist ideologues.
He was loved by all peace people - Palestinians and Israelis. Maybe his mixed identity was not
what the racist Islamic groups in Palestinian society wanted. They viewed him
as a threat to their potential hegemony and murdered him.
This tragedy is a loss to both Palestinians and Israelis who believe in peace, coexistence, democracy and human rights.
Apart from sporadic condemnation for his tragic assassination, the left in Israel has
remained relatively silent. If he had been murdered by Jewish extremists, the
left would have been stronger in their condemnation. It seems as if Palestinian
extremists have poetic license to kill even a true democrat on their side. It
will take a long time, if ever, before the spirit of the Arab uprising reaches
the hardcore religious extremists in Palestine
with their vitriol towards those who are different. The Israeli occupation is
blamed for almost everything even if it is the fault of the Hamas regime
itself. The murder of Jule emphasizes this fact and it rings true today.
Here was a man of mixed Palestinian-Israeli blood that tried his best to build bridges of
peace between the two peoples. Instead Palestinian racist extremists felt it
their duty to spill his blood because of their bloodlust directed at those who
It seems that all peacemakers, irrespective of whether they are Palestinians or Israelis, are under threat from Hamas and their extremist factions.
We must not allow their evil ideology of racism and hate to move us from the sacred cause of
democracy, tolerance, peace and coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis.
We must also support the fight for democracy and freedom in the Middle East. This would be the best way that we could
honour this incredible man.
Many Israelis label and condemn Palestine with comments like these:
there are still hard core conservatives in Palestinian society
There are still Islamic extremists in Palestinian society
These are comments I have lifted from the above discussion.
Israel also has many conservatives and extremists. If Israelis want to talk about extremists, they should concentrate on their own politicians and religious fanatics, rather than discussing those of their enemies.
It is Israel that must take ALL the honours for successful mantras.
It is a complete disgrace that an Israeli would use the murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis to peddle more propaganda - as if we are not already drowning in the mountains of propaganda that is ceaselessly dumped on us all.
Juliano, artist and activist, was born in 1958 into an extraordinary family. Arna Mer,[his mother] born in 1929 and raised in a Kibbutz, fought with the Haganah and the Palmach in the 1948 war and even figured on a propaganda poster driving a jeep. But she quickly saw the colonial reality and the racist mentality implicit in the Zionist enterprise. Already in 1949, she agitated against the newly created Israeli state. In the 1950s she met and then married Saliba Khamis, against the will of her family. He was a Palestinian intellectual and member of the Communist Party. Anti-Zionist, Arna was a well-known activist throughout her adult life and experienced imprisonment and beatings at the hands of the Israeli authorities. Her creation of Care and Learning and the children’s theatre was the logical continuation of her activities.
When Arna Mer-Khamis died of cancer in 1995, Juliano continued his mother’s work, an effort made difficult by the Israeli assault on the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002. The military blitzkrieg destroyed the camp and massacred many of its inhabitants—a kind of dress rehearsal of the Gaza “Cast Lead” bombardments in 2008. It also left the children’s theater demolished. But in 2004 Juliano brought out his documentary film, Arna’s Children, about his mother’s work with the children and what happened to the children in the interim. A good number of them had become martyrs to the cause. The film was acclaimed and, in 2006, Juliano created Freedom Theatre in the rebuilt Jenin camp.
Larry Portis has recently published American Dreaming: A Novel. He can be reached at email@example.com
"military blitzkrieg destroyed the camp and massacred many of its inhabitants" - just for the record, sake of accuracy the "Jenin Massacer" -
- can be misunderstood just figured I would do some clarification, I am sure you did not mean to be misleading...
Jeff, I had never deliberately mislead anyone ever, and have gone to great lengths to explain details in a coherent manner.
I have a love of the truth, and would be distressed if someone was upset by something I had said. I believe it is important to show respect to all.
However, I am tired of your never-ending Israeli/Zionist propaganda and complete lack or regard for peace negotiations. I no longer care for any of your opinions, and consider it purposeless to continue any dialogue, because it is meaningless to discuss issues with people who push their agenda with a brazen disregard for all others.
The only reason why I am familiar with issues about Israel is because I known - all my life - people who were living in Palestine until 1948. I speak only because of their pain and passion, and because I know I am among the minority who can express these opinions coherently in English. mepeace is not the only place where I can do so, but I now see it is a place where I am not welcome, and probably wasting my time.
(the above item was a cut-and-paste exercise in response to a request by Naomi for more info. It was not composed by myself, and I barely read it before posting it. I trust the source, because of previous items that I have carefully examined.)
tonight, I will probably have a re-read of some accounts of the Hebron massacre, but I tell you I no longer have the heart to attempt to discuss anything with you, because you game has nothing to do with justice or sincerity or peace, or even an exchange of opinions. You know it all, so there is nothing left to discuss.
Have you never succeeded in noticing that the Holy Land was 94% Arab prior to the Zionist project, and that no Arab today living in the area has equality with the Jews? I guess you will run with this comment and serve me a whole lot more crap.
I have just remembered I recently came across some interesting information on the background to the Hebron massacre, maybe I will post it tomorrow.
"Jeff, I had never deliberately mislead anyone ever, and have gone to great lengths to explain details in a coherent manner." you say this yet you call it a massacer in Jenin - is that not misleading? Honestly...if not explain how it is...
BTW do you believe Israel has a right to exist? Very basic question....
I believe Israel has no right to occupy any territory beyond that awarded by the UN in the Partition Plan - unless they accept back all refugees/descendents who were forced out of those areas in 1948-9 This was a UN decision that directly related to the extension of Israel's borders.
What do you think, Jeff?
I will have a look at the Jenin stuff late tonight - it will be too late to comment until tomorrow.
I believe that 181 is no longer relevant to today situation, at the time it was rejected by the Arabs and 242 re-affirms Israels right to have secure borders, not neccesarly ones from 191...
I believe that there should be a demiliterized Palestinian state built with the guiding rule, what is Arab shoudl remain Arab and Jewish be Jewish, with some minor changes to allow continuity (I dont like throwing people out of their homes, has to stop somewhere) ... I have no issue on giving the Palestinian state land also within the 1948 borders to include the "Arab triangle" from Israel... This iwll give teh Palestinan state more land and will make a better seperation between a Jewish and Arab state like was originally planned in Partition....
So you do support in teh right of Zionist state in the mideast right?
Zionism, is by my estimate, a political party, therefore, I do not support its never-ending right to exist, political parties come and go. Countires also change their name, from time to time. what do you mean by the term 'Israel'?
If Zionism is a religious belief, then it is even more suspect to dump on kind of religion on everyone.
Mostly, Zionism was an idealistic belief that Palestine was a country that Jews could return to, unconditionally. It was not known by most of the early immigrants that Palestine had been fully occupied by another race for many centuries. Even recent immigrants seem to be unaware of the fact that an entire population or Arabs had been displaced for their benefit.
Democracy for all is the only way forward.
Zionism is a ideology not a polical party - It states that the Jews rightful place is in "Eretz Ysrael" the original Jewish homeland that was called Palestine by the Roman when they kicked the Jews out... Jews were pretty much thrown out of every country that they lived in overthe past 2,000 years. The idea that the only way for teh Jews to survive was to go back to its roots...
As for he inhabatiants yes, they were an overwhelling majortiy Arab but there were tens of thousand of Jes who had lived there in community for hundreds or more years...
It was the partition plan that you mentioned who gave the Jews the land, i.e the UN.. The accepted and declared a state the Arabs rejected and started a war that the lost and Jews gained more land... Shows that agression does not pay off...
Had teh Arabs accepted the offer there ight be a Jewish state next to an Arab state in Palestine created in 1948...... Not Israels fault, they did not start the war, they accepted the international community's offer, its neigbor answered with guns...
I agree democracy is the only way to move forward, Israel is a democratic state where ALL its citizens get one vote. 98% of Palestinians live under the PA or Gaza, whre there is no democracy.... That should be a big concern for pro-democratic activist as yourself, yet I hear nothing about it, strange..
Jeff, you say Zionism is an ideology.
An ideology can be a:
but it does not entitle anyone to evict others from a country they have inhabited for centuries.