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Award-winning film Israelism to be screened in Nelson

The film shows two American Jews coming to grips with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians
The award-winning film Israelism will be shown March 24 at Nelson United Church. Photo: Mashal Kawasmi

Israelism, the award-winning film by Erin Axelman and Sam Eilertsen, explores the lives of two young American Jews whose comfortable American upbringing centred largely on their unconditional support for Israel.

For these two young adults, their beliefs fall apart when they are exposed to the realities of Israel’s systemic abuse of Palestinian human rights through its occupation and implementation of apartheid rule in the West Bank.

The movie will be shown on Sunday, March 24 at 7 p.m., at Nelson United Church, 602 Silica St. After the film, there will be a discussion led by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta and Sid Shniad, members of Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

“Canadians have been given a false picture of reality in Israel-Palestine, in which the Zionist settlers are portrayed as victims of intransigent Palestinian opposition,” states Shniad.

“In reality, the situation there bears strong resemblance to the situation in Canada, where settler colonists have seized the land and treat the Indigenous people who have been ethnically cleansed and subjected to oppression with disdain.”

Axelman and Eilertsen’s journey takes them through an initial painful awakening, and then through a process of discovery, reimagining their Jewish identity and culture through solidarity with Palestinian non-violent activism. The film is an honest portrayal of Jewish identity as it relates to Palestinian human rights. It rounds off with an authentic discussion of the rise of real antisemitism in the West, primarily found in right wing and neo-fascist movements in both Canada and the United States.

Axelman describes the impetus for the film began when they were in university, when they were first exposed to the Palestinian narrative. Axelman and other Jewish friends experienced a profound transition, that has been a common experience among Jews of their generation:

“So, I began to witness the mass generational change within the Jewish American community, as more and more American Jews came into contact with Palestinian narratives and transformed in profound ways.”

Tickets are $15 and are available through the Capitol Theatre website:

This is a nonviolent, anti-racist event, and acknowledges the rise of both Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in recent months in Canada. For more information, please email:

READ MORE: ‘Debilitated by trauma’: Nelson aid worker returns from Israel-Hamas war