Pushed Learning and Media Presents:
70 Years Across the Sea
American Jews and 21st Century Zionism
Our first feature film,
coming June 2018.
Pushed Learning and Media is proud to announce the release of the trailer for our first feature length documentary film, 70 Years Across the Sea: American Jews and 21st Century Zionism. The project examines the role of Israel in forming American Jewish identity in the post-World War II era, and how American Jews interpret and react to opposing narratives from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Directed by Pushed founder Eric Axelman and produced by Nikolos Gonzales, the film is currently in post-production and is set to be released in June of 2018. It features original footage and interviews from Israel and the West Bank gathered over the past two years incorporating a variety of subjects, including American Jews who had made Aliyah, Palestinian anti-occupation activists in the West Bank, and Israeli settlers living illegally in occupied territory.
While the Jewish people have been largely united politically in the 70 years since World War II, there are now vast cultural and political differences between and within America's and Israel’s Jewish communities. How the world’s two largest Jewish populations confront the daunting ethical challenges stemming from Zionism in Israel and assimilation abroad will impact not only the character of the Jewish people in the 21st century, but also the limits of international law and the lives of millions of Palestinians living under a half century of military occupation and land seizure.
70 Years Across the Sea delves into the stories, perspectives, and ideologies of American Jews and American Jewish expatriates living in the US, Israel, and the internationally condemned settlements, as they consider what it means to be Jewish in an increasingly diverse yet nationalistic world, and as they fight for their dramatically different versions of the Jewish future.
Director, Pushed Learning and Media
Growing up Jewish in the United States, to me Israel represented hope, strength, and perseverance. Israel's story was one of Jewish redemption, and it made me proud to wear a Star of David around my neck. However, as I entered my late teens and began reading critical texts on the history of Zionism, I was shocked by what I read. Almost every aspect of the narrative I'd fallen in love with cracked. I became exposed to narratives of colonization, military occupation, and structural racism.
For many American Jews, Israel is a constant in their lives from their very earliest memories. Their camp counselors are Israeli, they travel to Israel frequently during the summer, and maps of Israel adorn their Hebrew school classrooms. Those who challenge Israel publicly face social isolation within their Jewish communities. This entrenched emotional connection to Israel, which often creates deep political loyalty, has profound impacts on American Jewish self-perception, the future of the Israeli state, and the lives of millions of Palestinians living under unending military occupation and land seizure.
Making this film has been painful, lonely, and exhilarating. I love being Jewish because of how truly complex and rich our history is, and I'm fascinated by the dramatically different visions of our future that different Jewish communities are fighting for in Israel and the United States. I hope my film helps spark important conversations about what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century, and where we hope to go as a people, in the US and in Israel, far across the sea.