The 11th Annual Mideast Focus Film Series


The eleventh annual Mideast Focus Film Series, now presented under the auspices of the Bishop's Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, will be presented in the spring of 2024.

As we watch with horror the continuing violence in the Holy Land, this year's selections will offer much-needed context and broader perspectives.

FILM #3: The Lobby—USA: Part 2

DISCUSSION: THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 7 P.M., online via Zoom


Gaza: 60-Minute Warning is the third film in the 2024 Mideast Focus Film Series: Roots of Chaos and Catastrophe. In it, we see how the damage unfolding in Gaza at this time, is part of Israel’s policy of deliberate and disproportionate devastation that has been going on for years.

Watch the film in advance at your convenience here, then join the discussion on Thursday April 18 at 7 p.m. Our guest speaker for the discussion will be Gerri Haynes, is a palliative care consultant, grief and bereavement educator, and past president and (frequent) board member of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. For more than 20 years she has organized delegations to the Middle East, including 10 medical delegations that served in Gaza.

To get the Zoom link for the Thursday evening discussion, email:

FILM #2: The Lobby—USA: Part 2

DISCUSSION: THURSDAY, APRIL 4, 7 P.M., online via Zoom

The second selection of the 2024 series will be the Al Jazeera film The Lobby—USA: Part 2. There will be a discussion of the film on Thursday, April 4, led by former Congressman Brian Baird, an early defender of Palestinian Human Rights in Congress. This film is about the many ways AIPAC influences our government. Our discussion will focus on the lobby and other influences that “we the people” know little about. Part 1 was included in the Spring 2020 film series. There are four parts in all, covering different aspects of the lobby’s work, and you are welcome to watch them all if you wish to go deeper.

Here is the link to watch the film. Please view the film at your convenience and then join in the discussion with Brian Baird on Thursday, April 4, at 7 p.m. Pacific Time, online via Zoom. Send a message to to receive the Zoom link. (If you received messages from this address in the past, you are already on the list.)


FILM #1:The Settlers

DISCUSSION: THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 7 P.M., online via Zoom

The first offering will be the 2016 documentary The Settlers. With remarkable access, award-winning Israeli filmmaker Shimon Dotan traces the history of Israeli settlements in the West Bank since 1967, using rarely-seen archival footage and candid interviews with the settlers themselves. Learn more and see a trailer here. Please view the film online at your convenience any time before March 21, and then join in the discussion with our speaker, Diane Paul from Amnesty International, on Thursday at 7 p.m. via Zoom. The film can be viewed on YouTube here.

For more information or to request the link to participate online, send an email to:

Bishop's Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land of the Diocese of Olympia

Saint Mark’s Mideast Focus Ministry has made the decision to merge this cathedral ministry with the Diocese of Olympia’s Bishop’s Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land (the “Bishop’s Committee”). Beginning in 2024, programs of education for peace and justice in the Middle East will be presented at the cathedral under the auspices of the Bishop’s Committee.

The Episcopal Bishop’s Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land (formerly the Episcopal Bishop’s Committee for Israel/Palestine, or EBCIP) was established in 2000 to support the Episcopal parishes, hospitals, schools and other human service missions in the Diocese of Jerusalem.

By means of education, advocacy and prayer, we are committed to supporting our Christian brothers and sisters in their struggle to survive the social, cultural and economic effects of nearly 50 years of military occupation in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and to assisting them in their efforts to bring about a just and peaceful resolution of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

As Christians called to fulfill the promise made in our Baptismal Covenant “to strive for justice and peace,” we commit ourselves to join our Jewish, Muslim and Christian sisters and brothers to gain a better understanding of the struggles and hopes for a just peace in Israel/Palestine. We will continue to support the witness and survival of the Anglican and other Christian communities in the Holy Land.

To further our mission we focus on education within the Episcopal Church and public advocacy for the independence of the Palestinian people and the adoption of a viable democratic state, with Jerusalem as a shared capital. In addition, we sponsor youth and adult visitations and exchanges and promote sister-parish relationships between the Dioceses of Olympia and Jerusalem.

Doug Thorpe, Steve Moen, Randy Urmston,

Friends Talking: Life in Palestine in This Time of War

Dean Thomason and Palestinian Priest Fr. Fadi Diab in Conversation

SUNDAY, DECEMBER  10, 10:10 A.M.–10:50 A.M., Bloedel Hall and on Zoom

UPDATE: A complete video of the conversation is now available here.

Fr. Fadi Diab serves as rector of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Ramallah in the West Bank. He and Dean Thomason have forged a friendship since Fr. Fadi preached at Saint Mark’s last July, and their email exchanges of prayerful support and mutual affection have deepened since October 7 and the start of the war in Gaza. Fallout from the war and ongoing hardship for Palestinians in the West Bank have only intensified, and Fr. Fadi reports that violence and suffering in his church community and in the city he loves is heart-breaking. At this special Sunday forum Fr. Fadi will join Dean Steve from Ramallah over Zoom to discuss the current situation on the ground, how the war is impacting our Christian siblings in the Holy Land, and how the prospect of peace can still be held in the face of such challenges.

Recent Events

Details about Dean Thomason's forum on October 30, 2023 on the background to the war in Gaza can be found here.

Learn about the May 20, 2023 forum with Miko Peled, author of The General's Son, and Maya Garner of Friends of Hebron here.

Learn about the January 26, 2023, Symposium with Dr. Yasser Abu-Jamei of the Gaza Mental Health Programme here.

Learn about the September 24, 2022, Saturday Symposium titled The Holy Land: What's Next and see a video of the event here.

Learn about the April 20, 2022, Wednesday Night forum with Zeiad Shamrouch of the Middle East Children’s Alliance here.

Learn about the October 10, 2021, Sunday morning forum with John Lent of the American Friends of the Diocese of Jerusalem here.




In 2020, 2021, and 2022 the film festival was offered almost entirely online, but 2023 saw the returns in-person screenings, as well as hybrid option, for the launch on February 16 and the finale on April 27. The other four screenings and discussions will be online-only. As always, each film was followed by a lively discussion with special guests—often the filmmakers themselves, or an expert in the topic of the film.



The theme for the ninth annual Film Series was Sumud. This is a Palestinian word that means “steadfastness” or “steadfast perseverance.” It has become a cultural value in Palestine. There is no possible way Palestinians can defend themselves in the face of one of the most well-equipped military powers in the world. They practice sumud which sometimes is an act of making breakfast, sometimes walking the children to the checkpoint on the way to school, sometimes, joining a peaceful protest at a blocked crossroad, just to say “We are here!” In this series we will meet a young Israeli woman who also practices her own sumud as she resists joining the Israeli military. We will discover what sumud looks like in the devastation we call “Gaza”, and in the tragedy we call “Hebron.”



The Mideast Focus Ministry presented its eighth series of films focused on the story of the Palestinian people—but with a difference this year. In response to the U.S. apartheid-like parallels to Palestine in our own country, the 2021 series explored the links between the struggle for justice in Palestine to Black Lives Matter and the story of Indigenous people in America.



In February of 2020, the Mideast Focus Film Series launched as planned with a reception, screening, and discussion of Tel Aviv on Fire. Of course, plans then changed. The remainder of the films were presented as online screenings followed by virtual conversations over Zoom. These virtual events were a great success. 







More about the series:

Mideast Focus Ministry Mission:
This ministry works through prayer, education and action with Saint Mark’s and the greater Seattle community, to educate and promote understanding about the struggle for peace and justice in the Holy Land.

Mideast Focus Film Series Goal:
Our concern is to help balance the limited and confusing media coverage of the Holy Land. We use compelling films as an entry point for reflection and discussion. As Christians, we respond to Christ’s call to seek justice and love the oppressed. As Americans, we ask: Can we reconcile this calling with our government’s massive financial support of Israel’s military operations? We hope the time will come when Jews, Muslims and Christians will again come together in harmony in the Holy Land.

Why These Films?
As our country presents less than humane greetings for refugees at our border, we want to recommit ourselves to a more conscious, caring and Godly response—to recognize and serve our brothers and sisters who are, for a difficult time, homeless. In this series we explore what it is to be a refugee.