About the Mideast Focus Ministry

The Mideast Focus Ministry of Saint Mark's Cathedral works through mission, prayer, education, and action to bring understanding and to promote advocacy for justice and peace in the Middle East region, both within the Saint Mark’s congregation and to the greater Seattle community. The ministry group frequently collaborates with other groups, such as the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia's Bishop's Committee for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, Jewish Voice for Peace, Kairos Puget Sound Coalition, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, and others. Contact ministry leaders Doug Thorpe and Steve Moen to learn more.

The Tenth Annual Saint Mark's Mideast Focus Film Series—Spring 2023



For the last ten years the Saint Mark's Mideast Focus Ministry has presented a series of film screenings each spring, featuring a wide variety of films, including documentaries, dramas, and comedies, that address the history and current situation in Israel/Palestine, as well as related justice issues. In 2020, 2021, and 2022 the film festival was offered almost entirely online, but 2023 will see 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 will be followed by a lively discussion with special guests—often the filmmakers themselves, or an expert in the topic of the film. Each screening and discussion will be offered on a Thursday evening. The dates and titles for the 2023 festival will be:

  • FEBRUARY 16 | My Tree
  • MARCH 2 | Inside Israeli Apartheid
  • MARCH 16 | Tantura
  • MARCH 30 | H2: The Occupation Lab
  • APRIL 13 | The First 54 Years
  • APRIL 27 | Boycott

For more information or to request the link to participate online, send an email to: seattlemideastfocus@gmail.com

Recent Events

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.

FEBRUARY 16, 2023, 6 P.M. (reception); 7 P.M. (screening and discussion)


"My Tree takes us to a world of secrets hidden by silence—and reminds us that, often, we "know not what (we) do." Gifted with "a tree in Israel" at his bar mitzvah, a young Canadian sets out to find his tree and enters a labyrinth of dead ends. What he learns is life-changing, and raises questions for all of us. generations."

Learn more here.

The special guest for the post-film discussion will be clinical psychologist Mark Braverman. There will be a reception celebrating our 10th year of this series, beginning at 6 p.m. in Bloedel Hall. The film will follow at 7 p.m., and discussion will follow the film. If you are not ready to attend in person, the film and discussion will be available via Zoom, as in recent years. To join, request the link for the film series by sending an email to: seattlemideastfocus@gmail.com

Guests: clinical psychologist Mark Braverman

Link to discussion on YouTube

MARCH 2, 2023, 7 p.m., online only


"For decades Palestinians have accused Israel of the crime of Apartheid, imposing two different systems on the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea: one system that privileges Jews, and another that discriminates against Palestinians. Now, the rest of the world is catching up. In the past year, the leading global and Israeli human rights groups have joined their Palestinian counterparts in calling Israel an Apartheid state. In Inside Israeli Apartheid, Palestinian human rights experts break down what Apartheid means, and how it applies to Israel’s control over Palestinians, while ordinary Palestinian citizens of Israel, residents of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and refugees in the diaspora take us inside their homes and towns, and tell us what it’s like being a Palestinian living under Israeli rule."

Screening and discussion will be online only. Learn more here.

Guest: former Saint Mark's clergy member The Rev. David Mesenbring, who lived and worked in South Africa under Apartheid.

Link to discussion on YouTube

MARCH 16, 2023


"When Israeli graduate student Teddy Katz meticulously documented a massacre of Palestinian civilians surrounding Israel's independence, he was initially celebrated for his groundbreaking work. But soon, he was stripped of his degrees and was publicly shamed as a fraudulent traitor. Decades later, incendiary new evidence emerges to corroborate Teddy's initial findings, not just vindicating him, but raising profound questions about how Israelis—and we all—deal with the darker chapters of history."

Screening and discussion will be online only. Learn more and watch the trailer here.

Guest: Pre-recorded interview with director Alon Schwarz

Link to discussion on YouTube

MARCH 30, 2023


"'H2' is the name given to the eastern part of Hebron – the only Palestinian city with a Jewish settlement in it. Here, along a one-Kilometer road, lies the holy Cave of the Patriarchs, where Jews and Muslims believe their common father, Abraham, is buried. This is where the massacre of 1929, known as “year zero” of the conflict, took place; where the Jewish settlement movement was born, and where the policy of ethnic separation was first implemented by the military. Through rare archive footage and interviews with Hebron’s military commanders, H2: The Occupation Lab tells the story of a place that is both a microcosm of the entire conflict and a test site for the methods of control Israel is implementing throughout the West Bank."

Screening and discussion will be online only. Learn more and watch the trailer here.

Guest: Julia Pitner in discussion with Noam Sheizaf, one of the film's directors

APRIL 13, 2023


An Abbreviated Manual for Military Occupation

"What is the meaning of military occupation? Through the testimonies of the soldiers who implemented it, director Avi Mograbi provides insights on how a colonialist occupation works and the logic at work behind those practices. Using the 54-year Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip the director draws us a 'Manual for Military Occupation'"

Screening and discussion will be online only. Learn more here. View excerpts here.

Guest: Pre-recorded video interview with director Avi Mograbi

APRIL 27, 2023


"Boycott traces the impact of state legislation designed to penalize individuals and companies that choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record. A legal thriller with “accidental plaintiffs” at the center of the story, Boycott is a bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation and an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats to freedom of speech."

Screening and discussion will be hybrid—participate in person in Bloedel Hall OR online. Details TBA. Learn more about the film here.

Guest: Liora Halparin, Professor of International Studies and History and Distinguished Endowed Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Washington.




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.