Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Films Accused of Anti-Israel Bias Fall Short at Academy Awards

February 25, 2013 2:02 pm 1 comment

A screen grab from the Web video "Five Broken Cameras - the real story." Photo: YouTube.

The two Israeli films nominated for the Academy Awards films from Israel this year, “5 Broken Cameras” and the “The Gatekeepers,” both fell short in the Best Documentary category on Sunday night, which was won by “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Though the dual Oscar nominations from Israel put the country’s film industry in the international spotlight, the nominations had not been cause for celebration for many in the pro-Israel community because of concerns that both documentaries cast Israel in a negative light.

“The Gatekeepers” features candid interviews with retired Israeli spymasters, and “5 Broken Cameras” tells the story of amateur Palestinian cameraman Emad Burnat, who documents clashes between his fellow villagers and Israeli soldiers.

Member of Knesset Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), reacting to the Academy Awards on his Facebook page Monday, posted: “The anti-Israeli Israel film ‘5 Broken Cameras’ didn’t win an Oscar. I didn’t shed a tear.”

The Israeli NGO Consensus recently launched an online campaign to present a counter-narrative to what it calls “the ongoing incitement against IDF soldiers in the movie ‘5 Broken Cameras,'” the organization stated Sunday, according to Israel Hayom.

Consensus, which describes its activists as “Guardians of the IDF spirit,” claims to be a non-political organization; its membership is comprised of hundreds of reserve and non-commissioned IDF officers. Its mission, the statement says, is to protect the IDF’s reputation, its soldiers and its commanders in the public relations and media arenas.

In “5 Broken Cameras,” director Burnat covers the Palestinian demonstrations to stop Israel’s construction of the security fence near the town of Bil’in. The film implies that Israel used excessive force to disperse such demonstrations, focusing on Burnat’s video cameras, which are repeatedly damaged as a result of those clashes.

The Israeli group uploaded its response to the movie on YouTube. The clip, “5 Broken Cameras — The Real Story,” is an animated spoof of the Academy Awards ceremony and behind-the-scenes footage from the film. It joins other made-up sequels to Israeli films nominated for international awards in previous years: “Waltz with Bashir—The Murdering Continues,” and “Going Back to Lebanon.”

The clip uses hyperbole to allege that the creators of the two made-up films and the real one (“5 Broken Cameras”) tried to shoot it in such a way that besmirched Israel and manipulated soldiers’ words and actions.

“The movie ‘5 Broken Cameras’ may have been nominated for best documentary [feature film], but it would have been more appropriate had it competed in the category of best propaganda film,” says Col. (res.) Benny Yanay, the head of Consensus. “This movie clearly has an agenda, lacks any objectivity, and has the over-arching goal of hurting the IDF and its troops.”

“The Gatekeepers,” meanwhile, depicts Israel’s Shin Bet security agency in a way that presents the Jewish state “in the caricatured fashion the world has come to expect, as peopled by brutal thugs whose goal in life is to do nothing more than make the lives of the poor, non-violent Arabs as difficult as possible,” Lori Lowenthal Marcus wrote in the Jewish Press. Marcus cited a review by Slant Magazine that she said had little basis in reality. The review said Moreh in his interviews for the film was “squaring off against intelligence officers who didn’t just execute systematic torture, abuse, and other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but devised them.”

Far-right Member of Knesset Danny Danon (Likud), however, was not as concerned as some others in the pro-Israel community about alleged anti-Israel bias in the Oscar-nominated films. Danon had said the nomination of a film that is critical of Israel such as “5 Broken Cameras” relays a positive message about the vibrancy of Israeli democracy.

“I think there will be groups who are against Israel no matter what,” Danon said. “This is one example of the price of keeping a strong democracy. We do not interfere in the content of the movies that are being produced in Israel.”

1 Comment

  • Of far greater concern to me while watching (and watching and watching) the Oscar presentations, as a “comic” bit with a ventriloquist and a dummy (how appropriate)about having to be Jewish to work in Hollywood. I thought it was beyond poor taste, as were so many of the “jokes” by the host. It seemed as though the real effort of the producers was to make people uncomfortable. I was in “the Biz” for 40 years, knew and worked with Oscar winners. I was never asked about my religious preferences. Last night’s effort was really off-putting.

    9

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →