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...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →