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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.