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...

  • Blogs Book Reviews The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    Romirowsky and Joffe’s book Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief is an important volume for those interested in truly understanding the origins of the Palestinian refugee issue. Utilizing a treasure trove of newly released documents, the authors link UNRWA’s (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine) origins to the Quakers/American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). For those readers who thought they knew most of the Middle East story, Romirowsky and Joffe’s version provides another twist. The authors meticulously [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.