Israel-Bashing in the Israeli Movie World

March 11, 2013 12:01 am 0 comments

'The Gatekeepers' screenshot.

It is a depressing reflection on our times that many of us heaved a sigh of relief when neither of the two Israeli documentary Oscar nominations received awards.

In the current perverted environment, it has become a hallmark of left liberal political correctness to project Israel as a racist and colonial implant imposed on the Palestinian underdogs, even if that necessitates a distortion of reality.

In Israel, practitioners of the arts, especially film producers, are conscious that creating a work which besmirches their nation enhances their prospects of achieving global recognition. That, in part, explains why so many recent Israeli films with a social or political dimension designed for international consumption have tended to be masochistically critical and demeaning.

What makes this even more bizarre is that in many cases rabidly anti-Israeli films are subsidized by the Israeli taxpayer.

This was exemplified by the Israel-bashing documentary “Five Broken Cameras,” which depicts protests against the construction of the security barrier in Bil’in without even a hint as to why a security barrier and checkpoints were required. It demonizes Israel’s administration of the disputed territories and portrays the Israel Defense Forces as cruel heartless tyrants while presenting Palestinians as noble underdogs.

It is co-directed by an extremist leftist Israeli who supports global boycott of his country and a hostile Palestinian who had the chutzpah to demand that the government-subsidized documentary not be designated as an Israeli production.

Most Israelis would consider it the height of insanity for the government to fund and effectively bestow legitimacy on an enterprise engaged in a global campaign to defame and delegitimize it and challenge its right to self-defense.

The other Oscar nomination, “The Gatekeepers,” raises far more complex issues. Yet it is likely to inflict considerably greater damage to Israel’s standing than the cruder propaganda production.

This documentary, directed by Dror Moreh, is based on more than 70 hours of interviews with five former heads of the Shin Bet from 1980 to the present, all of whom served the nation with distinction. We are unable to ascertain whether the extracts presented reflect fair and balanced views of the participants but, to date, none of them have protested that they were misrepresented.

The film unquestionably portrays Israel negatively. It is presented as a colonial implant and is replete with harsh denunciations of alleged torture, racial discrimination, targeted assassinations, needless violence and oppression in the disputed territories. It depicts cruel military commanders “winning the battles but losing the war.”

Avraham Shalom, one of the former Shin Bet heads, initially states that “with terrorism there are no morals” and any measure to save innocent lives is warranted. But towards the end of the film he remarks that “we became cruel,” and challenges the morality of current policies. There is even an obscene analogy between Israeli and Nazi occupation policies, implying that we practice genocide, ethnic cleansing and apartheid.

This extremely critical presentation raises other important issues. Without in any way detracting from their service in defense of the state, we are not obliged to treat these five former heads of Shin Bet as sacred cows. One is entitled to ask why they remained silent in office and refrained from expressing such views until their retirement. If they felt so strongly about these issues, why did they not resign?

There are surely serious questions of propriety involved when senior intelligence officers, upon retirement, become bleeding hearts and engage in publicly undermining the policies implemented throughout their career. This is particularly so as this was not the first outburst of this nature by former Shin Bet heads. In 2003, four former Shin Bet heads publicly called for unilateral withdrawal. We are all conscious of the disastrous consequences which resulted when Ariel Sharon implemented their recommendations and uprooted the Gaza Strip settlements. The territories ceded were immediately overtaken by Hamas and employed to launch missiles deeper into Israel.

However, my principal ire is directed towards Dror Moreh, who, aware that his production could have major international impact, should at least have placed the alleged suffering and victimization of Palestinians in context and not dealt with such issues almost in isolation.

Moreh provided insufficient emphasis to the context of terror which obliges Israel to take tough steps to defend the lives of its citizens. He should have laid greater emphasis on the swarms of suicide bombers who targeted and murdered more than 1100 innocent Israelis during the Second Intifada; the genocidal hatred and calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state; the brainwashing of Palestinian children from kindergarten age up into believing that the highest Islamic objective is martyrdom by killing as many Jews as possible; the impact on a quarter of the Israeli population traumatized by 13,000 missiles launched against them between 2005 and 2012, obliging them and their families to spend much of their time in underground shelters.

He should have mentioned that Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert were rebuffed after they offered 95 percent of the territories over the Green Line to the Palestinian Authority and that despite Prime Minister Netanyahu having imposed a 10-month settlement freeze and called for negotiations without preconditions, the Palestinians rejected all these offers.

Instead, Moreh used his documentary to repeat the mindless mantra of “end the occupation.”

None of those interviewed suggested that terror would end if Israel withdrew from the disputed territories, nor did they propose any constructive solution. They are fully cognizant that the vast majority of Israelis yearn to separate themselves from the Palestinians and have no desire to rule over them. But they realize that to do so unilaterally, in the absence of adequate security arrangements, would effectively be committing national suicide.

The fact is that Moreh produced a film with an agenda that, according to former IDF Chief of Staff and Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, amounted to a deliberate mission to promote a distorted Palestinian narrative demonizing Israel.

Moreh himself confirmed this when he explicitly expressed the hope that U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would see his film and be encouraged to exert greater pressure on the Israeli government.

There were protests that the government was employing taxpayer funds to subsidize global anti-Israeli propaganda. Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat expressed reluctance to introduce what she feared could be condemned as political censorship. However, she called on responsible film producers to exercise restraint, knowing the severe damage they can inflict on Israel in the war of ideas by pandering to the propaganda of our enemies. She also urged them to acknowledge the sensitivities of the thousands of Israelis who lost loved ones and suffered in the course of the Palestinian terror.

We all look forward to the day when talented producers emerge from our ranks who will create works displaying our extraordinary achievements to the world and that, despite being the only nation in the world under continuous existential threat, we remain a vibrant democratic state in this regional cauldron of Islamic tyrannies.

In the meantime, without implementing full-blown censorship, we should find a means to bring an end to the lunacy of employing Israeli taxpayer funds to promote global anti-Israeli propaganda designed to defame the nation.

Isi Leibler’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be contacted at ileibler@leibler.com. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom and the Jerusalem Post.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.