Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I don’t know what it is with some Jews. They end up being their own worst enemies. I am talking here about two very prominent and very successful Jews. One is Julian Schnabel and the other is Harvey Weinstein. 59 year old Schnabel has just made Miral- a film about his new girlfriend, 37 year old Palestinian Rula Jebreal (pictured here in her youth as portrayed by actress Freida Pinto).

The other is movie producer Harvey Weinstein. He is the mega successful producer of tons of award winning films including last year’s Oscar winning best picture, ‘The King’s Speech’. His production company is distributing the film.

It premiered at the United Nations to much fanfare and celebrity attendance. Although I have done so in the past I am nonetheless reluctant to comment on the films I haven’t seen. But it is quite obvious from all the buzz it’s getting that Miral is a very unflattering film about the State of Israel.

The storyline involves the title character’s travails and those of her people at the hands of the Israeli occupiers. In the black and white ‘good guy versus bad guy’ world of movies, the Palestinians are the good guy helpless victims of the bad guy Israelis.

The one clip I saw form the movie was during an interview of Harvey Weinstein. It showed Miral being harshly treated by Israeli interrogators - reminiscent of the way Nazis are portrayed treating their Jewish victims in Holocaust films. It thoroughly turned my stomach.

It is somewhat gratifying that at least one reviewer described this movie for what it is:

(It is about) loud and strident sloganeering, and dishonest portrayal of conflict without context, it only drowns out any real and quiet pleas for peace.

I have said this many times. Palestinians do suffer. And it is often at the hands of Israeli authorities. But their suffering should never be seen in a vacuum or from a one sided perspective without context. Anyone will have sympathy for an authority figure using harsh interrogations techniques when seen in a vacuum.

But context makes all the difference in the world. Nazis tortured Jews during the Holocaust for no other reason than that they were Jews. That is massively different from when security services needs information to avert a terrorist attack upon innocent civilians. The tactics may be similar. They may even be controversial. But they are not morally the same. This movie does not make any such distinction.

I realize that a Palestinian who is for example harshly treated at an Israeli checkpoint might feel that his treatment is grossly unfair - next to the way an Israeli traveling through that same checkpoint is waved right through. That Palestinian is not a terrorist. And yet he is almost being treated like one. Is it fair? No. But it is unfortunately necessary because of the many people who were killed, maimed, or in other ways injured in one of the many terrorist attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorists in the past.

Of course they are upset. I don’t blame them. The problem is that they blame they wrong people for their treatment. Israelis have no wish to impose harsh conditions upon an indigenous people just because they are Arabs. They are only doing so out of the need to protect themselves. They simply have no choice. It is required of them based on the experiences of past.

That is the kind of context that is missing from the film. That Mr. Schnabel doesn’t see that is not surprising. He seems to care more about his 37 year old girlfriend than he does about the Jewish people.

But Mr. Weinstein has no such distraction. He has no excuse other than to say that he want’s to present the other side of the story.

As if there was no one else doing it. Has he not read the mainstream media? The foreign press? Does he not listen to NPR? Or pay attention to how the UN has sought to completely delegitimize the State of Israel as racist oppressors? Does he not see how the anti Israel left in Academia fills the heads of their students with pure venom?

Is he not aware of the rise of anti Semitism all over the world under the guise of anti Zionism? Is he not aware of all the boycotts by leftist Academicians and performing artists? Is he blind to the kind of terror perpetrated in Jerusalem last week and Itamar the week before?

Has he no clue about the differences between what Arab goals are and the Islamic fundamentalist means of achieving them versus Israeli goals and their means of achieving it? Does he really believe that the events portrayed in this film accurately portray that?

Does he not see the fundamentalist Muslim mothers in Burkas handing out candies to children every time a Jew is successfully killed in a terrorist attack? This film apparently goes well beyond simple moral equivalency. It clearly makes Israel look brutal and the Palestinians look like innocent victims.

I have no problem with films portraying Palestinian suffering. But not with a film like this. By leaving out context this film can only be described as anti Semitic. And that two Jews are involved in the production and distribution of this film makes them either Jewish anti Semites – or very stupid.

As the ratings notice says at the bottom of this review:

The film contains drinking, violence and sexual abuse.

Like I said I haven’t seen the film, but I’ll bet that only portrays Israelis doing violence and abuse to the Palestinians. As this reviewer says:

Israel’s founding is dramatized through acts of Jewish aggression against innocent Arabs. The Six-Day War is similarly recounted. The Yom Kippur War, though, is pretty much skipped. So is Entebbe. So are the ’72 Olympics.

The entire intifada is seem as a simple David vs. Goliath story. No armed Arab is ever shown. Neither is any Jewish corpse. There are two terrorist bombings in the entire film. In the first, the bomb’s a dud; in the second, it’s a symbolic act that hurts no one.

Yet if Arab acts of violence don’t exist here, Israeli injustices are dwelt on.

How can a Jew do this to his own people? How can he justify adding more fuel to the anti Semitic fire that is sweeping the world now? How can he justify trying to change the way people perceive Israel as no better than Nazis? Does he really think this movie does truth any justice? Or that it will contribute to bring peace to the region? I don’t think so.

All he is doing is giving the next terrorist an excuse to blow up more Jews. And maybe the next time we will see not only Muslim mothers in Gaza handing out candy to little children in the streets but Americans! At least the ones who saw this movie.

The movie ads show a picture of the beautiful young girl who is portrays Miral, and asks is this the face of a terrorist?

How simplistic! How stupid! I would counter with a picture of the faces of latest terror victims, a family which include a baby and ask is this the picture of your oppressors?