By Govindini Murty. Israel has had tremendous problems in recent years getting any fair treatment in the Western media or in Western popular culture. As we have already well documented here at Libertas Film Magazine, the Western cinema – in particular Hollywood – is going out of its way to portray Islamic radicalism in a positive light (just look at the pro-Islamist messages in recent films like the remake of Clash of the Titans, Robin Hood, Kingdom of Heaven, and even Avatar). These films all portray Islamic radicals to varying degrees as noble freedom fighters, oppressed minorities, and virtuous warriors against the hegemonic forces of the West. What is so sad is that there is a democracy in the Middle East, Israel, that is truly made up of an oppressed, persecuted minority – the Jewish people – who receive no such favorable treatment from the Western cultural establishment.
This is all the more tragically clear in the media’s biased coverage of the current crisis off the coast of Israel. Since LFM is not a political site but a film and culture site, I wanted to let our readers know about some good documentaries that will shed some light on the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The barrage of lies about Israel by the Western media and cultural establishment is so great that even the most well-reasoned books and columns by pro-Israel commentators have little chance of getting through to the public. That’s why supporters of Israel need to pursue artistic and cultural means to communicate why Israel is worth defending.
Here are seven documentaries you should see in order to understand what is actually going on in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We’re proud to have shown a number of these films at the Liberty Film Festival, and you can buy most of them in our LFM Store above. Note, these films are listed in the order that people should ideally see them, starting with the earlier documentaries and proceeding then to the later ones:
1. Relentless: The Struggle for Peace in the Middle-East (2003). An excellent documentary by Wayne Kopping and Raphael Shore that outlines how the Palestinians repeatedly broke the Oslo Accords, even as Israel adhered to them. The film shows Yasser Arafat stating, when he is in front of the Western media, that he believes in peace and tolerance - while back in the Middle East preaching violence, terrorism, and the destruction of Israel. Relentless was screened at the 2004 Liberty Film Festival.
2. The Road to Jenin (2005). This fascinating documentary by French-Algerian filmmaker Pierre Rehov debunks the alleged “Jenin massacre” of 2002 and reveals it to be a creation of the Palestinians and their apologists in the Western media. Rehov goes into the Jenin camp shortly after the IDF incursion and shows footage of the Palestinians bragging about how they use women and children as shields for terrorists, and how they duped the Western media into thinking there was a massacre. The documentary also shows how the IDF sent ground troops into Jenin (a terrorist stronghold that had been sending suicide bombers into Israel that killed hundreds of civilians) precisely in order to avoid heavy Palestinian civilian casualties, rather than take the safer and easier route of bombing the village from the air. As a result, the IDF itself suffered heavy casualties in the incursion. The Liberty Film Festival screened The Road to Jenin in 2007.
3. From the River to the Sea (2006). Another eye-opening documentary by Pierre Rehov about how the UN and the Arab nations surrounding Israel have conspired to keep Palestinians in refugee camps without jobs, citizenship, or opportunity, thereby encouraging them to turn to terrorism against Israel. The film documents the shocking corruption of UNRWA and the PLO in robbing hundreds of millions from Palestinian refugees, and shows the anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic propaganda that is taught to schoolchildren in UN-funded schools in the Palestinian camps. One of the stand-out scenes in the film features real footage of Palestinian terrorists escaping in a UN van after carrying out an attack. Screened at the 2006 Liberty Film Festival.
4. Decryptage (2005) An excellent French documentary by Philippe Bensoussan that debunks the Mohammed Al Doura incident (with actual footage showing that Al Doura was not shot by the IDF), revealing it to have been a faux controversy created by Agence France Press. The film carries out a detailed frame by frame analysis – a”decryptage” or “deciphering” – of the Mohammed Al Doura incident, and also explores the real origins of the Second Intifada. Decryptage is invaluable for exposing the complicity of the Western media in misreporting the truth and thus inciting hatred against Israel. A shocking film everyone must see.
5. Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West (2005). Another excellent documentary from the team of Wayne Kopping, Raphael Shore and The Clarion Fund, Obsession reveals the similarities between radical Islam and the anti-Semitism of the Nazis (even showing how the exact same anti-Semitic imagery and propaganda has been used by both the Islamists and the Nazis). Obsession shows first-hand the roots of modern radical Islam in the Muslim Brotherhood and in the activities of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who met in the 1930s with Hitler to discuss their common goal of wiping out the Jewish people, and who even helped raise Bosnian Muslim SS divisions. The Liberty Film Festival held the World Premier of Obsession in 2005, and the film went on to be aired on Fox News to over 15 million people in 2006.
6. Entering Zion (2005). This documentary by Kfir Alfia and Alan Lipton of the Protest Warriors is a travelogue of their trip to Israel. The film is especially noteworthy for a scene in which the filmmakers visit the Gaza Strip, which at the time was under the control of Israel, and are given a tour of the flourishing greenhouses in the Israeli settlement of Gush Katif. The Israelis who own the greenhouses proudly take the filmmakers around and show them how they have built a multi-million dollar enterprise that grows fresh fruits and vegetables, where once there had been nothing but rocks and sand. Why is this scene so poignant? Because shortly thereafter in 2006, when Gush Katif and the entire Gaza Strip were handed over to the Palestinians, these Israelis lost their greenhouses and everything productive they had built. Furthermore, when James Wolfensohn, former World Bank president, raised funds to buy these greenhouses and give them to the Palestinian people so that they would have a productive source of income and jobs, the Palestinians looted and destroyed the greenhouses instead. Yes, that’s right – these were greenhouses that were handed to the Palestinian people – and they wrecked them instead. Entering Zion was screened at the 2005 Liberty Film Festival.
7. Suicide Killers (2006). In this documentary, Pierre Rehov risks his life to interview the Palestinian terrorists carrying out suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. Pierre speaks with the terrorists and their families in the Palestinian areas, visits terrorist training camps, interviews convicted suicide bombers inside Israeli jails, and interviews their Jewish and Arab victims and their families. This shocking documentary shows first-hand that terrorists are created not by Israeli or American foreign policy, but by the repression, lack of democratic freedom, and poverty of Arab societies. Screened at the 2006 Liberty Film Festival.
And finally, even though it is not specifically about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, everyone should check out Wayne Kopping and Raphael Shore’s new documentary Crossing the Line: The Intifada Comes to Campus (2010). Crossing the Line reveals the anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda that apologists for militant Islam are trying to spread on American college campuses today. Check out the trailer below in order to understand how important it is that we support Israel on our college campuses.