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Documentary as Propaganda: The Gatekeepers and Dishonesty

Israeli filmmaker, Dror Moreh's look into ethical issues Israel faces in coping with irridentist Palestinian terrorism is a nominee for Best Documentary Feature in Sunday's 2013 Academy Awards.  Mr. Moreh participated in post-screening question and answers with audiences in Los Angeles on Feb 2nd and 3rd.  Roberta Seid and Roz Rothstein reviewed the film in Documentary as Propaganda: The Gatekeepers and Dishonesty in the American The Algemeiner, reprinted from the Jerusalem Post.
Dror Moreh’s documentary, The Gatekeepers, could have been a profound film. Instead, Moreh uses his interviews with six former directors of Israel’s top security services to send a simplistic and deeply partisan political message: If Israel withdraws from the West Bank, terrorism will subside and peace will break out.
To promote this message, the documentary engages in intellectual dishonesty and omits critical context. While most Israelis know the wider context, the average viewer probably does not, and therefore is vulnerable to the filmmaker’s biased version of the facts.

Though the film tries to portray Israel’s antiterrorism policies as counterproductive and cruel, the interviews inadvertently tell a different story. The six directors are well-spoken, deeply thoughtful, and genuinely self-critical.  However, the film repeatedly ignores history and context. It blames Israel for the Palestinian hostility and violence that occurred after 1967, when Israel began administering the West Bank.
The Gatekeepers' Dror Moreh responds to audience questions after a recent screening in Hollywood, demonstrating the partisan, anti-religious agenda of his film.

The viewer never learns from the film that terrorism against Jews and Israelis was not a result of Israel’s administration but rather has been a regular feature of life since pre-state days.
Palestinian Arabs murdered over 1,000 Jews between 1920 and 1967, and they ethnically cleansed all Jewish communities from the areas they captured during the 1948 war, including the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem. The pattern of terrorism simply continued after Israel’s victory in its 1967 defensive war. Yasser Arafat organized 61 Fatah military operations from the West Bank in the few months after the war, and 162 Israelis were killed by terrorists between 1968 and 1970.
Prof. Abe Sion, visiting L.A. from Ariel University's Center for Law and Mass-Media, attended one of the screenings and confronted "The Gatekeepers" director Dror Moreh for mischaracterizing the situation (consistent with Roberta Seid's criticism) as Israel's ethical failings - for his personal aggrandizement.

Nor does the film depict the nature of the enemy Israel faces. Hamas’ genocidal ideology never comes up in the interviews. Yet the goals of Hamas, clearly expressed in its charter and its leaders’ statements, call for the murder of Jews and the “obliteration” of Israel, and are suffused with anti-Semitism. The film ignores the relentless incitement to hate and kill Jews that pervades Palestinian society officially and unofficially.
More disturbingly, the viewer never learns that Israel has repeatedly tried to do precisely what Moreh advocates. The film never mentions Israel’s offers to trade land for peace in 1967, 1979, 2000 and 2008, or that Palestinian leaders systematically rejected these offers.
Moreh wants audiences to share his wishful thinking, that Israel can end the conflict simply by withdrawing from the West Bank. But recent history, omitted from the film, contradicts this expectation. Israel pulled out of its security zone in Lebanon in 2000 and removed every settlement and over 8,000 Israelis from Gaza in 2005. The results were escalating threats and terrorism from Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon and from Iranian client Hamas in Gaza, which fired over 13,000 rockets and mortars into Israel’s southern communities between 2005 and 2012.
Ariel University's Prof Abe Sion explains why he feels "The Gatekeepers" is inaccurate, unbalanced, and unpatriotic to the Jewish nation.

Dror Moreh’s effort to blame Israel and the Shin Bet’s actions for the ongoing hostility to the Jewish state is like blaming the victim who is defending himself instead of blaming the perpetrator.
The Gatekeepers‘ material could have produced a profound film if it had not been sacrificed for a political message and if the film had been more intellectually honest and included the historical pattern of genocidal ideology, the ongoing violence, and the existential strategic challenges that Israel faces every day. It is these hard realities and that make the Shin Bet’s work so crucial and so heroic.
Read the original quoted article 

1 comment:

urihalevi said...

Next time try to interview a real scholar, not one from Ariel - a settlement on stolen land from Palestinians.
I'm an Israeli who is appalled by the ignorance of those who bury their heads in the sand, and are afraid to deal with the cancer of the occupation. When you care about someone who is sick - you encourage them to deal with the sickness, not to ignore it or blame it on the dr who informs on it.