Eyeless in Gaza: how fake media works

eyeless in gaza

The fake news coming out of the Palestinian Media and their supporters is often not at all reported or recognized in the Western Press.  A worthy documentary on this subject Eyeless in Gaza was recently released. I happened to catch it when it was screened by the Student Society of St.John’s University, Manhattan, NY.

The film reports that “In reporting the Gaza War of 2014, these quotes appeared in the international media: “They’re calling it a massacre”, “Children and civilians comprised the vast majority of the 200 killed”, “All innocent people. All of them civilians”, “Israel is targeting a number of different places including hospitals.” This information formed international opinion yet all the above quotes are proved to be influenced by the systematic intimidation and persecution of the Gaza reporters, both local and Western media.The producers interview Palestinian civilians and journalists, Hamas leaders, UN officials, military analysts and Israeli spokespeople to arrive at these troubling conclusions.

The film is now available on I-tunes for sale or rent. I challenge you to watch this documentary and share it with your  colleagues.

finally we have a name for this kind of “news”.

Liar liar fake news

And just to further prove my point about the repressive tyranny that is currently going on in Gaza. I just saw this article about refugees fleeing Gaza not because of Israel but because of What the Gaza administration is perpetrating on its citizens.

 

More thoughts about Yiddish: a tale of survival

Excellent film – the interviews are so intimate, with such depth of emotion, and the editing is right on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgQBwJ63yh4 6 minutes into the film.

So why Yiddish…Professor talking about her attachment to Yiddish

Ruth Wisse speaking about Sholem Aleichem and Yiddish humour

Milena Kartovsky performing in Montreal (in Yiddish and French)

the CBC radio interview. all-in-a weekend 8/31/2013
http://www.cbc.ca/allinaweekend/episodes/index.html

 

Lessons from Henry Morgentaler and Carlos de Soussa Mendes

Rabbi Kruger and Aristides de Sousa Mendes

Rabbi Chaim Kruger and
Aristides de Sousa Mendes, 1940

Yesterday, a full auditorium at the Jewish Public Library, in Montreal, watched the film about Aristide de Sousa Mendes, Disobedience, made for French television, and we all listened to the moving discussion by the panel, one of whom was Louis Philippe Mendes, the grandson of Aristide Sousa de Mendes, who grew up in and happens to live in Montreal.

This is how the movie, created by French television, is described in a recent post:

Joel Santoni’s powerful drama is a vivid retelling of the moving true story of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese Consul General stationed in Bordeaux, France, during World War II.  His government had issued strict orders to all its diplomats, in a document called Circular 14, to deny visas to Holocaust refugees seeking to escape Occupied Europe through Portugal.  Sousa Mendes defied these orders and issued Portuguese visas to an estimated 30,000 people in May and June of 1940 in an operation described by the Holocaust scholar Yehuda Bauer as “perhaps the largest rescue action by a single individual during the Holocaust.” Sousa Mendes’ defiance of government’s order was harshly punished by Salazar, ally of Hitler, the dictator of neutral Portugal.

As Louis-Philippe reminded us last night: Aristides de Sousa Mendes’s act of conscience consisted in defying the direct orders of his government and exhibiting courage, moral rectitude, unselfishness, and self-sacrifice by issuing visas to all refugees regardless of nationality, race, religion or political opinions.

The movie shows how all of his heroic work was done over a period of several days with the help of his male secretary, and a certain Rabbi Kruger, pictured above from the archives of the Jewish Public Library, a man introduced by a letter from a friend who Aristide welcomed into his home along with his four daughters at that very time, and his eldest son. Aristide de Soussa Mendes was the father of 14 children and his mistress was also expecting at that very time.

What I really loved about this “you are there” movie recreation were the little vignettes that one witnesses such as the opening which starts with de Soussa Mendes conducting a small orchestra made up of his children playing a compostion by “me, Aristide de Soussa Mendes”: glimpses of his relationship with his wife, and his mistress, his relationship with his son, with Rabbi Kruger, with his loyal male secretary, and with his twin brother. The other reason that it is worth watching this movie is for the glimpse into the process of totalitarian power: the glimpse of how Salazar, the dictator of Portugal, thinks and acts, how he deals with “insubordinationan”, and glimpses of the others who carry out Salazar’s orders.

A moving and gripping story that is a lesson for all humanity and for all time.

The same day, I listened to the Gian Gomeshi interview with Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, son of the late abortion rights advocate Dr. Henry Morgentaler, following his father’s  recent death at the age of ninety.

The outpouring of interviews and reviews unleashed by the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, were intense and worldwide, but hearing about him from his son was special. As his son explained, Henry Morgentaler, grew up in Lodz, Poland, facing local antisemitism there, and then at the age of eighteen endured the Nazi invasion which led him and his family first to a ghetto and then being transported to Auschwitz. After losing both his parents and surviving a slave labour camp, Henry Morgentaler, arrived in Montreal, became a doctor, married and had children, and in the course of his work championed medical abortions for women in Quebec and Canada, at a time when the Church considered that sinful, and the laws of the land supported that stance. He went to jail more than once for upholding his values, and eventually won for women the legal  right to a safe, medical abortion in Canada.

Two stories that Abraham Morgentaler, the son, shared struck me as poignant. He shared a story from his childhood. He was perhaps nine year old at the time. He and his friends were arguing about who was the best hockey player in the world, “Rocket Richard or Richard Beliveau”. Eventually, all the kids ganged up on him: one kid said “we all believe that it’s Rocket Richard, so you are wrong!” He was telling his father about this when his father was putting him to bed, and he recalls his father saying very clearly, “It is possible for everyone in the world to say that you are wrong and for you still to be right.”

The other wonderful image was Gian Gomeshi asking Abraham Morgentaler, “What is your favorite memory of your father to which he responded that he would always remember his Dad, at family celebrations addressing the family, and then singing either a Yiddish song or one of his favorite Edith Piaf songs. And I am thinking perhaps, “Rien de rien, je ne regrette rien”?

Just to let you know that although, Aristides de Sousa Mendes died in poverty and struggling to clear his name, since the death of Salazar, his heirs have banded together with community members to share his story. You can read all about it on the site of the Sousa Mendes Foundation. The movie has been shown at many Jewish Film Festivals and private screenings. Currently, the movie can only be seen via arrangement with the Sousa Mendes Foundation.

The following appears on the website:

For information on hosting a film screening, please contact us at info@sousamendesfoundation.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing he would face harsh consequences for his actions, Sousa Mendes decided to act in accordance with the dictates of his conscience and Catholic faith.
For this adherence to his sense of humanity, Aristides de Sousa Mendes was rendered helpless in a society which no longer recognized his diplomatic status and forbade him from practicing law to earn a decent living and support his family. He spent the rest of his life pleading his case and being ignored time and again by the Portuguese dictator Salazar and his political machine.

 

The same day I heard
http://www.cbc.ca/q/2013/06/10/authenticity-and-politicians-willem-dafoe-henry-morgentalers-son/

Confessions of a Self-Hating Jew

At the Montreal World Film Festival, I had the opportunity to watch Phillip B. Roth’s new film: Confessions of a Self-Hating Jew. The description of the film says:

“CONFESSIONS OF A SELF-HATING JEW examines how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affects the lives of American Jews from the perspective of a gay Naked Yoga teacher.”

confessions of a self hating jew

The director was at the screening and fielded questions from the audience after the film.  The film opens with the filmmaker holding a banner with the Star of David and the number 6,000,000 in the middle of a banner with flames around it. He ends the film abruptly, with the same slide but this time he is seen ripping apart the same banner of the 6,000,000 in the middle, the flames and the Star of David around it, and the screen abruptly fades to black and lights are up. Needless to say, it is controversial and shocks the viewers. I was especially taken aback since this appears to give fodder to Holocaust deniers.

The filmmaker tells the audience that he stopped considering his Jewish heritage after his bar mitzva, at the age of 13. He continued to be a supporter of Israel until he gradually realized that some people do not agree with the traditional Jewish narrative about Israel. He first realized this by seeing Vanessa Redgrave at the Academy awards expressing support for the Palestinian cause.

He became curious about his parents support for Israel. In his film, he interviews his father, mother and grandmother, in their home, as they explain that, yes, they do support Israel and do not understand why he does not, even though they may not follow all of the Jewish rules: His grandmother is seen cooking bacon for breakfast.

Also featured in the film are: Charles Small, a scholar of anti-semitism; Phyllis Chessler, the feminist, who has written, “The New Anti-Semitism: The Current Crisis and What We Must Do About It“; an orthodox Jewish couple identified as “liberals” who oppose “Zionism”; Hannah Arendt, a German/American Jewish philosopher, with a problematic connection to Jews and Israel; as well as a representative of the Neturai Karta, a tiny minority of Jews, a virulently anti-Israel Hassidic group that lives in Jerusalem and opposes the creation of the Sate of Israel on religious grounds because “It i only the Jewish Messiah who can create a Jewish State. The Neturai Karta are so extreme that they are often seen joining Palestinian anti-Israeli demonstrations – (I have noticed that there is always a small group of them protesting at the Israeli Indepence Day celebrations here in Montreal, and they are often seen supporting the Ayatolla Khomeini of Iran who has repeatedly threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”.

To the filmmakers’ credit he also has slides showing the history of wars attacking Israel in the Middle East and their outcomes. In between, we are treated endlessly to the same video clips of him in the nude, instructing his naked Yoga class participants, seeing him exchanging identities with a non-Jewish Gay man, and being chased by a Hassid with side-curls. In other words, he covers the waterfront of criticism of Israel and some idiosyncratic ideas of anti-semitism. Is this tongue-in-cheek? What does he want to say?

confessions of a self hating jew

I, myself, was very confused as to the filmmakers’ point of view. The reason, I think, is that this film can be seen as a Rorschach test of peoples’ attitudes towards Jews and towards Israel. This was exposed during the question and answer period. In the sparsely populated theater, approximately four people voiced questions or comments about the film. The comments seemed to me to represent many varying responses to Jews and Israel that are floating around in the universe, only one of which I thought represented a solid understanding of either Israel or Jews.

1. The first person commented that he actually liked Roth’s Mother, Father and Grandmother. I did too because they were plain speaking older Americans expressing their feelings about Israel based on their experience of being Jews in America – Americans who had lived through the periods before and during the second World War and the fragile Jewish American world that existed before the establishment of the State of Israel, and who appreciate the value of the power of the State of Israel as a defense against the very real dangers of anti-semitism worldwide.

2. The second person said, “I am glad that you pointed out that Jews don’t all share the same ideas re: Israel.” This person identifies with the Jewish filmmaker who he perceives as identifying with those Jews and non-Jews who criticize and distance themselves from Israel in the diaspora, those who choose not to see the veiled antisemitism embodied in the virulent anti-Israel, leftist kabal, so aptly chronicled by Phyllis Chessler. They wear the the hat of “Jewish intellectuals critical of Israel” and thereby siding with non-Jewish leftist criticism of Israel which actually turns out to mostly quite unhinged. It was Robert Wistrich, the scholar of antisemitism who pointed out that Nazi intellectuals were among the greatest supporters of Nazi ideology in Germany.

3. Then there was another person, who saw himself as one of the critics of Israel and commended the filmmaker..

4. And one student who asked about the Neturai Karta. I guess, he was genuinely struggling to understand the various points of view.

How to understand this mishmash of a film and the title: “Confessions of a Self Hating Jew?” The phrase “self-hating Jew” has been fashionably used to characterize Jews who side with the critics of Israel. Most people don’t realize that “self hatred” is one of the defense mechanisms of the Ego, coined by Sigmund Freud in his book, “The Ego and the Mechanisms of Defense”. The core of “self hatred”, he claims is the Ego’s identification with the aggressor” in order to avoid  feelings of humiliation and distress that are attendant in the aggression. Roth, the filmmaker, explained to me when I approached him after the film, that by tearing up the banner of the six million, he is expressing his idea that in America today, he has matured to understand that he no longer has to fear prejudice for  being gay, for being Jewish, and he now feels “free to be a Gay Jew teaching Yoga in the nude and free to criticize Israel since he no longer fears the “bogeyman of anti-semitism.” Unlike his parents, he feels free in his identity as an American Jewish gay naked Yoga teacher. Of course, the reality of a defense mechanism is that by definition it remains unconscious: In order for it to function as a defense, the ego must remain blissfully unaware of its functioning.

American Radical or Anti-Semite?

american-radical-norman-finkelstein

 

I recently saw the film American Radical: The Trials of Norman Finkelstein (by filmmakers Nicolas Rossier and David Ridgen), at the documentary film festival in Montreal. I too am a filmmaker but I was appalled by the message of this film.

Film making can take a very narrow window on any issue and do it very convincingly.
Can we forget the films of Reifenshtahl, the Nazi propagandist filmmaker? Can we forget that it was the intelligentsia that believed in and promoted the Nazi ideology for many years prior to the Third Reich carrying out their extermination plan.

American Radical, the film about the life of Norman Finkelstein, claims that Finkelstein was not granted tenure at two different universities because of the “Jewish Lobby“. One of the reasons cited in the documentary is a letter from Allan Dershowitz. Dershowitz, a Harvard educated lawyer who is heavily maligned by the Left wing  lobby for being pro-Israel and pro-Jewish. He himself was discriminated against for being Jewish and has written about it in is book Chutzpah.

The Jewish Lobby is a loaded term. It is the name of a book written by Walt and Mearsheimer, that has been adopted by Middle Eastern Departments hostile to Israel all over North American Campuses. It  references  the fraudulent book: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which was also promoted and studied, as if factual, in German classrooms after the Nazi Party came to power in 1933, and in America as well, (despite having been exposed as fraudulent years before). In the opinion of historian Norman Cohn, the Protocols were Hitler’s primary justification for initiating the Holocaust — his “warrant for genocide”. The fraudulent book, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has since the early 19th century been the chief source for the fraudulent claim that Jews form an International Lobby whose aim is to dominate the world.

Finkelstein is a Jewish son of Holocaust survivors, who is a brilliant but disturbed academic, as is exposed by this documentary. He has been the darling of the virulent anti-Israel campaign mounted by the Left, the same left that supports the Israel/apartheid week on campuses, promotes the Israel boycott movement all over the world and touts Israel as one of the worst human rights violators. Here, he is promoted as a “radical hero” speaking up for the Palestinian cause.

Anti-semitism is a dirty word: But not facing it is worse. Since Jews live all over the world, including in Israel, and have every political persuasion, it is not difficult to find Jews such as Finkelstein who espouse anti-semitic and anti-zionist positions. The film maker may be excused for misunderstanding the issues, that Finkelstein espouses. Finkelstien and the Pro-Palestinian left identify the Palestinians with Holocaust victims and this is just as inaccurate as identifying the Palestinian situation with apartheid in Africa. This demonization of Israel and the distortion of the facts needs to be exposed. This film embraces a view of the Palestinian situation through the distorted lens of Norman Finkelstein. It paints the Israel/Palestine situation through the perceptions of one man, and supports him using other left wing anti-semitic academics including Noam Chomsky, Walt, and Mearsheimer. It succeeds in promoting the anti-sematism that is currently thriving in the Muslim world, an anti-semitism that is shrouded in anti-Israel rhetoric.

I wrote this post a little while ago but I have updated it with more news from the front regarding current reports of anti-semitism and Holocaust denial as noted in this article: Why Anti-Semitism Is Moving Toward the Mainstream. Note the references to the usual suspects, Mearsheimer, Atzmon, and Noam Chomsky.

2/24/2011

I wrote the above a few months ago and now I am adding a link to an article about the most recent statements by Norman Finkelstein, which will surprise, you as it surprised the world. But at least it shows that Finkelsltein has not checked his integrity at the door of support for the Palestinian cause. He points out the Lie in the BDS movement.

Israel Seen