You can now buy the DVD of the documentary about resistance in Bil’in, 5 Broken Cameras, that is up for an Oscar. I urge you to buy Emad Burnat’s devastating chonicle of the crushing of noble spirits in a tiny village under occupation, and if you agree with me, talk it up and build the buzz. Here are the playdates for the movie: New York, Notre Dame campus, Sebastopol, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Boise, Columbus, Lakewood FL. Not exactly the yellow brick road, but if you’re in the neighborhood you should check it out now.
5 Broken Cameras is one of two anti-occupation films nominated for best documentary in the Academy Awards this year, and the line is that The Gatekeepers is the favorite of liberal Zionists, and 5 Broken Cameras is the favorite of anti-Zionists. NPR ratified that view yesterday in a long sympathetic interview by Robert Siegel of Gatekeepers maker Dror Moreh that felt very Inside Israel. Moreh spoke mournfully of Israel losing: he spoke of the importance of holding a mirror up to Israelis through the interviews of the government intelligence chiefs who give the film its title, he spoke of the West Bank as Judea and Samaria, he said his subjects had created security after the Second Intifada and an obligation to negotiate that Israel had squandered, resulting in Israel’s isolation.
We should be grateful that Israel’s dire straits are being explained to American listeners, but there is an official tone to this explanation. Siegel at one point referred to Palestinians as “these people,” a characterization that in earlier times in our country would be seized upon as condescending, even racist. Moreh also used the word “leftist” in an Israeli way– meaning fruitcake. But maybe the left is saying the truest things about the occupation, and maybe Siegel could reflect that a little? Some excerpts:
SIEGEL: To a man, they [the intelligence chiefs] seem to say, there’s no way that Israel can simply defeat the Palestinian by force. You got to negotiate with these people.
MOREH: What does it mean, victory? I mean, defeat Palestinians by force? Yes, we can. We did that a long time. We did that many times. But at the end of the day, what do we want? And this is something that they accuse the leadership of Israel that the leadership of Israel was acting tactically and not strategically. And this is a very core issue in the movie. Where do we take those victories – numerous victories – to a better future for the Israeli people?…
SIEGEL: You’ve said that you wanted to make this film because, in your words, Israel is losing. What do you mean by that?
MOREH: Look, I think that when you look at the last 45 years, the situation in Israel is only deteriorating. I don’t think the Israeli citizens feel more secure now, on the contrary. And I feel that if unless the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be solved, Israel will found itself isolated – not talking about the ramification of this conflict on the Israeli society now. So leaders has to lead. This is their job. They have to that.
And I wanted, in a way, to create a mirror in front of the Israeli public, told by those people most responsible for the security. And that, the words they say cannot be washed way like they don’t understand or they are leftists.
Thanks to Susie Kneedler.