’5 Broken Cameras’ plays NY and Tulsa, ‘Gatekeepers’ makes NPR

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.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 21 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Woody Tanaka says:

    The Segal and Moreh discussion presents to me the most disgusting face on the situation, and the one that is almost exclusively presented. And it’s also the reason why liberal zionist groups repulse me.

    They discuss the matter in the context of “how does the occupation affect israel.” or “affect israelis” or “affect zionists around the world.” My response: “Who gives a shit?” How morally corrupt and mentally deficient does one have to be in order to do that? How ethno-centric? We should condemn zionism because of the pain it necessarily inflicts on its victims. Who gives a damn how it affects the perpetrators of the crime?

    Do we condemn the Holocaust because of how it affected the Germans? No. We have sympathy for the victims. Do we condemn slavery because it made the white slave owners into hardened reactionaries? No. We have sympathy for the victims. Do we condemn Apartheid because it made it so that the Afrikaners couldn’t be a light unto the world or some such nonsense? No. We have sympathy for the victims.

    The same here. We shouldn’t discuss this issue from the perspective of how it affects the Jews in occupied Palestine. We should have sympathy for the victims. Period.

  2. marc b. says:

    i’m no siegel fan, but the ‘these people’ criticism isn’t fair. he seems to be channeling ‘israeli intelligence chiefs’. in any event, he’s an ass.

  3. I don’t know how anyone can follow the news in Israel and Palestine without reading Mondoweiss. Why doesn’t NPR consider the Neo-Zionist/Anti-Zionist fault line? Do they enforce a tabu on Anti-Zionist thought and speech? Are they redefining some prior tabu as Neo-Zionist now OK/Anti-Zionist still not OK? How do they reconcile tabu maintenance with their role as journalists? as Americans?

  4. RE: “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 . . .” ~ Weiss

    MY COMMENT: I certainly do not want to discourage anyone from buying the DVD, but the film 5 Broken Cameras can also be streamed from Netflix.
    5 Broken Cameras, 2012, NR, 90 minutes
    In this moving documentary, a Palestinian farmer chronicles his village’s nonviolent resistance to the presence of encroaching Israeli settlers and military. As camera after camera gets shot or otherwise destroyed, the farmer continues filming.
    Language: Arabic (with English subtitles)
    Netflix formats: DVD and streaming
    • Netflix listing – link to dvd.netflix.com
    5 Broken Cameras – Official Trailer [VIDEO, 01:57] – link to youtube.com
    5 Broken Cameras: ‘The camera is a very strong weapon’ [VIDEO, 06:05] – link to youtube.com
    “5 Broken Cameras”: Home Videos Evolve Into Film on Palestinian Resistance to Israeli Wall [VIDEO, 11:54] – link to youtube.com
    5 Broken Cameras – Interview with the Director Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi on BYOD at Sundance Rmx6 [VIDEO, 22:19] – link to youtube.com

    • HPH says:

      As mentioned by dickerson3870, this movie can be streamed from Netflix. I noticed that “My First War” and “Palestine Blues” can also be seen in this way on Netflix.

    • P.S. ALSO: The Time That Remains (Le Temps Qu’il Reste) 2011 R 109 minutes
      From the creation of Israel in 1948 through the early 21st century, a Palestinian family experiences a myriad of triumphs and tragedies over the course of several generations in this sweeping drama from writer-director Elia Suleiman.
      Cast: Ali Suliman, Elia Suleiman, Saleh Bakri, Avi Kleinberger, Menashe Noy, Amer Hlehel, Lotuf Neusser, Nati Ravitz, Yasmine Haj
      Director: Elia Suleiman
      Genres: Foreign, Foreign Dramas, Arabic Language, Hebrew Language, France
      Language: Arabic (English subtitles)
      This movie is: Understated
      Netflix format: DVD and streaming
      • Netflix listing – link to dvd.netflix.com
      • Internet Movie Database – link to imdb.com
      The Time that Remains trailer – English subtitles. A film by Elia Suleiman [VIDEO, 01:45] – link to youtube.com
      The Time That Remains | Film review | The Observer
      Elia Suleiman’s movie about life and death in the heat of the Middle East conflict is a cool, controlled minor masterpiece, says Philip French. – link to guardian.co.uk

  5. Kathleen says:

    To think that it was 37 years ago that the brave and honorable Vanessa Redgrave brought the violent acts of Zionist up and the confiscation of Palestinian land 37 years ago at the Oscars and now this film about the same issue is up for an Oscar. 37 years. Generations of Palestinians being brought up in refugee camps and under occupation. Better late than never. Easy for me to say I have not had my land stolen and been living under occupation

  6. Citizen says:

    Moreh seems to think the US will finance Israel’s military might forever. How hard it is to beat the ill-equipped Palestinians by force of arms? It’s a joke. Seems to me Palestine is high poetry, Israel–bad prose.

  7. RoHa says:

    ‘Siegel at one point referred to Palestinians as “these people,”‘

    So he acknowledges that they are people? That’s progress. Of a sort.

    • eljay says:

      >> 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? … Where do we take those victories – numerous victories – to a better future for the Israeli people?…

      Assuming that by “Israeli people” he actually means all Israelis, a good start would be for Israel to:
      - immediately and completely halt its 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder.
      - withdraw to within its unilaterally-declared / Partition borders;
      - enter into sincere negotiations with Palestinians for a just and mutually-beneficial peace (including modifications to RoR and to Partition borders); and
      - work to transform itself from an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” to an Israeli state of and for all Israelis, equally.

      Unfortunately, Zio-supremacists – including the “liberal Zionists” who have yet to find their misplaced liberalism (“I’m sure it around here somewhere…”) – prefer to keep smashing at Palestine with their “Jewish State” hammer.

  8. 5 Broken Cameras is also available on Amazon Instant Video, in addition to Netflix. Sadly, when we went to see it on the first Friday evening it was shown in Boston there were only about 20 people in the theater.

    Has anything proven effective in generating interest in seeing the movie among Jewish communities?

    • pna, how long ago was it since you watched it screened in boston? i ask because i saw it when it first came to berkeley (6 months ago perhaps, theatre was packed). it’s gotten lots of press since then. i don’t know the answer to your last question.

    • Here is an interesting film about the effect of showing the film to Israeli youth, whose reaction is stunned, with comments like ‘why don’t they tell us about this’, ‘I want to do something about it’ etc. Many of them identify with the Palestinian youth of their age, as they realise that the only difference between them is that some are born on the other side of the wall. No wonder Israel is not keen to show it in schools, despite (farcically) trying to claim some of the credit for it.

  9. Annie – It was Friday June 22nd, 2012, ~7pm. It played June 22nd – 28th.

    Any example of an announcement that enables spreading the word about the movie without losing friends would be welcome.

    • pna, i am sorry to hear you’re in a situation where spreading the word might loose you friends. as for advise, mine would be to expand the base of those in your environment most likely to be receptive as opposed to the harder nuts to crack. iow, don’t bother expending energy on the most rightwing/zionists in your family or friendships. i have a friend who is continually spending vasts amounts of time and energy engaging synagogues. she’s been doing it for years and getting no where. whereas, there are lots of people around (many many people in the US who are not jewish) who know very little about the conflictand do not have huge barriers towards hearing about the other side. expand your arena around these people, if you know any.

      i would recommend this interview video for starters: link to mondoweiss.net

      begin by sending it to friends you are already aligned with, even ones who have already seen the movie. it’s a rare 25 minute interview with Iyad Burnat, the co directors brother and it’s not limited to just the info in the film yet has lots of clips. ask them to pass it along to others.

      also, when you discuss the conflict with people who are for the most part intimately unfamiliar, approach it as ‘this conflict has been going on for decades, right now it’s getting lots of press and attention from our politicians. we have a opportunity and responsibility to grab the moment and see if we can actually get some movement here,for resolution’. whether one thinks the documentary reflects a balanced view or not, is not the important factor here. what’s important is that most americans do not really see the conflict from a palestinians perspective because of our strong alignment with israel and a clear preference for jewish american punditry and journalists covering the conflict. even people like friedman and roger cohen who are considered left or liberal are pro israel. so hearing a palestinian voice,or seeing them in their environment and seeing the conflict from their perspective is important and valuable. iow, you don’t need to push the palestinian side per se, you just need to push the idea of exposure to both sides. get them in the movie, once they are there it will expand their horizons. good luck.

  10. sardelapasti says:

    Annie: “…i have a friend who is continually spending vasts amounts of time and energy engaging synagogues. she’s been doing it for years and getting no where. whereas, there are lots of people around (many many people in the US who are not jewish) who know very little about the conflictand do not have huge barriers towards hearing about the other side. ”

    Well said, Annie. Remember the discussion, when you were (over)reacting to the characterization “irreversibly linked” (or some such) for Zionism and Jews? Individually they could among the best, as Anti-zionist religious guys, or people mislabeling national(ist) characterizations, while otherwise sound, like Chomsky or Weiss or Robbins. Statistically, though, impossible to disentangle from each other before the cows come home.

    • sard, of course i recall the conversation. when paraphrasing it’s better not to use quotemarks.i believe you are referencing “inextricably entangled”/“there is really no difference between them” , obviously an allegation of mere ‘linkage’ is nothing i would even contest. anyway, so good of you to reveal your impression i was over reacting. nothing i’ll be forgetting about you anytime soon. needless to say i do not believe anything is impossible, especially in matters of faith. ciao, i’ll let others continue on this topic. i think i’ve about exhausted whatever i have to say about it.

  11. Newclench says:

    We should care about the impact of media on Israeli public opinion for the same reason that MLK Jr. cared about using nonviolent tactics. Because victory – any victory – involves a transformation of both the victim and the victimizer into a new relationship. It’s one thing to recognize that YOU don’t want to do that work, and another to denigrate that kind of activity in general.

    Both movies are great. Both should be mandatory for every Israeli. Wouldn’t it be great if they provoked real soul searching and an openness to new ways of thinking?

    • I wrote:
      > Sadly, when we went to see (5 Broken Cameras) on the first Friday evening it was shown in Boston (6/22/12, pre- Oscar nomination) there were only about 20 people in the theater.

      In contrast, “The Gatekeepers’” 7pm showing was packed last night, it’s first night in Boston. Boston.com posted a review on Feb. 28th (ow.ly/1T1Geg), but I’d guess that the selling out of J Street Boston’s March 5th special screening did more to boost attendance.

      Now this is a movie I can feel free to tell everyone to see. :)