Another important moment brought about by the Oscar nomination of the great documentary, “5 Broken Cameras”: this morning Brian Lehrer of WNYC interviewed the filmmakers Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi for 20 minutes. Lehrer is generally a reflexive supporter of Israel; he rarely gives a platform to the Palestinian view. Today he confessed he was shocked by the movie and was all ears to a Palestinian.
Lehrer asked vital questions about the occupation that all Americans should be asking. He asked Burnat to describe Bil’in, he marveled that the settlement built atop Bil’in’s land and olive trees is highrises. And in his way, he eulogized the great Palestinian activist Bassem Abu Rahmah, whom the film celebrates, in this earnest question:
Emad– the film repeatedly shows you and other people from Bil’in being shot. Or otherwise roughed up by Israeli security forces. It’s extremely shocking to watch some of this. You even record the killing of one of your friends, because you happened to be shooting. What kind of historical document do you think you have here?
Then there’s this, a genuinely open moment:
Does your experience in Bil’in leave you with any kind of political solutions in mind? Is it still Oslo/Camp David style, two-state solution, and you just have to wait for it– or is it something else now, or don’t you even think about it at that level one way or another?
Burnat says in essence that the peace process is dead, and the dream of a Palestinian state has also died.
Beautiful. An empowered American Jewish media host gives a forum to a Palestinian to describe actual Palestinian conditions (as northern reporters once allowed blacks to narrate the experience of Jim Crow). It’s what we’ve always pushed for. And yes, safe in America but holding on to the belief in the need for a Jewish state, over there, Lehrer tries to derive hope from the Yair Lapid surge in the recent election, the Obama visit, and the fact that Israelis participate in the demonstrations in Bil’in; but in this case he is a journalist, and defers to the man on whose land this dream is being built.