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If U.S. television showed ‘Killing Gaza,’ support for Israel would start to shrink

Media Analysis
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If documentary films like “Killing Gaza” appeared regularly on American television, public opinion would start turning against Israel overnight. The film, just released by Dan Cohen and Max Blumenthal, is inspiring and sickening. It is being screened at special showings, but has not yet been released to theaters. Fortunately, you can download it here.

Cohen and Blumenthal arrived in Gaza on August 15, 2014, during a brief ceasefire in Israel’s savage air and land assault on the besieged territory. Visitors to this site will recall Cohen’s powerful posts and photographs at the time, and in 2015 Blumenthal published an indispensable book,The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.

“Killing Gaza” is a strong addition to their previous work. In the background are scenes of mass destruction, like a Mediterranean version of Berlin in 1945. But the heart of the film are interviews with more than 30 individual Gazans, shown in all their humanity, who are given a chance to speak for themselves in ways that you will never encounter in the U.S. mainstream. The two reporters ranged across the open air prison territory, listening to witnesses and survivors at a half dozen different locations. Then Cohen was able to return several times over a two-year period, following up with the subjects, until Israel stopped him from coming.

Some of the most excruciating footage is from early in the film. Joe Catron, the longtime American activist in Gaza, was an eyewitness, and he narrates how a group of human rights workers tried to use an Israeli ceasefire to look for survivors in the rubble of the Shujaiya neighborhood, east of Gaza City. Israeli snipers broke the ceasefire, and you can actually watch as they murder 23-year-old Salem Shamaly, right in front of rescuers. Shamaly is wounded; he cries out for help; but it’s far too dangerous to risk more deaths. His body stayed out in the hot sun for 7 days before it was safe to recover him. You then see his family members, who are nearly speechless with pain over his murder. At the end of the film, you are not surprised to learn that Shamaly’s little brother, Wassin, who looks like he’s 12 years old, promises to avenge his death.

Cohen and Blumenthal also filmed witnesses in Khuza’a, in southeastern Gaza. Hani Najjar show them the interior of his house, in which Israeli troops murdered 6 people, some (apparently) with knives. And you hear how Israeli soldiers cornered a 98-year-old man who was too frail to flee. “They started cheering like they had caught their prey,” he says, and then he demonstrates how the soldiers beat him. The apologists for Israel who claim that film of human rights abuses is manufactured in “Pallywood” studios should be forced to sit through this sequence.

The two filmmakers were themselves eyewitnesses to Israel’s final aerial bombardment of the 2014 attack, on Gaza City. They report that the multi-story buildings we see being obliterated “by American-made bunker buster bombs” are middle-class housing developments, not military targets by any stretch of the imagination. A young man stands in front of the rubble of his former apartment home and says: “There are many baffling things, like the world’s silence. Even the human rights groups are turning a blind eye. They call for animal rights, but there are no human rights.”

“Killing Gaza” is long — 1 hour, 37 minutes — because it has to be; it includes footage we will see nowhere else. When it ends, you wonder how anyone in Israel or among its supporters elsewhere could ever expect that the people of Gaza will stop fighting for their human rights.

James North

James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades. He lives in New York City.

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6 Responses

  1. JLewisDickerson on July 25, 2018, 7:22 pm

    “Killing Gaza” with Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen

    RT America
    Published on May 19, 2018

    Max Blumenthal, Director and Writer of “Killing Gaza,” and Dan Cohen, Cinematographer and Editor of “Killing Gaza,” discuss their documentary “Killing Gaza” that details the Israeli War crimes committed against the people in Gaza.
    P.S. ALSO SEE:
    “Killing Gaza” captures culture of resistance
    By Max Blumenthal | The Electronic Intifada | 17 May 2018
    LINK –

  2. Spring Renouncer on July 25, 2018, 8:13 pm

    I rented and watched “Killing Gaza” online last weekend after reading about it on Mondoweiss. It is a sobering and powerful account that is important for all Americans to watch, especially considering how our mainstream media consistently neglects and dehumanizes Palestinians and our complicity in this “killing”.

    There were obviously constraints to filming in a Gaza that was being ruthlessly bombarded, as well as funding issues. The documentary even mentions that its filming was cut short when Israel refused the journalists continued access to Gaza. Despite all of these obstacles, however, the end product is of good quality – comparable to more popular prime-time documentaries. I really hope that this will be playing in theaters ASAP. There is no good reason (corrupt & immoral reasons exist!) that the indie theaters – in NYC, where I live, and elsewhere – should not be playing this.

    One very good and popular (relatively) recent documentary that DID have a significant section about the situation of Palestinians in Gaza was “Human Flow”, by the Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei. It came out last year and Amazon Studios was involved, so it can currently be streamed online on Amazon. I was surprised that Mondoweiss never reviewed or mentioned Human Flow, considering that it played a part in the mainstreaming of pro-Palestinian positions. This could be because the film wasn’t exclusively about Palestine, but largely focused on the plight of Middle Eastern (and other) refugees coming to Europe. Nevertheless, it concerns many topics Mondoweiss does cover and the section on Palestine is very interesting and substantial. It isn’t to late to write about it you guys!

  3. inbound39 on July 26, 2018, 5:08 pm

    Killing Gaza is but one clip that would change viewpoint of American Taxpayers. Another is the longstanding debate on USS LIBERTY attack and the despicable treatment of the survivors of that attack all covered up by the American Government in order to save Israel’s butt. The link below shows latest information and as a former serviceman who was attached to the US Seventh Fleet during the Vietnam War this report totally sickened me.

  4. Kathleen on July 26, 2018, 6:45 pm

    Thank you Max and Dan! Can’t wait to watch. Again thank you for your important work. I used to tell human rights activist Art Gish who went to Hebron and other Israeli occupied areas for close to 20 years living with Palestinians who were suffering the consequences of apartheid that pictures or video’s added to what he was witnessing and sharing with the public via his talks etc would help people understand the crimes being committed against the Palestinians by the Israeli government, military and illegal settlers for decades.

    Thank you for helping people come to a deeper understanding about the crimes the Israeli government and military continue to commit.

  5. Kathleen on July 26, 2018, 7:18 pm

    Max ” Without us this hell would have been impossible” Folks should be sharing information about Max and Dan’s documentary everywhere. Challenge msm host to shine the light. Yes the multi millionaire so called liberals like Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid, Chris Matthews, Chris Hayes…challenge them to have Max and Dan on to discuss this film.

    Share everywhere you can…

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