Not to exonerate the Israelis, and I am aware that the current right-wing carries a heavy weight of responsibility – and yes racism does exist in Israel (on both sides) – but everything is much more complex and nuanced than the way Democracy Now! reports news from Israel.
“Partisan politics” have become empty words. It may feel good to be right and to brandish slogans but, if you are truly engaged with it, the reality on the ground will always be much more difficult.
It is better to renounce revealed truths, even if they exalt us by their simplicity and their splendor, or if we find them convenient because we can acquire them gratis.
It is better to content oneself with other more modest and less exciting truths, those one acquires painfully, little by little and without shortcuts, with study, discussion and reasoning, those that can be verified and demonstrated. — Primo Levi
With its “trophy headline” –> “Ex-Shin Bet Chiefs Denounce Occupation, Compare Israel to Nazi Germany” –> Dror Moreh, the Israeli filmmaker, ran the gauntlet by appearing with his Oscar nominated The Gatekeepers on Democracy Now!
I have to say that I feel a little bit uncomfortable in the way that you present the things here, because you portray the things as if Israel is the brutal, aggressive all the time, with the Palestinians, that they are like doves. There is reason why the Shin Bet is doing what it’s doing there. And the fact of the matter is that you cannot say—in a way, portray Israel as the aggressive and the Palestinians are the innocent bystander who are always being killed by those aggressive forces. It’s not the case at all, and I think that this is misleading the people that are watching that.
And I think that there is—if there is something that I failed while doing this film, it’s that the whole situation is different shades of gray. There is no really total aggressive person there or aggressive entity towards a very innocent and not violent entity on the other side. It’s both. Both are doing the worst that they can. I think that I can relate to what Abba Eban said once, our former foreign minister. He said that the Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. I can say that on both sides. Both sides have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
And this is the whole goal of The Gatekeepers. The Gatekeepers portrays Israeli occupation in the last 45 years and basically says, “Enough of that. It’s not going anywhere. It’s only tactic without strategy. Where do you want to go with this conflict ahead?” and to show that in a way that will only benefits both sides. If you portray only one side as the brutal, aggressive force and the other one as the innocent naive, you are doing wrong to the truth or to the facts on the ground. And I have to say that this is something which my movie tried to do very, very strongly: to portray the situation as it is. The Palestinians are doing terrorist attack. They have right to do, in a way, something which they want to create their own country, their own homeland, and they oppose the aggressive occupation.
… you portray that the Palestinians are people that are sitting there, you know, and not doing anything, it’s not the reality on the ground. And by that, you have to show both sides, because I think that when you do that, you portray only one side. And I said that before. It’s—you have to be balanced. And this is something that I felt that is not so much here.
OCTOBER 2015 UPDATE
Democracy Now! on October 13, 2015
“Violence is escalating in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Police say Palestinians killed three Israelis this morning in separate attacks in Jerusalem. This comes after Israeli forces shot dead three Palestinians Monday, accusing them of stabbing Israelis. In total, 27 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in the last two weeks. Eight of the Palestinians were children.” — Democracy Now!
No mention of the fact that it may not be just the police accusing three Palestinians…
Below some recent footage. P.M.
As someone from Israel wrote recently:
“Do me a favor, think very carefully — about what you are writing. Don’t incite the atmosphere as it as tense in the extreme.”
From July 2014
At various times, Israeli racism manifests itself when, if they are Palestinian terrorists, ambulances are not saving the lives of those wounded.
The “Israeli Red Cross,” the Magen David Adom (The Red Star/Shield of David), though states again that they will treat the most seriously wounded first even if it is a terrorist.
If you understand French, I highly recommend a recent interview with Denis Charbit who goes beyond optimism and pessimism to fight “where it is hard” – in the complexity of the situation and beyond the Messianism on both sides.