Monday, 28 February 2011

The Promise: "Die, Evil Jews!"

The fourth and final part of The Promise, if possible, was even worse than the previous three put together in it’s demonisation of the Jews.

Anyone who defends the programme as “balanced” and really believes that all Jews are as evil as they are portrayed in it, must either be a. ignorant, or b. antisemitic.

This is just beyond anti-Zionism and any defence of it as such, as opposed to antisemitic, is just laughable.

I am not at all saying that some of what the Israelis and Jews did in The Promise didn’t happen; it did, and I would not defend the actions of the Irgun, some of what they did was disgusting.

But looking at The Promise from the perspective of someone who has no knowledge of Israel now or then, what they would think is that the Jews are totally evil.

In modern-day Israel, the Israeli brother tells Erin that “you can do anything you want to the Palestinians” with no consequences, and we see Israeli soldiers stand by as Jews scream abuse and throw glass and rocks at defenceless Palestinians - and this is portrayed as the norm – whilst the Palestinians in The Promise never do anything like this.

The reality is very different, not least because much as people like to pretend it isn’t, Israel is a democracy and Jews, just like Arabs will face the consequences if they are involved in violent behaviour. And that includes Israeli soldiers who are punished if they act against the IDF's strict code of conduct.

Meanwhile in The Promise’s version of the late 1940s the Jews are not only murderers but traitors as well – Clara, the Jewish woman who Erin’s grandfather was involved with, and his British-Jewish soldier friend both betrayed him leading to the deaths of British soldiers and Arabs.

The Promise completely ignores the other side to all this: that a. the majority of the Jews condemned these attacks – and not only condemned, but the Haganah, the original Israeli Defence Forces who worked alongside the British, captured and turned in Irgun members to the British; and b. at that time the Arabs attacked and killed hundreds of unarmed Jewish civilians.

The Promise fails to mention that the UN proposed the partition plan to create a Jewish state and a Palestinian state, and that the Jews accepted this but the Arabs rejected it.

It also throws in a large dose of sympathy to a Palestinian family whose daughter was a suicide bomber, and whose brother, a member of Hamas “says it’s his job to protect the family” – as though that’s in their charter and not to kill all the Jews or anything like that.

Finally, at the end of the programme, the director dictates to the viewers exactly what he aimed for them to think:

- About the creation of the state of Israel, Erin’s grandfather: “embarrassed and ashamed”.

- About present day Israel, Erin on the idea of returning: “Why, what’s the point?

I have never seen such an obvious attack of delegitimisation of Israel on every level like this. With it's sympathy of Palestinian terrorists, and deliberate distortions and omissions of Israelis' and Jews' actions, The Promise is against both Israel’s right to existence and it’s right to self-defence, without both of which all the Jews would die. If that’s not antisemitism I don’t know what is.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Promise: The Ultimate Defence Of Antisemitism

Amir Ofek of the Israeli embassy said that with regards to the anti-Israel Western media, The Promise is "worse than anything I've seen" and has "created a new category of hostility towards Israel".
I would go further, and say that of anything I've ever read or seen, The Promise is the most antisemitic and antisemitic-inducing of all. Whatever comes out of the Arab media is only to be expected and I haven't seen any Nazi propaganda films, but for Western media standards, The Promise is pretty shocking, and I am not easily shocked.
We meet a lot of Jews and Israelis in The Promise, and pretty much all of them are evil or portrayed as evil, barring the self-hating lefty Israeli brother, whose Christian-Arab terrorist-turned-"peace"-activist friend is, for a Christian, surprisingly hostile to Israel. Also I didn't know that the Al Aqsa Martyrs employed Christians, I thought it was just an Islamic thing.
Anyway Channel 4 defended The Promise saying that the characters
"'consistently and sympathetically present a contemporary Israeli perspective' and the Holocaust was 'powerfully evoked' to explain the longing for a Jewish homeland... 'Nobody escapes scrutiny in this film; different parts of the story reflect well and badly on the Palestinians, the Israelis and the British'."
Uh, really? Let's first count the ways the Israelis are reflected well:
1. Jews died and suffered in the Holocaust.
A round of applause for The Promise and Channel 4 for not being Holocaust deniers (even though Channel 4 have given a platform to Ahmadinejad The Holocaust Denier).
2. Some Israelis (namely Lefty Israeli Brother) hate Israel, which makes them good and peace loving, even though they think Israeli civilians deserve to be blown up by Palestinian suicide bombers.
Ok, now let's count the way the Palestinians are reflected badly (because the ways they're reflected well are too many to count):
Yeah, there are none. There was a Palestinian suicide bombing which was just because, according to the self-hating brother "they can't make their point any other way" - but it definitely wasn't animalistic, as the 'Racist' Israeli Mother called it - and even though suicide bombings decreased by over 90% after the security fence was built, this fact is ignored in The Promise, and the fence is cited as having nothing to do with preventing terrorism; instead it is just to humiliate the Palestinians, so really the suicide bombings are the Israelis' own fault.
Despite this, Christina Patterson of the Independent (who has an issue with Jews) calls The Promise "extremely balanced".
The programme according to which typical Israeli children scream and throw stones at Palestinian girls whilst Israeli soldiers watch. In The Promise, Palestinians don't do these things, but they are "held and humiliated for the hell of it" by the IDF, not because Palestinians have ever been known to be violent towards Israelis or anything like that.
Patterson of course ignores Jewish history and links to Israel and sees the Holocaust as the only reason Jews wanted Israel as a homeland. She then ignores all the Palestinian persecution of Jews and pogroms against them before the Holocaust and claims that "you can see why their [the Palestinians'] sympathy for their newish neighbours might have worn a bit thin". Sympathy 'worn a bit thin' possibly being the biggest understatement ever made on Palestinian terrorism.
Patterson then seems to equate Palestinian terrorists with settlers and thinks that all that needs to be done for peace is for Israel to acknowledge "what Arabs around the world are reminding us: that there comes a time when bullying backfires."
Can Christina Patterson do simple maths?
If security fence = 90% decrease in suicide bombings
and giving away land (i.e. Gaza) = increased rockets on Israeli towns,
then what the hell is she talking about?

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Promise: Demonising Jews And Israel Since The 1940s

Most people reading this will be aware of Channel 4’s 4-part drama The Promise, of which two episodes have been aired so far. The programme is set in two eras: it follows a British teen who spends the summer in Israel in 2005, whilst reading her grandfather’s diary who was a soldier in the Palestinian Mandate in the 1940s.

As a drama, it’s effective, yet it will be hard for some people to remember that although it is based on true events, it’s actually fiction – and of course, biased against Israel and full of distortions and omissions.

And I’m not going to not say that just because there’s a risk I might be told I’m imagining it, there is no anti-Israel bias, Israel really is all-evil.

Which seems to be the view of the New Statesman’s Laurie Penny, who mocks Julie Burchill’s criticism of The Promise as “bonkers”, exaggerating and at the same time condensing her concerns as accusing the programme of “foaming anti-Semitism, borne out of Gentile resentment that Jewish people are good at science”.

There is no known reason for antisemitism but now that Burchill mentions it, it’s hardly implausible that antisemites would feel resentment that the Jews as “such a small, persecuted tribe can keep surviving, thriving and achieving”.

Penny throws in an “as a Jew I’m offended” remark, calls the programme “a reflective and excruciatingly well-researched series”, and then gives her laughable defence of why this is the case and it can’t possibly be biased: because it “opens with five gruelling minutes set in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, cutting in segments of real footage from the mass graves”.

Done with the Jews-as-victims part, Penny finally reveals her true agenda as she turns to the Palestinians and describes the IDF “penning your family behind gun-bristling checkpoints, cramming your friends and neighbors behind apartheid walls, bombing your home, machine-gunning your grandchildren.

Because Israel does that all the time of course, and all just for fun with no reason. Because even though the Jews were victims in the Holocaust, now they’re not allowed to defend themselves.

And that pretty much sums up the message of The Promise. Jews are no longer victims, in fact Jews are the oppressors, and any time you might think a Jew is a victim, it’s their own fault.

For example, at the end of Part 1, Lefty-Israeli-Brother tells impressionable British girl Erin that the fence is not to prevent terrorism; it’s just to humiliate the Palestinians. Two minutes later there is a suicide bombing, the implication being that the brother is right. But there is no counter-argument that suicide bombings decreased by over 90% after the fence was built.

In Part 2 the brother (who was injured in the bombing) discovers that Erin’s grandfather was in the 1946 bombing of the King David hotel by the Irgun. He states that the two cases are “exactly the same; people blowing up buildings because they can’t make their point any other way”. It’s amazing that he can call it exactly the same, yet on the one hand the programme seems to defend suicide bombings and blame them on Israel; and at the same time leave out all the context of the King David hotel bombing – such as that the Irgun gave three warnings for the hotel to be evacuated, which were ignored, and that Jewish groups condemned the Irgun, Ben Gurion calling them “the enemy of the Jewish people”. Suicide bombers, on the other hand, don’t give warnings because their aim is to cause maximum civilian casualties, and in the Arab world, rather than condemnation, people who kill Israeli civilians are usually considered heroes.

It is made clear in The Promise by the exaggerations and lack of context of the Irgun that it is not just what they did but also why they did it that is the director’s problem. As the Israeli grandfather explained, after the horrors of the Holocaust in which his whole family had been killed, the Irgun aimed to ensure nothing like that would ever happen again by securing Israel as the Jewish homeland. The means were wrong, but that does not take away the right of Jews and Israel to self-defence.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

BBC Airs Documentary “Normal Israelis”

The BBC has aired a new documentary called “Normal Israelis”. It looks into a group of people living in Israel called the Normal Israelis, who although previously unheard-of actually make up the majority of Israel’s population.

The documentary follows the lives of these mostly-Jewish people, as they go to school or work, play and bring up children, go to the cinema, cook, sleep, and celebrate things such as birthdays and weddings.

As well as occupying houses in cities from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, some of the Normal Israelis even live in areas in the West Bank, despite international criticism that Jews shouldn’t live where Palestinians don’t want them. These Normal Israelis are of the ideological view that them being Jewish and alive isn’t really a good enough reason for them not to own and live in houses in those areas.

But the one place in Israel you won’t find any Normal Israelis living is in the Gaza Strip. There everyone appears to be Palestinian for some reason, with not a Jew in sight.

The Normal Israelis hold an unusual and unique stance towards peace, compared with most of the rest of the world. They say they want peace, but strangely they also don’t want to be attacked by those who want to attack them – and they even support measures taken to prevent this! When they do come under attack, usually by rockets from Gaza, they will complain about this, claiming it goes against their ideology of not wanting to come under rocket attacks.

But the Normal Israelis are also quite similar to Normal Palestinians in some ways, for example they’re both forbidden to murder and stab people and stuff – even people they know - , and both are frequently questioned and checked by the Israeli army when they go through checkpoints, to ensure they don’t do these things.

Despite their normalness, perhaps the strangest thing about the Normal Israelis is that they say they don’t hate the Normal Palestinians, but at the same time they also claim not to hate Israel, some of them even going so far as to confess that they like some things about their homelandl!

A BBC spokesperson said of the documentary:

“We wanted to be fair and balanced, and to give an insight into all parts of Israeli society, as we hadn’t previously looked into the Normal Israelis. We’ve discovered they’re actually quite boring people though, so we probably won’t mention any of them ever again.”

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Divisions Among The Arab Protestors

Alan Dershowitz observes how the world has been so busy condemning Israel for it’s “oppression” of the Palestinians that there have been no protests or calls for boycott against the Arab dictators and their countries’ routine violation of human rights – until now, when the Arabs themselves are starting to protest. Dershowitz points out that “Radical leftists and campus demonstrators, by giving a pass to the worst forms of tyranny, encouraged their perpetuation”, only now deciding to care a bit about people other than the Palestinians.
Whilst the spreading protests in the Middle East are an encouraging sign of Arab citizens’ desire for moderation and democracy, it is also a cause for great concern, particularly in Egypt where extremists are waiting in the wings to seize power.
The danger now is that not all those protestors know what they want, or what democracy even is. If they knew what democracy is, they wouldn’t be saying that they hate Mubarak because he’s “Zionist”, and because they want a leader whose pledge is to destroy Israel. They would say they want to be like Israel. But they’re not saying that.
If this sounds patronizing to those Arabs… I haven’t finished. I only half-blame them for their confused mindset, their primitive antisemitism fuelled by misinterpretation of their own religion, and brainwashing by their leaders. But they wouldn’t be able to keep it up for so long on their own. For that, the leftists in the West are to thank.
With all the turmoil in the region at the moment, many references to Israel are accusatory, calling it the main stumbling block”, and suggesting that the creation of a Palestinian state would solve all the misery of the millions of Arabs ruled under oppressive regimes. And it is these ridiculous accusations that are prolonging the problems in the Middle East. The protestors need to choose, which do they want more? Freedom and democracy? Or the destruction of Israel? At this particular crossroads in Egypt, the two can’t go together and the protestors don’t seem to understand that.
As Dershowitz puts it:
“Unless we restore human rights to its proper role as a neutral and universal standard of human conduct, the kind of tyranny and despotism that stimulated the current protests will continue.”
Instead of promoting the idea that Israel is to blame for all the world’s problems, the pro-democracy protestors need to be encouraged to unite together, rather than divided between those who know what kind of revolution they want and those who are struggling with the incompatibility of their antisemitic beliefs with the idea of a free and democratic society.
Perhaps this would be overcome if, as David Suissa suggests, the Israel bashers would tell the Arab world:
“Why don't you try to emulate the Jews?
Why don't you give equal rights to your women and gays, just like Israel does?
Why don't you give your people the same freedom of speech and freedom to vote that Israel does? And offer them the economic opportunities they would get in Israel? Why don't you treat your Jewish and Christian citizens the same way Israel treats its Arab and Christian citizens?
Why don't you study how Israel has struggled to balance religion with democracy - a very difficult but not insurmountable task?
Why don't you teach your people that Jews are not the sons of dogs but a noble, ancient people with a 3,000-year connection to the land of Israel?”
Maybe once the protestors reform and get rid of their racist prejudices against other religions, then reform might follow in other areas.