Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Right Wing Attempts Confusion, Causes Understanding

Israel in a Time of Terror

"Israel in a Time of Terror." Better late than never. This documentary was filmed in 2002 and I have just now seen it. With the emotional climate in Israel being different now, the propaganda aspect of the film has lost some power, but the basic message is still there.

The movie was created by conservative radio show host Dennis Prager (friend of Ann Coulter and enemy of environmentalists everywhere) and of course, I knew nothing about his background or motivations before watching the film. Two things tipped me off to the propaganda nature of the film, though. First, the title. Israel in a Time of Terror? Could this be designed to elicit a certain response? Hmmm. Second, the first two and a half minutes of the film is footage of people being put in ambulances, blood-spattered sidewalks, and shattered windows. The next scene eased us into interviews at a hospital with victims of suicide bombers.

It was clear at this point what kind of picture Prager intended to paint of the situation in Israel at the time. He wanted to elicit sympathy for Israel and contempt for Arabs. But I stuck it out and watched the rest anyway, finding that his plan was not likely to incite contempt for anyone. The film was a series of questions asked to random Israelis on the street, with 3 or 4 answers included in the final product. Either he or his producers had the good sense to use an accurate sampling of citizen comments and the result was something I doubt Hezbollah or Hamas would want leaked into the Palestinian school system.

A few picks for your perusing pleasure:

Woman at hospital: My daughter was killed in a bombing attack when she was just going to have a coke with friends.

Prager: And now you're taking care of Palestinian children in the hospital?

I've always been taking care of Palestinian children in the hospital, and I imagine I will carry on taking care of Palestinian children in the hospital.

Prager: Do you hate Arabs?

Shop Owner: No, I don't hate anybody. I think they mistaking.

Cab Driver: I don't hate the Arabs. I can't understand, but I respect them. They are my neighbors. It doesn't matter to me to share with them in this nice city.

Prager: What is the strongest feeling you have toward the Arabs?

Young woman:...............Compassion.

Prager: Are you optimistic or pessimistic?

Old Man: Listen, this bad time is going to change.

Prager: What would you like to say to America?

Soldier in hospital: I want to say that what you see on TV is a lie. We don't go after innocent people. We only go after those who murder us. If we really wanted to hurt people, we would drop some missiles on them and end the whole problem...but we don't. So please come and visit Israel. We hope to see you here.

Shop Owner: Come to visit us. Everybody's join us.

As Lola likes to save the final note for dissent, I will say that the bulk of responses differing from the above were from American Jews living in Israel. It's no secret that our culture here breeds fear and alarm with ferocity, and that was reflected in the words of anyone wearing a yarmulke (there were no native Israelis wearing one in this film).

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