Monday, February 23, 2009

Hurray, That Israeli Film Didn't Get An Oscar!

First, an introduction:

“If we and the movies don’t create an illusion, we’ve failed,” said Mr. Weinstein, whose company released “The Reader.”

"The Reader", of course, excuses the SS, the Germans and a few others who killed (sorry) exterminated Jews. A beautiful woman, a bit of cinema-lite pornography, and poof!, we end up feeling sort of sorry for an illiterate cow who killed Jewish women in concentration camps.

But, my joy is not about Kate Winslett but "Waltzing With Bashir".

This film implicates the IDF in the Sabra & Shatilla Massacre committed by Lebanese Christians against Arab refugees from Mandatory Palestine residng in camps in Beirut in that, supposedly, the IDF shor at refugees fleeing the shooting by their fellow Arabs.

No evidence was ever uncovered regarding this despite a very hostile public atmosphere generated here in Israel in which Ariel Sharon was forced to resign as a result of the Kahan Commission.

In a scathing (Hebrew-language) article, Yossi Blum-HaLevy takes Ari Folman and his film apart. Matti Golan also is angry (in Hebrew).

I'll just mention that the Pal. terror that precluded the military actions by Israel do not exist. Off Israel went into Lebanon, it appears. And its soldiers are cowards.

It's not just an anti-war film but anti-Israel, predicated on self-hate.

Here's Debbie Schlussel's take:

I saw in this animated piece of garbage virtually every canard that HAMAS, Hezbollah, and Israel's enemies around the world have hurled.

Jews as Nazis . . . Check.

Arabs killing Arabs, but it's the Jews' fault . . . Check.

Jews as murderers of "innocent" Muslims . . . Check.

Terrorist Muslims as innocent victims of the Jews . . . Check.

Jews as the Michael Vicks of the Middle East, killing dogs and Arabian horses . . . Check.

Israelis as porn and sex addicts . . . Check.

Israelis as drug addict slackers . . . Check (well, that part is true about the Israeli left, like the scum that made this movie).

Check, Check, Check, Check, Check...

...In a 1.5 hour movie, I counted at least three comparisons of Israeli soldiers to Nazis and the situation to the Holocaust--that's one per half hour. They were called "Nazis." And their entrance into and activities in Lebanon were called both "Auschwitz," and the "Warsaw Ghetto." So let's compare: Innocent Jews rounded up and cooked in ovens versus Palestinians who raped, tortured and murdered the people versus Lebanon getting a tiny deserved taste of their own medicine. Hmmm ... sounds exactly the same to me. How' bout you?

And here's John Rosenthal:

...As concerns Folman’s personal involvement, the results of his efforts at self-examination are notably meager. In the end, he manages merely to “recollect” that he was present on a rooftop while Israeli troops set off flares in the vicinity of Sabra and Shatila, an action that seems to him to have been designed to aid the killers.

Along the way, however, the viewer is served up a veritable orgy of Israeli violence and vulgarity. Israeli soldiers are shown firing indiscriminately into fields and crushing civilian vehicles under their tanks. They are depicted carousing on a military vessel headed for the Lebanese coast (a kind of “love boat,” one character says) and cavorting on Lebanese beaches. They are depicted slaughtering defenseless animals and blowing holes in what appear to be residential structures. “I bombed Beirut every day,” the rock soundtrack blares, “Sure we kill some innocent along the way.” During the “I bombed Beirut” sequence, amidst the scattershot images of varied carnage, Ariel Sharon is depicted sitting down to a breakfast of beef and no less than five eggs, while holding a knife menacingly in his hand. Sharon was the Israeli minister of defense at the time of the Lebanon invasion.

In what may be the single scene most certain to inflame anti-Israeli — if not indeed outright anti-Semitic — prejudice, a portly unshaven Israeli officer is seen slouched half-undressed in an armchair while watching a porn video in an occupied villa on the outskirts of Beirut. (For lord knows what reason, the soundtrack of the porn film is in German.) By virtue of physiognomy and theme, the image is creepily reminiscent of the anti-Semitic caricatures featured in Julius Streicher’s infamous Nazi propaganda sheet Der Stürmer. (See here for an example. The cartoon is titled “Jewish Culture.” It shows a svelte “Aryan” couple contemplating nature, while the Stürmer cartoonist’s stock “fat Jew,” seen in profile, attends a porn flick titled The Sweet Sins.)...

Luckily, it would seem, there are enough smart Jews in Hollywood who saved Israel. Again.

And read Antony Beevor on films that rewrite history: Films that rewrite history, says Antony Beevor, are fatally warping our sense of reality


Peter Drubetskoy said...

A different take...

Jeff Blankfort writes:

I finally got to to San Francisco last week and went to see Waltz with Bashir. It was as I expected, designed to make the Israeli soldiers appear as victims and use the massacre at Sabra and Shatila--which we are explicitly told was committed by Chritsians-- as a disguise for the far greater crimes that the Israelis , including, I suspect, the soldiers involved in the movie, had committed against Palestinian and Lebanese civilians in the three plus months that elapsed from the June 6,1982 invasion to mid-September when the massacre was committed.

The vast majority who will have seen the film will never know that the Israelis, as in Gaza,broke a cease-fire, that they killed over 17,000 civilians,wounded tens of thousands more using white phosphorous and cluster bombs, besieged Beirut for 76 days, and as in Gaza, attacked ambulances and refused to let Red Cross vehicles bring aid and medical supplies to wounded civilians.

When I was in Israel in 1983,I interviewed a number of Israeli reservists who had become part of Yesh G'vul, the reserve soldiers refusal movement, some of whom had refused to serve from the beginning,and some who went into Lebanon with the 80,000 man invading force and then, outraged at the atrocities they saw their fellow soldiers committing, refused to return. What they told me a year after the invasion was totally different than the message contained in the film, which no doubt explains why the Israeli consulates around the country are promoting it. The former Israeli tank officer with whom I stayed outside of Jerusalem told me that every building on the road to Beirut had been blasted by Israeli tanks, what I thought was an exaggeration until I took a trip on the road myself. Another resister, also a tank commander, told me that they had left nothing more than a meter high in the refugee camp of Ain Helweh outside of Sidon. This was pretty evident from the nature of the rebuilt houses when I visted there in 1983. In relation to the truth of that war,the film is a lie. The director Ari Folman, like Israel, is still in denial.

YMedad said...

Well, since I was in that war and went all the way up to the Syrian lines at Lake Karoun, I didn't see that. So, I guess, all is relative and subjective.

Anonymous said...

The beautiful part of the movie is something which is not often recognized by its viewers and that is:

somewhere in the beginning the main character sees a psychologists. He is explained the story about that people are being shown a picture of themselves on a fair. The picture is false. Part of the people immediately recognize them being there and recall many events from that day (which is impossible) and part of the people do not recognize it, but will eventually also recognize events surrounding this event which actually never happened.

Now,... the main character is trying to find his past in the Lebanon War. He gets through images and after talks with others, his memory is revived. Or isn't it?

That's an important detail which is often missed in viewing the animation, I believe.