Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Robert Naiman's Palestinian Propaganda

Remember Ayed Morrar, the latest Pandela who wrote an article in the Huffington Post promoting the movie Budrus? And how he basically lied to make the Palestinians seem far more peaceful than they really are? Well, noted critic of Israel Robert Naiman has now also written an article about the movie, this time titled "Help the Palestinians: Go See This Movie." I wonder what the reaction of the HPers would be if there was any article written with the title of "Help Israel Go Do X." They would probably demand to know why the Huffington Post has allowed itself to become a funnel for Israeli propaganda. As it stands, I don't wonder that. I just wonder why Budrus is so lucky as to get a free advertising campaign courtesy of the HP. By the way, this now makes this article the sixth praising Budrus published on the HP.

Now, if Mr. Naiman had explained to us that watching this movie helps the Palestinians because it strengthens the peaceful moderates among them at the expense of the extremists, I would be okay with his reasoning. But that is only part of the reason.
"Today, Palestinians and Israelis are using nonviolent resistance to try to defeat the occupation in several villages in the West Bank. But these efforts are much less effective than they could be because they receive very little attention in the US. In particular, when the Israeli occupation authorities repress these efforts, it generates no comment in the US media or by the US government. This gives the Israeli occupation authorities a freer hand for repression. And when Palestinians and Israelis see that repression of nonviolent protest generates no U.S. response, that weakens the political case for nonviolent action."
This actually expounds on the problems with Pandelas pretty well. Mr. Naiman admits that this nonviolent "resistance" is only to the occupation and not to the forces who are against peace. What he doesn't mention (intentionally or otherwise) is that not so far away from the non-violent Palestinians are very violent Palestinians who will use the opportunities generated by the non-violent ones to commit their violent actions. And that is why the non-violent "resistance" of people like Morrar is not being effective: Because it does not address the actual cause of the occupation.

Mr. Naiman does not appear to acknowledge this, because he believes that the reason why the nonviolence isn't working is because not enough attention is paid by the USA. But if you read the review of the film, Israel was convinced to make the changes not by America but by their own people. Historically America demanding that Israel make changes that put Israelis at risk has been very difficult, which is why it doesn't usually happen. I cannot help but wonder if Mr. Naiman is less interested in getting America to make "the right decision" regarding situations like Budrus or if he simply wants the American people to turn against Israel and force it into vulnerability.

Click below for a more detailed look at the article.

Mr. Naiman begins by talking about the movie and the problem with the US not paying attention to a small story in a faraway place, but then he really blows it by attempting to make a comparison with the Free Gaza flotilla:

"But this vicious circle can be broken. The main political purpose of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was to call world attention to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. When the Israeli military attacked the flotilla, it was a world-historical event. The flotilla generated press attention to the blockade, but more is true: the renewed press attention to the blockade established context that resulted in increased press coverage of the blockade that made little or no reference to the flotilla. Once the story of the blockade was out, a journalist could write a follow-up story about the blockade that stood a good chance of being printed."
So again, we have Israel "attacking" the flotilla when it has now become clear to anyone who is paying the slightest bit of attention that it was the flotilla participants who attacked the Israeli soldiers. This is exactly why peaceful aid convoys didn't get the attention that they wanted: Because they weren't violent. And in fact by making this comparison Naiman undermines his own point. The flotilla was violent (no matter how much he wants to deny it). That violence got them the attention that they wanted. Therefore, the people who want to use violence are strengthened and those who did not are weakened.

Mr. Naiman had the chance to do something good here. He could have made the point that the "activists" on the flotilla brought attention to their cause by being violent but they should not have done so, because that is the wrong way to support the Palestinians. Instead, people should go and see the movie because it supports the people who are truly nonviolent and that is the right way to help the Palestinians. But instead he lies to try and cover up the truth about the flotilla in an effort to score PR points, and in doing so damages not only his point but his credibility.

I'm going to conclude with his conclusion. Here's the first half:
"Furthermore, you'll gain a new superpower: the ability to effortlessly kill these lies on contact. Everyone knows that if someone claims that all Jews are greedy, all you have to do is to produce one example of a Jew who is not greedy and you vanquish their claim."
An interesting example there, Mr. Naiman. Anyway, this again does not work because no one who really thinks that all Jews are greedy (or any other stereotype of that kind) is going to simply be convinced by one example. Or convinced by any amount of facts either. We all know that racists and bigots are ignorant, but they aren't stupid. The response would be something along the lines of: "He's lying, he really is greedy and is tricking us," or "he's not a real Jew," or "the exception that proves the rule." Or you don't even need all of that: All a racist needs to say is that greed tends to be a character trait among Jews in general, but that there are a few who are good ones. Sort of like Stephen Walt.
"After you see this movie, if someone says: "Palestinians support violence," you'll be able to say: "in Budrus, Palestinians used nonviolence." If someone says: "Israelis support the occupation," you'll be able to say: "in Budrus, Israelis helped defeat the occupation." If someone says, "Palestinians and Israelis will always be at war," you'll be able to say, "in Budrus, Palestinians and Israelis cooperated to defeat the confiscation of Palestinian land.""
 Notice how even his "lies" that can be "busted" are slanted toward the Palestinians and against Israel. I would personally be much more impressed if he would be able to say that in Budrus Palestinians and Israelis were able to make peace between the two nations. But I guess that can't be done, so we'll settle for "defeating the occupation."

The ugly truth is that in a great many polls the Palestinians have been shown to favor violence over nonviolence and continuing "resistance" against Israel until it is gone. The Pandela problem comes back once again: No one (especially Israel) cannot simply ignore 8/10ths of the Palestinians even if 2/10ths of them are committed to non violence no matter what. And it is fundamentally dishonest of Mr. Naiman to try to convince us that they don't exist or that they don't matter. How did Hamas come into power for goodness sake?

And that is exactly why the attitudes of the American people haven't changed regarding the Palestinians and Israel. Because every time the Palestinians take a step forward, they take two steps back. Films like Budrus do show the truth, that there is a minority of Palestinians who are nonviolent when it comes to keeping their property out of the hands of Israel. Of course, they won't take the same risks when it comes to standing up to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PLO. But all you need to see is another shooting attack applauded by thousands of Palestinians and that goodwill is gone. I know that the anti-Zionists will turn away when confronted with the truth about the majority of the Palestinians. But they cannot rely on all of America doing the same.

5 comments:

  1. Naiman refuses to post my comments on HuPo so I will post here in the hope of wider distribution.

    I had originally made these comments several months ago in discussion San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Community, which chose to show this film at their film festival even though the previous year they caused enormous harm by showing "My Name is Rachel" and were appropriately slammed.

    ****
    To best understand why this film is just another tool for the de-legitimize Israel campaign you need to read this interview with Ayed Morrar (nom deguerre Abu Ahmed) - http://www.justvision.org/en/portrait/96511/interview

    “Budrus” is a feature documentary film about Ayed Morrar who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to “save” his village from the separation barrier. While I don’t question the motivation to use non-violent means to achieve political goals, I remind myself that the non-violent struggle of this village was a singular demonstration of those tactics during a period of bloody attacks against Israel’s civilian population and that the separation wall, as ugly as it may be, brought those attacks to an end. To focus on the events at Budrus and deny the overwhelming violence perpetrated by the PA is hypocrisy and shallow and only serves to make this movie a set-piece designed to not only de-legitimize Israel, but to de-humanize Israelis as well. This film has no place in the film festival and I predict it will be a magnet and rally point for all the usual anti-Zionists who can’t wait to portray as immoral beasts—- once again!

    This film is presenting by a “Just Vision” filmmaker, that previously presented “Bilin My Love” by Shai Carmelli Pollak who is credited as filmmaker on” Budrus”. Were these productions shot and edited simultaneously? Pollak is up front about his motivations—“I did not come to Bil’in as a filmmaker, but as an activist, to take part in the protest against the land theft caused by the separation barrier.” Well I wonder if Mr. Pollak was able to set aside his mindset when making “Budrus”,
    I doublt it. I think he (they) found an obscure story in which Israelis behave badly so as to suggest that it says something terribly negative about Israeli society as a whole.

    Anti-Israel propaganda works by shining a hostile light that is so intense it’s sole purpose to create emotive and politically charged language that contributes to it’s demonetization. Just Vision is able to produce films and (from their website): “.....increase media attention and international support for Palestinians and Israelis working nonviolently to resolve the conflict. In six years, she and her team have created a far-reaching and ever-growing network of peace builders, community leaders, educators, journalists, film enthusiasts, activists and organizations eager to support the Palestinian and Israeli civic leaders profiled by Just Vision.”

    Wow! The fact of the matter is that Just Vision is deeply entwined in the NGO networks that have associations with organizations that exist to de-legitimize Israel, look at the links they present on their web-site.
    —So who funds this network building and film production? There is a vast international funding network traceable back to Saudi and Kuwaiti money through “C-100 Projects” see: http://www.weforum.org/en/Communities/FaithCommunities/c100/Projects/index.htm
    That ultimately reaches NGOs that shield the donors from their anti-Israel operations. Here’s an example: The benignly sounding “UN Alliance of Civilizations” see: http://www.unaoc.org/ whose purpose supposedly is to counter western misconceptions about the nature of Islamic and Muslim societies through education and dialogue. Who heads the UNAC? Why that paragon of interfaith cooperation none other the Turkish PM and anti-Semite Recep Tayyip Erdogan. - CONTINUED

    ReplyDelete
  2. The larger point is if the Palestinians have really changed, there would no longer be any reason the anti-Zios would continue to support them. And since they haven't, the message of the film "Budrus," incidentally, is beside the point. The conflict between the Palestinians and Israel has never been over territory and land. And every one knows it.

    And its telling Robert Naiman, in his review of the movie, can't be honest enough to address it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Multi-part comment:

    Naiman won’t post my comment below, which I originally posted several months ago during a discussion about the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival which was presenting “Budrus” a year after they cause a major rift for showing “My Name is Rachel.” I post this here in the hopes of a wider distribution.
    **
    To best understand why this film is just another tool for the de-legitimize Israel campaign you need to read this interview with Ayed Morrar (nom deguerre Abu Ahmed) - http://www.justvision.org/en/portrait/96511/interview. “Budrus” is a feature documentary film about Ayed Morrar who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to “save” his village from the separation barrier. While I don’t question the motivation to use non-violent means to achieve political goals, I remind myself that the non-violent struggle of this village was a singular demonstration of those tactics during a period of bloody attacks against Israel’s civilian population and that the separation wall, as ugly as it may be, brought those attacks to an end. To focus on the events at Budrus and deny the overwhelming violence perpetrated by the PA is hypocrisy and shallow and only serves to make this movie a set-piece designed to not only de-legitimize Israel, but to de-humanize Israelis as well.

    The sole purpose of this film is to be a magnet and rally point for all the usual anti-Zionists who can’t wait to portray as immoral beasts—- once again! “Just Vision’s” filmmaker Shai Carmelli Pollak also made “Bilin My Love” by Shai Carmelli Pollak”. Were these productions shot and edited simultaneously? Pollak is up front about his motivations—“I did not come to Bil’in as a filmmaker, but as an activist, to take part in the protest against the land theft caused by the separation barrier.”

    Well I wonder if Mr. Pollak was able to set aside his mindset when making “Budrus”,
    I doublt it. I think he (they) found an obscure story in which Israelis behave badly so as to suggest that it says something terribly negative about Israeli society as a whole.
    Anti-Israel propaganda works by shining a hostile light that is so intense it’s sole purpose to create emotive and politically charged language that contributes to it’s demonization. Just Vision is able to produce films and (from their website): “.....increase media attention and international support for Palestinians and Israelis working non-violently to resolve the conflict. In six years, she and her team have created a far-reaching and ever-growing network of peace builders, community leaders, educators, journalists, film enthusiasts, activists and organizations eager to support the Palestinian and Israeli civic leaders profiled by Just Vision.” - MORE

    ReplyDelete
  4. CONTINUED..
    Wow! The fact of the matter is that Just Vision is deeply entwined in the NGO networks that have associations with organizations that exist to de-legitimize Israel, look at the links they present on their web-site. So who funds this network building and film production?

    There is a vast international funding network traceable back to Saudi and Kuwaiti money through “C-100 Projects” see: http://www.weforum.org/en/Communities/FaithCommunities/c100/Projects/index.htm
    that ultimately reaches NGOs that shield the donors from their anti-Israel operations. Here’s an example: The benignly sounding “UN Alliance of Civilizations” see: http://www.unaoc.org/ whose purpose supposedly is to counter western misconceptions about the nature of Islamic and Muslim societies through education and dialogue. Who heads the UNAC? Why that paragon of interfaith cooperation none other the Turkish PM and anti-Semite Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    What has any of this to do with a Jewish Film Festival? Ordinarily the answer would be “nothing” but dig into Just Vision’s key personnel as listed on their site and you come across Lucas Welch, Founder/Executive Director of Soliya - an NGO listed in the C-100 link above. Maybe all these associations are merely “innocent” but when I see Wissam Nasr (the same Wissam Nasr that runs NY CAIR??? - I note Just Vision conveniently does not provide his affiliation) warning lights should go off.

    ****
    The bigger question is why Jews like Robert Naiman either knowingly or unknowingly become conduits for voices that align themselves against our (Jewish) own best self-interest and self-preservation? At a time when Iran is building its genocide bomb against Israel, when Arab children are being indoctrinated in medieval and Nazi Jew-hatred, when similar blood libels and deranged ‘Jewish conspiracy’ theories are now rampant throughout a ‘civilised’ world which will accordingly look the other way should the rockets start falling on Tel Aviv or Haifa, it is hideous beyond measure that some Jews (including Israelis on the left too) should themselves be lining up behind such forces of evil, providing them with the cynical and spurious camouflage of ‘Jewish conscience’ to enable them to do their infernal business.Throughout the history of anti-Jewish persecution there have always been Jews who volunteered to do the Jew-haters’ dirty work for them. Like Jew-hatred itself, what we are seeing merely yet another mutation — of the racial treachery that has centuries-old blood on its hands.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Anonymous,

    BRAVO.
    I hope this comment gets widely read.

    Of course Naiman wouldn't print your response....and Naiman aside,
    HP wouldn't either.

    One expects to read the hateful and vile comments posted by the "anti-Israel anything and everything" crowd on the HP....but to hear Jews go on like Naiman is beyond my comprehension. Are they simply self haters? What fuels one to go against their own with such purpose, vengeance and hatred?
    It is a multifaceted question with a more multifaceted and complicated answer that quite frankly, leaves me stymied.

    ReplyDelete

Hey guys we've started to employ a slight comment policy. We used to have completely open comments but then people abused it. So our comment policy is such: No obvious trolling or spamming. And be warned: unlike the Huffington Post we actually enforce our comment policy.