(And for a useful summation of how I feel about the Palestinian Muslims, see here.)
The Great Propagandists focus only on the Palestinian “refugees” who are seen as the innocent victims of Israeli aggression. They never show us the human face of the true refugees of the Middle East who are (persecuted) Jews from Arab countries whom Israel absorbed with no help from the UN, or from UNRWA, nor do they explain that Palestinian suffering is primarily due to corrupt and murderous Palestinian and Arab leadership. In my view, Israel is definitely and regrettably responsible for at least 5% of Palestinian suffering; but no more. I have gone on record over the years, as have many other Jews, protesting this 5%. It is important not to pretend that 5% responsibility is equal to 95% responsibility.
On August 12, 2004, HBO will be airing James Miller’s BBC/Channel 4 film, “Death in Gaza,” (in Arabic and Hebrew) in which he interviewed Palestinian children only. Presumably, Miller was going to interview Israeli children too but he never did. Miller’s widow, Sophy, has gone on record accusing the Israelis of purposely killing him on his last day of shooting in Gaza; if this was indeed his last day then perhaps Miller did not plan to interview any Israeli children after all.
After his death, Miller’s wife and colleagues finished the film for him, and began a campaign seeking “Justice for James Miller.” The film has been aired at many film festivals to rave reviews. The fact that the script was written by acclaimed journalist, Saira Shah, with whom Miller worked on “Beneath the Veil,” which was broadcast by CNN, ensures a devoted and vocal following. Shah, who is the English-born daughter of an Afghan father, is also the author of the “Storyteller’s Daughter,” which is a beautifully written book about her search for her Afghan roots.
Nearly four years ago, propagandists claimed that Israelis purposely killed the young boy, Mohammed al-Dura; the photo of al-Dura in his father’s lap instantly became the icon for the al-Aqsa Intifada. By now we know that the boy most definitely was not killed by Israelis; ongoing investigations may soon reveal that the boy either may not have died at all–or may have been killed by Palestinians on purpose. Crazy? But what if it’s true? Mohammed Bakri’s film “Jenin, Jenin,” showed the Israelis committing a massacre there. Like “Death in Gaza,” Bakri’s film has also been acclaimed at numerous film festivals. But, although Bakri is the darling of the Israeli left, and has been protected by the Israeli Supreme Court, the film is a lie.
There is only one filmmaker who has presented the truth in the matter of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and his nom de guerre is Pierre Rehov. I interviewed him in my home a few weeks ago. Rehov lives in Paris and, until the al-Aqsa Intifada, only visited Israel “for fun in Eilat.” That changed in 2000. Since then, he has made six films about the Arab-Israeli conflict and is currently working on a seventh. When he could not get a distributor in France for his first film, he simply enclosed it in the copies of the magazine that he himself distributed monthly in France. Soon, everyone was talking about–and pirating the film. His “The Road to Jenin” was a huge success on Israeli television.
Rehov has not yet attracted a network to showcase his six films nor does he have a distributor in the United States. His latest film, “Hostages of Hatred,” will be shown at the upcoming Hampton International Film Festival. His films have been seen in both France and Israel. Indeed, on the anniversary of the Park Hotel Passover massacre in Netanya (which led to the Israeli incursion into Jenin), Rehov showed his film about Jenin and dedicated it to the 24 Israeli soldiers who died going into Jenin on foot from booby-trapped house to booby-trapped house, vulnerable to sniper-fire every inch of the way. Rehov invited the families of the dead soldiers and the survivors of the Park Hotel massacre. He personally fed 400 people. A former chief rabbi of Israel presided at a Passover seder table which stood in the exact spot where the suicide terrorist had blown himself and 32 Israelis to pieces. The rabbi said: “The only time that the blood libel against the Jews was ever true, (that Jews used non-Jewish blood to make matzot), was here, where the suicide bomber’s blood mingled with Jewish blood on this Passover.”
In Peter Bergson’s/Hillel Kook’s honor I have resolved that I must, in a small way, act as Kook would have done at this moment in history. Thus, starting today, on August 11, 2004, my website, (www. phyllis-chesler.com), will be hosting the recent films of Algerian born Jew, Pierre Rehov. I want those people who will watch “Death in Gaza” to finally have the option to see “the other side,” in my view the truer side, which Rehov captures in his films. “Silent Exodus” is about the approximately one million Jews who had to flee Arab countries and about what their lives were like under Islam before Israel became a sovereign entity. “Hostages of Hatred” is a film which primarily interviews Palestinians–including children–about their views. The hero of “Hostages” is, perhaps, Bassam-Eid, the Director of Human Rights Monitoring for Palestine who bravely “tells it like it is.” “The Road to Jenin” is Rehov’s film about what really happened in Jenin.
The esteemed Bergson/Kook paid for ads in the NY Times when the major media (other than Hearst’s publications) refused to print the truth. I can do no less. It is little enough to do. Please view his films at my website. Please send us your comments. Please help him find a distributor and a network.