Anti-Israel propaganda becomes mainstream entertainment in US

Thursday, December 30, 2010 |  Ryan Jones

For years pro-Palestinian apologists and propagandists in America have been whittling away at traditional strong backing for the Jewish state.

Self-described experts have been working hard to undermine US diplomatic and financial support for Israel by claiming the dreaded “Israel lobby” controls US foreign policy. Even within the Evangelical Church, that bastion of pro-Israel sentiment, there is a growing movement to disassociate from Israel.

But poll numbers continue to show that most Americans support Israel and recognize who are the true antagonists in the Middle East conflict. Because of that, pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel propaganda never caught on as mainstream entertainment the way anti-communist productions did.

Until now.

Scheduled for a March 2011 release, the new feature film “Miral” follows the turbulent life of a young Palestinian Arab girl who becomes involved in terrorism against Israel. It unabashedly demands sympathy for this girl and other Palestinian terrorists in their battle with a Jewish state that is portrayed as arbitrarily cruel and barbaric.

There is little surprise there, since the film is an adaptation of a book written by director Julian Schnabel’s new Palestinian Arab girlfriend, Rula Jabreal. In a series of interviews following screening of “Miral” at the Toronto and Venice film festivals, Schnabel, who is Jewish, acknowledged that it was not the film’s intent to give a comprehensive background to the conflict or present a “balanced” view.

Further evidence that the film is, as Schnable himself hinted, aimed at promoting the Palestinian narrative of the conflict is the fact that Vanessa Redgrave is given a cameo. Redgrave is famous for denouncing the “Zionist hoodlums” during a 1978 Academy Awards acceptance speech. Despite Redgrave’s minor role, her presence in the film is being used as part of the marketing campaign.

In addition to its skewed portrayal of the situation in the Middle East, critics have widely dismissed the film as uncreative, and certainly not up to par with Schnabel’s previous offerings. At least one critic said Schnabel had “forfeited his talent to please his collaborator” - his Palestinian girlfriend.

With those kinds of reviews, and the “foreign film” feel of it all, such a movie would ordinarily be relegated to the status of a minor release, not pushed as a potential blockbuster. But the latter is precisely with the entertainment industry in the US appears to be doing.

Israel Today has learned from a number of people in the US that trailers of “Miral” are being shown before currently playing major feature films at American movie theaters. The lead-up to major feature films is usually reserved for the trailers of movies that the studios believe will become blockbusters, or want to push to become blockbusters.

We have all known for decades that the mainstream American press is no friend of Israel. But is anti-Israel propaganda finally breaking through into mainstream entertainment as well?

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