Monday, 3 October 2011

Israel versus Israel

Where do people in the West get information about the situation in the Middle East?

Talking to many Jewish people in the UK, I get the impression that some rely solely on news that is filtered, particularly by commentators from the East Coast of the USA. Few seem to have heard of Israeli English language newspapers like Haaretz, much less have read them online. This enables many to take the view that Israel has a homogenous and completely negative view of relations with Palestinians and see Israel as a powerless victim defending itself against those who seek to destroy the state.

Swedish filmmaker, Terje Carlsson, has made a film about internal resistance to the harsh treatment of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians and the increasing occupation in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

He charts small acts of resistance to settlements and the humiliation of Palestinians crossing internal borders to work, study or attend hospital. Israelis involved are not just radical students, but rabbis, former soldiers and concerned middle aged, middle class people defending human rights.

The Israeli army protects Israeli Jewish settlers and demonstrators and activists risk their lives in taking action. Participants describe it as their moral obligation to demonstrate, to challenge the actions of their government.

RT televised the film, which is available here:

When asked about the response of Arabs and Palestinians to his film, Carlsson speaks of hope fostered by the knowledge that some Israelis want to cooperate and live peacefully together with them. This runs counter to the current charm offensive being mounted by Israel and the attempt to suppress criticism of their policy in the region.

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