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Thursday, June 16, 2005


B'nai B'rith Austria Claims Paradise Now'Antijudaismus'

Hany Abu Assad spoke at the screening of his acclaimed film Paradise Now at the Frankfurt Film Museum. For the story on that please see an earlier post.

Today a flurry of condemnations of the film appeared at http://www.juedische.at(Vielen Dank, Inge). Abu Assad, who was born in Nazareth, currently resides in the Netherlands. Paradise Now won the Blau Engel prize for Best European Film at the Berlinale Festival. It also won the Amnesty International Prize as well as the Berliner Morgenpost Readers' Award. Zionist organizations are concerned. The film is scheduled to show in Austria and will also show in the US in September. Abu-Assad will be a featured speaker at the International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam in Novemenber. The following is a translation of parts of a statement from B'nai B'rith in Austria. It is entitled "B'nai B'rith Against Glorification of Suicide Bombers."

Raimund Fastenbauer, vice-president of the Zwi Peres Chajes Loge B'nai B'rith says that Paradise Now is "a propaganda film that glorifes suicide bombers." Fastenbauer says that the freedom of art reaches its borders where mass murderers are portrayed as victims.

"The portrayal in Paradise Now, a film, that, according to the director Hany Abu-Assad, 'gives back as true as possible reflection of the feeling in Palestine and Israel,' but Tobias Ebbrect in his analysis says that Israelis 'are only seen in the distance.' Sympathy is only for the suicide bombers and not for the victims and through this portrayal the relationship of the victim and victimizer is turned around."

Fastenbauer quotes Abu-Assad, "'I do not condemn suicide murders. For me it is a human reaction, says Abu-Assad.'"

Fastenbauer then proceeds to quote a statement Abu-Assad made that the scene in which Khaled and Said, the protatgonists, eat with their friends should bring to mind the last supper that Jesus ate with his disciples. Fastenbauer interprets this to mean that the suicide bomber becomes Jesus, who is sacrificing himself for mankind. Fastenbauer then asserts that this is "overstepping the boundaries into "Antijudaismus," but he doesn't tell us why. Does he mean that Assad intends to portray suicide bombers as modern day Christs out to even the score? Is he really maintaining that Assad is depicting suicide bombers as providing a service to mankind by killing Jews? Now other Zionist critics have maintained that Khaled and Said are not realistic because they don't scream that they hate Jews every other sentence, yet Fastenbauer nonsensically and simplistically claims that the film is "antijudaismus" because of the allusions to Christ.

The problem that the Zionist organizations have with the film is that the film does exactly what Abu-Assad intended; it portrays reality. When the film was screened in Ramallah, a discussion among the Palestinians in attendance ensued. One person criticised it saying that it only showed the sordidness of Palestinian life. When the reporter for Palestine Report asked if the film was honest, however, everyone agreed. B'Nai B'rith is ticked off that Abu-Assad didn't dish up a couple of sufficiently crazed sterotypical wild-eyed villains for European consumption. At least Palestinians concur that he portrayed their situation like it is while Zionists are doing their damndest to show otherwise.

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