PARADISE NOW as well as MUNICH both lost and ‘minimized’
The director of Paradise Now, a film centering on two
Palestinians preparing to carry out a suicide bombing,
said he believed pro-Israel lobbying would in the end
cost him the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
MER – MiddleEast.Org – Washington – 6 March: While AIPAC storms away in Washington targeting Iran at this year’s annual conference which began yesterday — and further whipping up the flames of the ‘Clash of Civilization’ it helped so much ignite — the powerful ‘liberal’ Jewish community on the West Coast in Hollywood was exercising its power as well.
Paradise Now – nicknamed Hell Now in Israel – not only was nearly totally minimized but it was the only film that didn’t come from a country, which is this case is Palestine. And rather than calling it ‘Occupied Palestine’ or ‘Occupied Territories’ it was in the end said to be from a place that doesn’t exist except in the Israeli lexicon, ‘the Palestinian Territories’. Well…American Indians would certainly understand all this; but then nobody watching the Oscars last night would even know there was such a thing as an American Indian.
Not only does the powerful American Jewish community enjoy wielding its power on both coasts in the USA these days but it has a closer than ever working alliance with Israel’s leading newspaper, Ha’aretz, as well. And that’s where this take on what happened last night was nearly instantly published — clearly with advance understanding and preparations for what happened just a few hours ago in considerably Jewish Hollywood.
Oh yes, no tribute either to that Lion of Hollywood at the ‘Jewish’ Oscars, to the man who was just about the only major Arab American film-maker in their midst; though Jon Stewart did noteably made a number of ‘Jewish’ jokes and illusions throughout the evening. Mustapha Akkad was blown up last year in a terrorist attack at a hotel in Amman — what more excuse did they need? Akkad was continuing his own cinematic coup fantasy quest to make a blockbuster Hollywood epic movie about one of the most legendary Arab heroes in history, Salaadin.
So what if the Jews run Hollywood?
|By Bradley Burston|
| Ha’aretz, Tel Aviv – 6 March: You could hear it right away. The grumbles about how the Jews run Hollywood, how the Israelis tell them what how to think, what to exalt, what to censor.
How if someone dares depart from the party line on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or the Holocaust, or the Jewish leadership in the time of Jesus, the forces of retribution will visit ruin upon them and upon their distributors domestic and foreign.
In remarks published two days before the ceremony, Hany Abu-Assad, the director of Paradise Now, a film centering on two Palestinians preparing to carry out a suicide bombing, said he believed pro-Israel lobbying would in the end cost him the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
“I can write off an Oscar win right now,” Abu-Assad said.
“The Oscars are a complex matter, and I believe that in the end, if there is a close call, what will work against me will be two or three conservatives, even if the majority votes with its heart.”
For his part, Steven Spielberg faced an unaccustomed storm of Jewish protest when he released Munich, which raises questions about Israel’s assassination policy in the fight against terrorism.
“So many fundamentalists in my own community, the Jewish community, have grown very angry at me for allowing the Palestinians simply to have dialogue and for allowing Tony Kushner to be the author of that dialogue,” Spielberg told Newsweek last month.
According to Spielberg, “‘Munich’ never once attacks Israel, and barely criticizes Israel’s policy of counterviolence against violence. It simply asks a plethora of questions. It’s the most questioning story I’ve ever had the honor to tell. For that, we were accused of the sin of moral equivocation. Which, of course, we didn’t intend – and we’re not guilty of.”
It was only natural, then, that when Steven Spielberg’s Munich failed to win the Oscar for Best Picture, and when Paradise Now lost out as Best Foreign Language film, the predictions of battalions of anti-Semites and radical Muslims were borne out.
In fact, so what if Jews rule Hollywood? So what if they always have?
Leave aside, for the moment, the historical context, the fact that immigrant Eastern European Jews, rejected and dismissed not only by the White Anglo Saxon Protestants that actually ran and still run things, but also by the German Jewish aristocracy of New York, sought – and built – a promised land in a direction opposite to this one.
They went to the very edge of the world, a semi-arid basin of orange trees and chicken ranches and, yes, anti-Semites. They remade the world from scratch. The invention of movies was the algebra of the 20th century.
Were they mercenary and money-grubbing, uncouth and ruthless, sappy and shallow and sentimental and insensitive? Were they ever. And why not? They were, after all, in a headlong hurry to become, for lack of a better term, Americans.
And so to the present case. A few vignettes:
The Academy ruled last week on a petition by a group of Israelis who had lost children to Palestinian suicide bombings. The group asked that Paradise Now be disqualified. The Academy accepted a petition with more than 32,000 signatures, but denied the request.
Yossi Zur, whose teenage son Asaf was killed in a bus bombing, said “What they call ‘Paradise Now’ we call ‘hell now’, each and every day.”
“It is a mission of the free world not to give such movies a prize.”
Certainly, Zur’s feelings are more than understandable. However, if Hollywood has really taught us anything, it is this: The mission of the free world is to make money.
It has also taught us something else. Hollywood Jews are no good at making films about Jews. It took a Nebraska-born Anglo-Saxon Protestant, Darrell Zanuck, to finally tackle anti-Semitism in a film, the 1947 Gentleman’s Agreement, which he made over the vocal objections of Hollywood’s corps of Jewish studio moguls.
Another of the controversies that studded the run-up to the Oscars was a debate over the exact country which Paradise Now was representing. Abu-Assad maintained throughout that, just as it had been in the Golden Globes, the film should be designated as an entry from Palestine.
Indeed, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences initially referred to the film on its Web site as a submission from Palestine. But lobbying, negotiations, calls fpressures and endless conferences yielded the decision that the film would represent the Palestinian Authority.
That decision infuriated Abu-Assad, who called it a slap at the Palestinian people and their national identity.
“It’s not like suddenly if you change your name, you didn’t exist before,” he said Tuesday. “If it’s (Palestine) under occupation, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
In the end, the film was listed as representing the Palestinian Territories.
It might be noted, that in many cases the example of Gentlemen’s Agreement has worked to the advantage of the Muslim and Arab world for years, as Jewish executives, editors, producers, reporters and others in the news media bent over backwards to serve up the Palestinian and Arab cause in as flattering a David versus Goliath pose as possible.
The fact is, that it took brutal, self-defeating, inhuman terrorism on a global level to level the playing field, so that Jews, even the settler villains of foreign news set pieces, could be portrayed as human beings.
Source: Middle East Realities