Hizbullah must immediately stop firing rockets into civilian areas in Israel, Human Rights Watch said Saturday. "Lobbing rockets blindly into civilian areas is without doubt a war crime," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.
"Nothing can justify this assault on the most fundamental standards for sparing civilians the hazards of war."
"Most of the attacks appear to have been directed at civilian areas and have hit pedestrians, hospitals, schools, homes and businesses," the humanitarian organization's website stated. (Source: Jerusalem Post)
Sueddeutsche Zeitung and other German dailies today - August 3rd, 2006 - reprint a dpa story on the war in Lebanon ("The unsuccessful war"). (dpa is Germany's number one press agency.)
The basic message of the story: Olmert is losing the support of the media - "reputable experts" contradict Olmert's optimistic outlook for the war - army generals criticize the military strategy - the former head of Israel's secret intelligence service even demands talks with Iran.
dpa wants Germans to believe that Israel cannot win the war against Hezbollah, and that self-doubts and critique within Israel are mounting. Since the Israelis (including the media) are virtually united behind the government's Lebanon strategy, dpa has to rely on "experts" with dubious political positions to proof its point. Take, for example, the "reputable history Professor" (dpa) Zeev Sternhell, who is extensively quoted in dpa's story. In an awfully one-sided polemic ("The most unsuccessful war") in the left-wing daily Haaretz Sternhell calls the Lebanon war a "serious blow to the government's credibility", and speaks of "cynicism being demonstrated by government spokesmen, official and otherwise, including several military correspondents, in the face of the disaster suffered by the Lebanese".
What dpa doesn't say is that Sternhell is a card-carrying member of the looney left, who - according to Wikipedia - "has long been a supporter of the Israeli peace camp and writes critically in the Israeli press about the Occupation and his government's policies toward the Palestinians". In his book "The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State" Sternhell complains about the lack of socialistic vigour in Israel's labor party. Sternhell's interpretation of Israel's policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians ("colonial policing, which recalls the takeover by the white police of the poor neighbourhoods of the blacks in South Africa during the apartheid era") is approvingly quoted by none less than Noam Chomsky, another German media darling.
What we have here is another example of a "reputable" German media outlet to introduce left-wing "experts" in its reporting of foreign affairs, the same procedure that served the German media so well in its reporting on the Iraq war.
Call it "the Americanization of Israel's image in the German media". I'm sure, we will see more of it in the next couple of weeks.
Update: A must-read for our German speaking readers: Henryk M. Broder's latest article ("Sit-in blockades against Hezbollah?" - our translation) in SPON.
(This is an English summary of the German version of a posting I had published on July 18th. Richard Bartholomew did the translation. I had planned to publish the English version much earlier, and Richard had delivered on time, but - being on vacation - I had forgotten about the posting. Apologies!)
Bettina Marx, Tel Aviv radio correspondent for the ARD, sure takes a predictably one-sided position. In a commentary "With blind Rage", dated 7/17/2006, she attacks with blind rage those who are, for her, the truly guilty parties in the set-to between Israel and Hezbollah: Israel and the USA.
In summary, this is the causal chain according to Bettina Marx: Israeli occupation politics delivers fodder for extremist rage - no cease fire because of Condi Rice's cynicism, stupidity and ignorance - Israel concedes no right to exist in freedom and dignity to Lebanon and the Palestinians, but instead starts in with bombs, starvation and humiliation.
It's a logic that can't be beat for cynicism, stupidity, and ignorance. Make no mistake; this is no slip-up from Mrs. Marx. Her commentaries are regularly peppered with insults and innuendos addressed to the Israelis ((1, 2, 3). She cites prime critics of the Israeli government in her reports. On the other hand, her heart is stirred (1) by the troubles of the Hamas Administration.
Our heart is stirred too. To be sure, more by the decades long suffering of the Israelis from the blind rage of Arab terrorists.
(We interrupt our regular programming for one of our occasional German postings, we will be posting recent submissions in the next few days)
Heribert Prantl ist Ressortchef Innenpolitik der Süddeutschen Zeitung. Seine politische Linie ist weit links - anders hätte er es nicht in eine journalistische Führungsfunktion bei der Süddeutschen Zeitung geschafft. Der Mann formuliert brachial, polternd, schimpfend. Er versteht von manchem ein wenig und von vielem nichts, und, schlimmer noch, weiß dies nicht. Selten findet man einen Menschen, dessen Physiognomie so auskunftsfreudig seinen Seelenzustand beschreibt. (Nein, er ist (wohl) nicht mit diesem Herrn verwandt.)
Niemand recht bei Sinnen würde ihm die Fähigkeit zur differenzierenden, abwägenden Beurteilung nachsagen; wer ihn, wie Ursula Heller vom Bayerischen Rundfunk, dennoch als "Edelfeder" preist, stellt sich selbst ins ewige journalistische Abseits. Er eignet sich für die Rolle des Ressortchefs Innenpolitik der gerne nachdenklich wirkenden Süddeutschen Zeitung wie der Dj Ötzi als Dirigent der Münchener Philharmonie.
Und ausgerechnet dieses Urbild eines bayerischen Grantlers ließ sich nun zu einem Kommentar über Israels Kampf gegen die Hisbollah hinreißen. Bei diesem Ausflug in die Untiefen der Aussenpolitik ist er, vorhersagbar, grandios gescheitert.
Natürlich ahnt Prantl, daß er nicht gleich mit beiden Stiefeln in das Thema hineinspringen kann. Schließlich, bitte schön, gibt es da eine deutsch-jüdische Vergangenheit. Da kann man nicht so einfach deftig lospoltern wie sonst von Montag bis Samstag, das versteht er.
Er beginnt daher mit einer Finte: Prantl, der ganz anderes will, tritt als Beschützer Israels auf. "Hinterfotzig" nennt man es in Bayern, wenn jemand, den der Herr mit eher bescheidenen geistigen Gaben ausgestattet hat, andere hereinlegen möchte.
Auge um Auge, Zahn um Zahn
Die Überschrift dieses Artikels ist antisemitisch. Sie findet sich, als Chiffre für Rachsucht und Vergeltung, Hochmut und Vernichtungswut, in jedem zweiten bösen Kommentar gegen Israel – „Auge um Auge, Zahn um Zahn“.
Diese Regel steht im Alten Testament, und wer diesen Satz zur Erklärung der Situation im Südlibanon oder im Westjordanland gebraucht, unterstellt damit eine jüdische Mentalität, die von Moses bis Ehud Olmert reicht.
Der biblische Satz wird so zur Formel für einen angeblich religiös-genetischen Defekt; und aus der Formel wird ein politisches Deutungsmuster dergestalt: „ ... so steht es im Alten jüdischen Testament und so praktizieren es die Israelis.“
Prantl wendet sich also gegen "böse Kommentare", die den Israelis einen religiös-genetischen Defekt, eben eine Mentalität "Auge um Auge, Zahn um Zahn" unterstellen. Das sei doch anti-semitisch. Chapeau, denkt da der israel-geneigte Leser. Der Mann hat meine Zustimmung. Wären die Israelis der
I know, there have been denials, but I have this gut feeling that even Islamist terrorists ultimately understand the side effects of severe punishment.
Anyway, if proven true, diplomacy - so cherished by the German media - definitely wasn't the root cause for these headlines...
Addendum from Ray: SPIEGEL ONLINE has finally published its pro-Israel "token" commentary by Matthias Kuentzel. A must read (in German). (Hattip: Hans Ze Beeman). Politically Incorrect points to a poll taken several days ago showing that 75% of Germans find Israel's actions "inappropriate" while only 12% see them as "appropriate" and 13% aren't sure. Is that any surprise considering the tone of the German media?
(Via Politically Incorrect) The lady in the "EU limo" says: "How disproportionate! They won't do anything if you leave them in peace! Total overreaction! You are only going to make them wilder!" The cartoon title (at the bottom) says: Theoretical know-it-all-ism from a climate-controlled backseat.
It would be interesting to see how Germans (and other Israel critics) would react if we huddled them all into a piece of land the size of New Jersey, surrounded them with enemies loudly calling and working for their utter destruction, subjected them to regular bus and subway bombings and kidnappings and rocket attacks, and then had the rest of the international community repeatedly tell them how wrong they were to defend themselves. Maybe a few more might find Israel's actions "appropriate" with the shoe on the other foot. It certainly is easy to criticize from the relative comfort of a European armchair...
This is a letter from a young Israeli soldier to his mother. I got a copy of it as a member of Naomi Ragen's e-mail list.
I strongly urge you to read the letter to get an understanding of the Israeli-Hezbollah-Hamas conflict. I was particularly impressed by the description of Israel's "don't shoot first" policy:
Do you know why so manysoldiers die in the West Bank, Gaza and Lebanon? Not because the enemy's army is better, they are not even close to the IDF. We have better equipment, more equipment, better training, so how is it that soldiers are kidnapped and killed? That's a good question. It is because the left and the international community is keeping such a close look, and bias toward Israel's defense tactics, that are (sic!) hands are tied in defending ourselves properly. We take so many dangerous steps in order to protect civilians, that in return, we are killed and kidnapped. Did you know that at the Lebanon Border for the last ten years, because of "International" pressure, that if you see 500 Hizbollah terrorists with AK47's and rocket launchers and missiles coming up to the actual border fence, 50 feet from the Israel soldiers, 50 feet from Israel's soil, that the IDF cannot fire unless they fire first! They can aim, set up shop 50 feet from you, but until they fire and shoot at you, the Israeli soldiers cannot defend themselves. Is that logical? No, it is insane. The only reason why so many Israeli's both civilian and military are dying is explicitly the fault of the International Leftist agenda. The Left likes to see the minority win, even if it is Hamas and Hezbollah.
Again, you have to read the whole letter.
Notes from Zachary Taylor a soldier in the Nachal Haredi Unit, sent to me (Naomi Ragen) by his mother.
People jump to conclusions about the Israeli leadership and their strategies concerning Gaza and Lebanon. First of all, do not believe anything you read in a foreign newspaper or even half of the Israeli ones about this current situation.
For example, just a few months ago an Arab Family in Gaza was killed on a beach. The Palestinians said the Israelis did the killing, as did international media. After research it was shown that in no way whatsovever was it an Israeli...
In close competition for the dumbest assessment of Hezbollah's Nasrallah: Kofi Annan and Aluf Benn from the Israeli daily Haaretz.
We have to work with the Lebanese government to extend its authority over southern Lebanon... The Lebanese government has indicated to me that already they've put in a thousand troops, and others will follow as the UN also moves down, and we will re-enforce the UN troops on the ground... Let me say that Hizbullah... is a player in the south of Lebanon... I did tell Mr. Nasrallah that Hizbullah exercised restraint, responsibility and discipline after the withdrawal, and that we would want to see that continue, and I'm sure from the indications that he gave me that he intends to do it.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, with prime minister Ehud Barak, June 21, 2000 (Source: Jerusalem Post)
We need a Nasrallah By Aluf Benn, July 6, 2006 (...) The moment Hezbollah took control over the south of the country and armed itself with thousands of Katyushas and other rockets, a stable balance of deterrence was created on both sides of the border. The withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from Lebanon in 2000 was made possible not only because of the daring of then prime minister Ehud Barak, but also thanks to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who conducts a policy of "one law and one weapon" on the other side.
Nasrallah hates Israel and Zionism no less than do the Hamas leaders, Shalit's kidnappers and the Qassam squads. But as opposed to them - he has authority and responsibility, and therefore his behavior is rational and reasonably predictable. Under the present conditions, that's the best possible situation. Hezbollah is doing a better job of maintaining quiet in the Galilee than did the pro-Israeli South Lebanese Army. (Source)(emphasis added)
These guys are just lucky that ARD's anti-Israeli Bettina Marx hasn't entered the competition yet. She would beat them hands down...
Jeffrey Gedmin has published another one of his brilliant attacks against the hypocrisy of the left in Germany's daily WELT. We are glad to have obtained the right to publish the original English version of his commentary.
Responding on Two Fronts By Jeffrey Gedmin (Tel Aviv)
Sitting in a beach front restaurant at the port here and life seems so normal, innocent really. The warm summer breeze, music, fresh fish, scores of young people walk the board walk. And on this night, every few minutes, military planes fly by, flying north. Israel is at war again.
I'm learning a lot about rockets at the moment. The Katyuscha has a range of 30-40 km. The Fajr 3 and Fajr 5 can sail some 70 km. When I arrived, I was briefed that Hezbollah may also have a number of longer range Iranian missiles with a reach of about 135 km. That would make Tel Aviv a possible target, I thought. Two days ago Israel found and destroyed an Iranian Zelzal missile with a range of 160 kilometers.
As always, I'm a little bit one-sided. A frequent narrative in much international media goes like this: Hezbollah kidnaps two Israeli soldiers. Israel seeks revenge by bombing the hell out of Lebanon. A Süddeutsche Zeitung headline read, "Israel attack on two fronts." Henryk Broder, writing in Der Spiegel, asked why the paper wouldn't have written that Israel has been "responding" on two fronts. That would be honest.
I feel pretty confident about my narrative. Start with Gaza, which is where this started. Israel withdraws. Palestinians heave 600 rockets over the border over the next six months. They elect Hamas, whose raison etre is to annihilate the Jewish state. Hamas
Source: Cox & Forkum (Cartoon is not part of Jeffrey Gedmin's commentary in WELT)
ups the ante by kidnapping an Israeli soldier. A journalists friend says to me, a liberal-minded fellow here, "If you keep poking a lion, sooner or later you're going to get swatted by a big paw." Now Lebanon. Before nabbing those Israeli soldiers, Hezbollah had started to fire their own rockets into
(For a change - a posting in German, for our German readers. I will present an English version in a couple of days. Of course, you are kindly invited to comment in English if you like.)
Bettina Marx, Tel Aviv-Radio-Korrespondentin der ARD, bezieht Position - vorhersagbar einseitig allerdings. In einem Kommentar "Mit blinder Wut" vom 17.7.2006 attackiert sie mit blinder Wut die für sie wahren Schuldigen der Auseinandersetzung zwischen Israel und der Hizbollah:
Israel und die USA.
Auszüge aus ihrem Kommentar:
(...) ist die Eskalation nicht viel eher die natürliche Folge der jahrelangen Gewaltspirale, die sich in der letzten Zeit immer schneller drehte und die zuletzt im Gaza-Streifen täglich Tote und Verletzte forderte?
(...) Sie (USA, Europäer, arabische Staaten) überließen das Feld den
This commentary in Berliner Zeitung pretty much presents all the major prejudices in the German media against Israel in the current conflict with Hamas.
In effect, it paints Israel as a terrorist state.
Entire rows of houses are smashed down by (Israeli) tanks to make sure that there is at least one guilty party among the many casualties. Terrorism, the strengthening of one's own position through the spread of fear and horror, is the long standing practice of both sides. (...) The war against terrorism has, within the briefest period, itself assumed terroristic traits. (...)
He who would like the Palestinians to have a democratically elected government commits himself to their capacity to vote freely and anonymously. When they have decided, he must, if one is to believe in his commitment to democratic engagement, recognize the representatives elected in free, secret elections. (...)
Israel wants to unseat the first government that the Palestinians themselves have elected. The Israeli government claims a right of veto in the occupancy of the Palestinian government bench. A right of veto which she is prepared to enforced with bombs and rockets. Those who know Hamas will appreciate this. But that has nothing to do with democracy. It shows solely the disregard of the Israeli leadership not just for the will of the Palestinians, but also for democratic institutions. (emphasis added) (Translation of quote by Richard Bartholomew)
Adolf Hitler would have agreed wholeheartedly with this commentary. After all, you have to "recognize" even a warmongering government, if only it's democratically elected. And Hitler was democratically elected. So, sorry Israel, there's nothing you can do about Palestinian terror. Sure, the Hamas government wants to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth. But what can you do - the government was democratically elected.
As to "terrorist traits" in the fight against terror, how exactly is Israel supposed to defend itself against hundreds of Kassam rockets, suicide bombers, abductions, and other goodies delivered from Palestine territory, with the tacid - and not so tacid - approval of the Hamas government? Asking for mercy? Well, the Jews did that in the face of the Nazi terror, and, back then, it didn't quite work out...
The German media might learn from some Arab media how to identify the true culprit in this conflict:
The Hamas leadership was taken to task in an op-ed piece published Saturday in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan, Israel Radio reported.
The author, Fuad al Hashen, wrote that Hamas bore full responsibility for the recent IDF incursion into the Gaza Strip.
Hamas continued to fire rockets at Israel after Israel voluntarily withdrew from Gaza, al Hashen continued. Therefore, Israel's decision to shell Gaza was "natural."
Al Hashen called on leaders in the Hamas movement to concern themselves with rebuilding Gaza and address the real issues for the Palestinian people. "Then the 'Summer Rain' will stop falling," he wrote.
BTW, I haven't heard the German media cry for Cpl. Gilad Shalit to have access to a lawyer and a court hearing. No mention of the Geneva Convention, no complaints about the lawlessness of the Palestinian government.
I guess the silence is owed to the fact that Cpl. Shalit is not an Islamic terrorist who was trying to blow up a maximum number of civilians, but just an ordinary Israeli soldier who cared for the right of his people to live in peace. Obviously, this doesn't qualify him for a special treatment in the German media...
This cartoon from Dry Bones is a fitting description of the twisted Palestinian logic...
Update: While the German media endlessly repeat the "cycle of violence" crap, Iraqis are surprisingly candid about the responsibilty of Hamas. Then again, they know the meaning of terrorism...
While the German media indulge in predictable handwringing (cycle of violence is the buzz word) over Israel's reaction against the never-ending Palestinian aggressions, this commentary by Charles Krauthammer in TIME puts things in a clear perspective:
Remember What Happened Here Gaza is freed, yet Gaza wages war. That reveals the Palestinians' true agenda
Israel Invades Gaza. That is in response to an attack from Gaza that killed two Israelis and wounded another, who was kidnapped and brought back to Gaza ...which, in turn, was in response to Israel's targeted killing of terrorist leaders in Gaza...which, in turn, was in response to the indiscriminate shelling of Israeli towns by rockets launched from Gaza.
Of all the conflicts in the world, the one that seems the most tediously and hopelessly endless is the Arab-Israeli dispute, which has been going on in much the same way, it seems, for 60 years. Just about every story you'll see will characterize Israel's invasion of Gaza as a continuation of the cycle of violence.
Cycles are circular. They have no end. They have no beginning. That is why, as tempting as that figure of speech is to use, in this case it is false. It is as false as calling American attacks on Taliban remnants in Afghanistan part of a cycle of violence between the U.S. and al-Qaeda or, as Osama bin Laden would have it, between Islam and the Crusaders going back to 1099. Every party has its grievances--even Hitler had his list when he invaded Poland in 1939--but every conflict has its origin.
What is so remarkable about the current wave of violence in Gaza is that
A while ago we commented on the anti-Semitic movie "Paradise Now", which is co-financed by German authorities. Also, we mentioned that the script of "Paradise now" is in the race for a German award.
I just came across an interview of an Austrian newspaper (Wiener Zeitung) with the movie's film director, Hany Abu-Assad. He is clearly an apologist of suicide bombers, despite his "I am against suicide attacks" rhethoric. I guess the award for "Paradise Now" is a given...
„Wiener Zeitung“: What was your opinion of suicide attackers before and after the film?
Hany Abu-Assad: Before I thought that assassins were uneducated religious fanatics who’d been brainwashed. While researching for the film though, I’ve discovered a human face bit by bit. Behind every assassin is an individual story – here a Palestinian woman whose husband was killed by the Israelis, there a Palestinian whose house was destroyed by the Israeli army.
What unites the assassins is their resistance to the occupation and extreme hopelessness. They have the feeling that no matter what they do, Israel gets the upper hand. Even though I disagree with the suicide attacks, I don’t condemn them. For me suicide attacks are a human reaction to an extreme situation. Once again: I am personally against the killing – whether for reasons of resistance or military strikes. (...)
„Wiener Zeitung“: Do you suppose that the Palestinians’ situation would have been better if there had been no suicide attacks in Israel.
Hany Abu-Assad: No. . . (corrects himself) . . I’m not sure. Anyway it’s clear that suicide attacks are a reaction. Israel says that it is the victim and accuses the Palestinians of being terrorists. That drives the Palestinians crazy. If they’d just recognize us as equal citizens, the conflict would resolve itself. (emphasis added)
Last time in history the Jews accepted their killers as "equals", reality didn't have a happy ending for them...
Update: One of the main reasons why we run this blog is the phantastic input by our readers. Like the comment below by "The Editrix" where parallels between Mr. Abu-Assad's enlightening remarks and this wonderful satire in "The Onion" are shown. Enjoy!
Crazed Palestinian Gunman Angered By Stereotypes
HEBRON, WEST BANK—In an emotionally charged press conference Monday, crazed Palestinian gunman Faisal al Hamad expressed frustration over the stereotyping of his people.
"As a crazed Palestinian gunman, I feel hurt by the negative portrayal of my people in the media," said al Hamad, 31, a Hebron-area terrorist maniac. "None of us should have to live with stereotyping and ignorance."
He then began screaming and firing into a busload of Israeli schoolchildren.
"It hurts that in this supposedly enlightened day and age, people still make assumptions about other people," al Hamad said. "We should not rely on simple generalizations. Each crazed Palestinian gunman is an individual." (...)
Al Hamad said that he himself has often been unfairly stereotyped. "Any time I enter a crowded temple with fully loaded AK-47s in both hands, people just assume I'm going to open fire," he said. "That really hurts."
"Yes, I sometimes do gun people down in the name of the One True God," he noted. "But there is so much more to me." (...)
According to al Hamad, stereotypes against crazed Palestinian gunmen don't work because they don't take into account the vast variety of proud histories and diverse cultures among them.
"There are so many different kinds of crazed Palestinian gunmen. Each of us has our own unique reasons and motivations for our bus bombings and suicide missions," he said. "No two fundamentalist agendas are alike."
Al Hamad also stressed the importance of understanding and celebrating the cultural differences between crazed Palestinian gunmen and non-crazed, non-Palestinian non-gunmen.
"All the different peoples of the world have something special to offer each other," he said. "Our diversity is our greatest strength. Let's not make a weakness out of that strength."
To emphasize his point, al Hamad fired into a crowd, killing nine.
"I'm proud to be a crazed Palestinian gunman, obviously," he said in between shouts of anti-imperialist slogans. "But I'm an individual first. I'm me. Die, Yankee infidel pig swine!"
Faisal al Hamad, seen here shrieking anti-U.S. slogans, says that "not every crazed Palestinian gunman is exactly alike."
Hey Jews, don't you see? All you have to do is to recognize the terrorists as "equal citizens".
In an earlier post, I published excerpts of a critical review of the film “Paradise Now” from the daily newspaper WELT and lent my support to the critique. I have to admit that I hadn’t seen the film myself at that time.
I’ve now corrected this. It was a terrible experience.
“Paradise Now” is the first openly anti-Semitic film I’ve seen in the German cinema. Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of the numerous Germans who collaborated in its production (the film is distributed by Constantin Film/Munich). He would have praised in glowing terms the fact that the German taxpayer ponied up an essential contribution to the production costs. The materials for discussion of the film in German schools authored by a federal authority from the Central Office for Political Education (BPB) would have met with his grinning approval.
Our first posting dealt with the plot. In summary, young Palestinian men gratefully accept a command from a Palestinian terror group (my interpretation, not the film’s) to assassinate Israelis in Tel Aviv. After a few false starts one of the men carries out the assassination – a suicide attack in a bus.
The film’s action, especially the dialogs and discussions between the main characters, portrays the conflict between two positions. First position:
The Israelis are criminal occupiers who oppress the Palestinians. They must be combated with assassination and force.
The Israelis are criminal occupiers who oppress the Palestinians. They must be combated with peace activists’ non-violent demonstrations.
The film leaves open which of the two positions is the right one. The only thing certain in the film is the guilt and malice of the Israelis, the “occupiers”. It’s not worth going into detail about the film’s striking polemics against the Israelis. No attempt is undertaken anywhere in the film to explain the Israelis’ position.Almost all of the Israelis appear in the film as soldiers - intimidating, menacing, anonymous, occasionally with sadistic impulses.
While the Palestinians, without exception in the German version, speak at length in flawless German, there’s only one place in the whole film where an Israeli speaks a sentence - German, but with an unpleasant accent.
Of all things, this one Israeli with at least a minimal script presence had to inveigh against his fellow citizens’ wealth – a character quirk from the Nazis’ anti-Semitic films with which older Germans will be quite familiar.
(Click on pic to enlarge)
Instructing a Palestinian suicide bomber how to kill Jews. Scene from a film co-financed by German authorities.
The film expresses no moral criticism of the Palestinian suicide attackers’ practice of murdering Israeli civilians. The only thing under dispute is whether suicide attacks actually weaken the “occupiers”. In one of the film’s most ridiculously revisionist scenes, the main character shrinks from the bomb attack
A Jaundiced Look at a Sympathetic Figure Suicide bombers are really good people: Alan Posener: The disappointing film "Paradise Now"
Said is a suicide bomber in Nablus. Long trained for this job, he and his friend Khaled don't hesitate a moment when their organization's leader announces they've drawn the winning straw and will be allowed to stage a double mass murder the next day in Tel Aviv. (...)
The next day the friends start out and although Khled gets cold feet at the last moment, Said goes through with it and blows himself up with a bus load of jews. Mission accomplished.
So much for the plot of the German-Dutch-French co-produciton "Paradise Now". (...)
Hany Abu-Assads film is the first fruit of the "World Cinema Fund", the mutual film sponsorship of the Berlinale and Federal Cultural Foundation. The evangelical film jury names "Paradise Now" as the film of the month because it invites the viewer to "think about the assasin's motives". Amnesty International distinguishes it with its peace prize because it's neither "lecturing nor moralizing". That's true: Noone in the film says that it might morally wrong (and not just politically conterproductive as Suha claims), to mass murder the innocent.
Most German critics praise the "sophisticated" presentation. Well "Paradise Now" is certainly "sophisticated" compared to the hate soaked anti-semitic propaganda films that play every evening on TVs in every arabic country. Sure it's "sophisticated" compared to the videos that Hamas, Hisbollah and Co. produce. (...)
As Said begs his commander for a second chance, he finds the words that Europeans miss so painfully in the communiques of the terrorists. Words that speak to the heart - just like Saids' gesture speaks to the heart not to board a bus carrying a sweet israeli child. That's how they are, these murderers: actually good people.
But the film doesn't show Saids'deed: Women without abdomens, men without heads, children without arms and legs, blood and guts in seats, burned pieces of flesh all over the place. Nothing about that: After panning past Saids' eyes the screen becomes bright and white and pure.
At the 55th international film festival in Berlin 2005 "Paradise Now" won the Publikumspreis ("audience award") and the Blue Angle for the best European film.
Transatlantic Intelligencer features Matthias Kuentzel's lucid analysis of Germany's Israel-Palestinian policy under the helm of Joschka Fischer.
...none of the 56 Middle East press releases published by the German Foreign Office between January 2001 and November 2003 contains a single reference to Hamas, Islamic Jihad or Hizbollah. (...)
Astonishingly, the German government has persistently chosen to ignore an element that is all too familiar from Germany's own past: namely, rabid anti-Semitism, such as that which gets continuously expressed by Hamas. It is symptomatic, for instance, that the Hamas Charter has yet to be translated into German. (...)
German foreign policy under the direction of Joschka Fischer has not merely refused to join the battle. It has deliberately turned a blind eye, proceeding as if hating Jews were a normal feature of the Oriental world – like hookahs or mosques. Consequently, the “red-green” government has not treated the militants of Hamas and Islamic Jihad as combatants waging war on Israel. Islamist suicide terror