Tuesday 14 May 2019

Warning. Knee-jerk review.

One Day in Gaza. (Warning. Knee-jerk review.)

How can I review this programme as objectively as, say, Carol Midgley of The Times does?  
Midgley is clearly ready willing and able to take “One day in Gaza” at face value. It’s easy for her. She views it as - literally - “one day” in Gaza. Representing the average viewer, she sees this documentary as a straightforward 24-hour slice of life and death. That’s it. Free from unnecessary baggage (context, history, and tribal affiliation) she has it taped. 

Hampered by the disadvantage of partiality, I’m finding it harder to see it her way. The film was tipped as ‘two-sided”. The previews promised “film from both sides” and it did indeed show some footage filmed by the IDF.  But were the two sides the Palestinian side and the Israeli side?

No. Not really. However, the ‘two’ sides we did see were revelatory in their own way.  On the one hand, there were ordinary Palestinians, the ’peaceful protesters’ and heroic, self-sacrificing freedom fighters. On the other hand, and “for the first time” we were given a glimpse of what lay behind the project, including Hamas’s  Yahya “We will  Tear Out Their Hearts” Sinwar.
So, here’s the revelation. The Great March of Return wasn’t merely a spontaneous uprising as it’s often portrayed by the western media; an irrepressible boiling-over by the unbearably oppressed and suppressed. 

For Carol Midgley ”Its strength was in talking to both sides and drawing out the miserable complexities.” Yes, that would have been a strength, had they genuinely talked to both sides. But they did not. In fact, the bulk of the film represents a sympathetic portrait of Palestinian victims - the wounded, the bereaved, the impassioned and the deluded. A nod towards balance takes the form of a brief clip or two of IDF spokespersons being questioned by a disembodied and obviously hostile British voice. 
“One Palestinian man said that the Israel Defence Forces used the march, on the day the new US embassy opened in Jerusalem, as an excuse to open fire.”
But surely the underlying premise of this documentary was “The Embassy” - that moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem (which the Palestinians “want” for their capital) was enough of a provocation to validate the whole Great March.  The film’s crass and clumsy juxtaposition of the wealthy, self-satisfied Trump entourage, filmed from a distance, next to the beleaguered Palestinian people who had been cruelly deprived of their Right of Return was surely intended to convey a powerful filmic message.
“A man whose brother died said: “If you shoot at someone’s head you intend to kill not scare or deter.” (Apparently 90 per cent of those hit were shot in the legs.)”
A young freedom fighter was filmed at length speaking with passion and fire. Eventually, the camera panned out to show ….Da-da! …..the lower part of one of his legs was missing. Poignant, maybe. Original? Not so much. More of a cliche. An overused filmic device. Aren’t I mean? Well, maybe, but people with more extensive injuries have been known to run marathons. Hamas! Get that man a prosthetic!

The voice-over was particularly emotive. The accent. The diction. I looked it up just to make sure he wasn’t from the PSC. (Not sure, but don’t think so)

I saw it as yet another ‘dead baby’ style shocker. A profusion of gore and guts. The IDF was depicted as disingenuous and inhumane. They ‘claimed’ stuff. They made feeble excuses, you know the drill.

Let’s look at it another way for a moment. What kind of film would these filmmakers have made if the Great March of Return had been ‘successful’? Say the IDF suddenly decided to prioritise its international image, and to wait till a few hearts had actually been torn out before applying resistance? 

What if the Israeli government decided to cave in to international pressure and open the borders completely? Say they granted the right of return to the millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants and Israel became another Muslim majority country. What kind of film would it be then? 

What if that nice lady’s kitchen had been invaded by a mob of knife-wielding “Palestinian youths with anger burning in their hearts?” Would they film blood splattered all over her nice wooden worktop with as much relish?

I hope I don’t ever find out.

When is a Jew not a Jew?
Oh yes, I forgot to mention - as David Collier says, throughout the film the translation of what could distinctly be heard as “Yehud” appeared in the subtitles as “Israeli.”
Why would they do that?


  1. Sounds like the usual biased trash. I wouldn't take any film on Gaza seriously unless it analysed Hamas origins and its hate-filled, racist charter, Palestinian TV martyrdom indoctrination of children (the suicide bunny - remember?), and terror attacks over the border in Israel. I'd also like some serious history on Gaza.

    Israel is not above criticism, but as long as the Palestinian people and its representatives are intent on eradicating UN member state Israel and committing a major genocide there, there can be no peace.

  2. I would question whether the average Western viewer even knows that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and that it is a self-governing Palestinian territory.

    1. Terry, they certainly wouldn't know that if they rely on mainstream 'media' like the BBC and CNN.

    2. Agreed. The reporting is so generalised as to lead to that misleading impression. To describe an armed attempt to cross the (internationally recognised) border into Israel as a "protest" is really not conducive to understanding either.

  3. Sue, I have no doubt this is your usual incisive and well-informed comment on the Israeli-Arab conflict (of which the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is of course just one aspect).

    It's ironic that I cannot watch the documentary, living as I do about 80 km from Gaza, since the BBC will not show it to me even though I am affected by its habitual anti-Israel propaganda.

    I've no doubt that The BBC did not speculate on why the Gaza terrorist leadership, with its iron control over every aspect of life there, would allow children to take part in that 'demonstration.'

    People like your good self know the answer to that question.

    I'm wondering whether the BBC threw a couple of crumbs of honest evaluation of the events of that day to the British public it tries so hard to indoctrinate:

    Did the documentary mention that the billowing clouds of black smoke came from tires lit by terrorists as cover to break through the fence in order to murder Israel civilians? I've seen video of a 'demonstrator' hacking away at the fence with what looked like a machete to try to get through.

    Years ago I stumbled on a BBC audio report on a march on the Ciskei 'homeland' by the ANC shortly before the fall of Apartheid led, among others, by Ronnie Kasrils - who went on to become Security Minister in the ANC government - and Cyril Ramaphosa. This was not a peaceful march by people waving colourful placards but a mob intent on overthrowing the Ciskei government.

    How did the BBC describe them? You got it, as 'demonstrators.'

    Every time we hear from BBC 'reporters' about events somewhere on the planet involving 'militants' and demonstrators' we know what they really mean.

    1. Thanks, and no, there was no explanation of the billowing black smoke, nor was there any serious analytical background other than a superficial description of the build-up to the GMoR, but I don’t think the film claimed to be anything more than a snapshot, as per the title: “One Day”.

      What I did think was particularly false was the claim that the documentary was pitched “from both sides”. The reality is that it used the customary 'sympathetic/empathetic' approach to the one side, and the ‘arm’s length’, perfunctory treatment of the other.

      The Palestinians featured were highly personalised, if you like, whereas the Israelis were solely represented by the military, bar one particular Israeli lady - and I’m sorry to say they made her look jarringly “I’m alright, Jack” as she sat in her upmarket kitchen as though it was a million miles from any trouble.

      They did feature a couple of one-to-ones with Hamas leaders, but their disingenuousness was blunted by the absence of context and background, making their resentment look almost plausible, and all but justifying their incitement of their own civilian victims and casualties.

      Surely there is a way for you to access the film? Get it sent to you in a text message or something?

  4. A development - seems the BBC were indulging in their own trick of translating Arabic saying "Jew" as "Israeli"...you can see why they do it.


  5. Sue, I responded to your response to my post on the open thread.

    Monkey Brains, yes, I saw that. The only question is whether the BBC is being misled by 'interpreters' or whether it knows only too well that Yahud refers to Jews. I suspect the latter and if that is the case, it is beyond disgusting.

    1. TrueToo,
      See my reply on the open thread - and my new post.


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