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Anti-Israel documentary made in Israel, NY Times eats it up
Sunday's New York Times carried a lengthy, laudatory piece about an Israeli documentary nominated for an Oscar. It's The Gatekeepers, consisting of interviews with six former Shin Beth internal security chiefs who are squarely at odds with the security policies of their government.
Jodi Rudoren, the Times' Jerusalem bureau chief, calls the film about the former Shin Beth chiefs a "disturbing narrative of their country's occupation of the Palestinian territories since 1967." Which immediately explains why she admires the film, since it assumes, as she seems to, that East Jerusalem, including the Jewish section of the Old City, the Western Wall, and the entire West Bank, are all stolen Palestinian property -- not, mind you, if one were objective, actually "disputed" territory awaiting a negotiated final peace settlement.
The message of the film, Rudoren writes, is that the "occupation is immoral and, perhaps more important, ineffective and that Israel should withdraw from the West Bank as it did from the Gaza Strip in 2005." The film also warns that the prospect of a two-state solution diminishes daily, "threatening the future of Israel as a Jewish democracy."
Which is why it tallies nicely with Rudoren's personal views.
First, because it matches her own didactic insistence on "occupation" -- as if Israel has no business being on previously sovereign Palestinian land. Except that there never existed a Palestinian state that subsequently was deprived of its sovereign rights.
Second, even more telling is a total absence in Rudoren's article of what happened after Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip in 2005: the advent of Hamas "occupation," with its attendant thousands of rockets launched against civilian populations in Israel. Yet, in the face of this history, she and the filmmakers still tout Gaza as a worthy precedent for further peace initiatives, when Gaza actually teaches the opposite.
In Rudoren's weird world -- and one assumes also of the filmmakers -- Gaza withdrawal serves as a model for pulling out from East Jerusalem and the West Bank, not as a cautionary nightmarish reality at Israel's southern doorstep resulting from Ariel Sharon's ill-fated decision to leave Gaza.
Why The Gatekeepers was nominated for an Oscar is no big secret. It fits perfectly with the ultra-dovish views of Hollywood's liberal culture -- an unassailable conviction that "land for peace" is a magic wand to usher in a blissful reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians. It fits Hollywood's political agenda perfectly. Except that history has shown otherwise. Every time Israel ceded land -- wheter in southern Lebanon or in Gaza -- terrorirst groups like Hezb'allah and Hamas took over and converted the land to a launch pad for additional aggression.
Still, with their own naïve insistence on land for peace, it's quite understandable why Rudoren and the Times would readily give the film their seal of approval.
Fortunately, as an indication of the good sense of most Israelis, the film has not drawn long lines at the box office -- despite huge praise from the film critic of Haaretz, another ultra-left paper and a prime source for Rudoren's coverage.
As for loss of reality by former Shin Beth chiefs, it's a free country, and they are entitled to their suicidal prescriptions for the Jewish state. Fortunately, their fellow citizens just repudiated them at the polls. The new Knesset promises to be just as protective of Israel's real security interests as its predecessor -- Rudoren and the Times notwithstanding.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers.