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September 01, 1989 - Image 36

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

BACKGROUND

CONGREGATION BETH ACHIM

and

THE DETROIT FRIENDS OF
BAR-ILAN UNIVERSITY

cordially invite you to attend our

SHADDAT DINNER

honoring

RONALD S.
HARRIS

Immediate
Past President of
Congregation
Beth Achim

on

Friday, September 15, 1989, 7 P.M.

Adults
Children (under 12)
$22.00
$12.00
The celebration will also include
our Weekend Scholar:

PROFESSOR GERSHON WINER

Rena Costa Professor of Yiddish Language
and Literature, Bar-Han University
Professor Winer will speak
at the following times:

Friday Evening:

"TEACHING YIDDISH AND YIDDISHKEIT
IN THE SOVIET UNION"

Shabbat Sermon

"THE ZIONIST DREAM AND ISRAEL REALTY"

Shabbat Luncheon

"THE HUMOR OF SHOLEM ALEICHEM AS A
VEHICLE FOR A JEWISH WORLD OUTLOOK"

Adults
Children (under 12)
$7.00
$3.50
PLEASE RESPOND TO THE SYNAGOGUE OFFICE
BY SEPTEMBER 8TH AT 352-8670

Congregation Beth Achim

21100 West 12 Mile Road, Southfield

ABRAHAM GAMER
President
Congregation Beth Achim

DOREEN HERMELIN
BERNARD STOLLMAN
Chairmen
Detroit Friends of Dor ion University

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36 FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 1989

Waliwattettts
A Palestinian youth protesting in Days of Rage.

Days Of Misguided Propaganda

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA

Special to The Jewish News

T

here is good propagan-
da and there is bad
propaganda. By this, I
am not referring to the
specific issue or ideology that
a piece of propaganda may be
shilling. Rather, I am referr-
ing to the artfulness which
informs a work of propagan-
da. A good piece of propagan-
da, an altogether crafty piece
of propaganda is disarming,
persuasive, compelling,
riveting. It may not be jour-
nalism (which prides itself on
a modicum of "balance"), but
it can be art.
Into this category comes the
work of Sergei Eisenstein,
whose films glorified Russian
history, the World War II
documentaries of John
Huston, and even Leni
Rienfenstahl's Triumph of the
Will, the film Hitler ordered
to celebrate, to almost sanc-
tify, his Third Reich. There is
a power to these films that
transcends their political
messages. Regardless of a
viewer's ideology, one is
almost compelled to watch
them. One is pulled toward
them as one is pulled toward
a sumptuous meal: Hungry or
not, on Weight Watchers or
not, the banquet appeals
more to the senses than to
common sense. Eat, eat, and
let gluttony (or, in the case of
Triumph of the Will, un-
mitigated evil) be damned.
Days of Rage: The Young
Palestinians, which will be
broadcast Wednesday at 9
p.m. on Maryland Public
Television (channels 67 and
22) is not such a film. The
90-minute film is the cor-
nerstone — and also the
raison d'etre — of a special
two-and-a-half PBS- show, "In-
tifada: The Palestinians and

Israel." Hosted by journalist
Hodding Carter, the other
components_ of "Intifada" are
two brief films about Israel's
reaction to the human rights
dilemma posed by the in-
tifada and many Israelis' con-
tention that the West Bank
and Gaza are indispensable
for national security.
The three films are follow-
ed by a 40-minute discussion
about them and the Israeli-
Palestinian situation. Panel
members include Seymour
Reich, president of the B'Nai
B'rith International, James
Zogby, executive director,
Arab-American Institute, and
Richard Murphy, a retired
U.S. career diplomat and
senior fellow for Middle East
studies at the Council on
Foreign Relations.
There is little that is com-
pelling about Days of Rage
and little that is new. The
film is a potpourri of Palesti-
nian grievances and gripes
often heard before. Not that
this makes Days of Rage any
less of a valid political state-
ment. Palestinians, like
Israelis or Peruvians or the
French or anyone else, are
certainly entitled to their own
perspectives and their own ef-
forts to persuade others of the.
rightfulness of their cause.
But the sheer predictability of
Days of Rage, its avoidance of
the subtleties of the Middle
East, its distortion of history,
its skirting of important
realities make the film
tendentious and tiresome.
This is regrettable. It is im-
portant for Americans to hear
the story of the Palestinians,
just as it important they they
hear the story of the Israelis.
Resolving the Middle East
quagmire is impossible
without complete testimony
and a full set of honest facts.
Or, at least, what passes for

facts in that most contentious
of regions.
But there is little that is
honest about Days of Rage. It
presents the Israelis as un-
mitigated monsters who
derfve psychopathic satisfac-
tion from beating Palestinian
youngsters and bulldozing
homes in the West Bank and
Gaza of suspected par-
ticipants in the intifada. It
doesn't avow the key role of
Palestinian kids in the in-
tifada, how they pester and
provoke and stone Israeli
soldiers, how they are, in ef-
fect, the shock troops of the
insurrection. The closest the
film comes to even
acknowledging what the kids
are up to comes when one
leader of the intifada, his face
swathed in a kaffiyeh so he
won't be recognized by Israeli
authorities, says young
Palestinians entice Israeli
soldiers into an area and then
stone them.
But as one participant in
the panel discussion, Alan
Keyes, a former Assistant
Secretary of State, says in
reference to such stoning,
"What? Stone them to death?
That says that what we have
here is not what it presents
itself to be. Is this [the in-
tifada] a manipulated
phenomenon? Is this a spon-
taneous phenomenon? None
of this is explained. It is a
piece of work that does a
disservice to the viewer."
More than the viewer gets
short shrift from Days of
Rage. The film does the same
with history. The film devotes
about 1/90th of its 90 minutes
to the historical roots to the
Arab-Israeli conflict. These
are not only among the more
superficial ever given a con-
troversy which has been the
subject of thousands of books,
they are also among the more

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