19 November 2003

We just got home from a presentation at the university of HonestReporting's Relentless.
This is a VERY important documentary about the Oslo process that also in the end puts the situation in the context of global jihad. It began as a PowerPoint presentation and now is a full fledged documentary. It explains step by step what was agreed to in the Oslo agreements, what was lived up to and what was not -- and then it goes on to show the incitement and double talk of Arafat in actual footage from Palestinian television. This is all stuff we knew and had seen before on Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI. Scenes from Palestinian summer camps and Gaza schools were shown. (Internet Haganah got its start because of a Gaza kindergarten -- we happened across a website showing pictures of a Gaza kindergarten's grooming of innocent children to hate and kill, which prompted a long discussion and an email to the site's hosting provider.) Violence and violent rhetoric, hate filled Friday kuthbas broadcast on PA TV, children reciting poems and singing about their own deaths, textbooks glorifing death for children and showing maps with no Israel. As I said this is all stuff we had seen before, and yet it is gripping and painful to see it on a TV screen.
Unfortunately, of the small crowd, not everyone stayed all the way through the film. Everyone who considered themselves on the left either didn't bother to show up (thus the small crowd) or left early. This is too bad. One of the people that left was Israeli and I think her friend was Palestinian, although she didn't introduce her so I can only guess it is someone she talked about before. I wish they had stayed and given us more of their perspective. I would LOVE to hear a convincing argument why I shouldn't worry about Arafat's 2 faces, why the teaching of hate to children is not a problem. I am wide open to an alternative way to see it, but if people leave and don't engage in constructive conversation, then we get nowhere. One person did stay until the end and begin to participate in a talk. She brought up the recent idea of dismantling Israel, moving all Israelis someplace else. The reaction was a lot of shaking heads and "Where would we go? Germany? France? Detroit?" There was just shaking heads, it's not like anyone raised their voice, and yet this person became uncomfortable and left. Can we really be that scary?
I'm afraid the small turnout and the people walking out is a sign of the polarization happening in our town. Everyone can only bear to talk about this issue with people that already agree with them, and when we are at synagogue, or learning Yiddish, or see each other at a restaurant, we just ignore the elephant in the room.
HonestReporting has a goal to get a million people to see this documentary and they are already up to 500,000. They would like for you to order the video and show it to friends and family at home. From their site:
Host private showings of Relentless for the purposes of raising individual awareness of the situation in Israel and encourage others to become active in this campaign.
For more information or assistance running an effective Home Group contact: HonestReporting Director or Programming Scott Mathias at 877-354-7677 (toll free) or scott@HonestReporting.com
We will send you a DVD or VHS video (you pay $10US plus shipping and handling fee), if you have hosted or will host a 'Home Group' screening of "Relentless". All you have to do is download and fill out the Home Group Promotion Form and e-mail it to scott@honestreporting.com and we will send you your free copy of "Relentless". You will find the Home Group Promotion Form in the Home Group section of our website.
If you would like to become more involved with HonestReporting's Home Group campaign please see our Home Group City Coordinator document.

This is a powerful documentary, it's made to have an impact, and because of the violence shown it's not recommended for children (HonestReporting says not under 18 but I feel a more realistic limit would be not under 12 or 10 depending on how much the child has been exposed to and can handle; it would probably frighten younger children).
It's terribly important for as many people as possible to see this. The trailer can be seen here in windows media or quicktime.