Yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald review of a new French? Israeli? French-Israeli? film due for release this Thursday in Sydney really had me squirming:
"The Other Son is a film that poses a potent question: what happens when two Middle Eastern youths - one Jewish, the other Palestinian - discover they have been accidentally switched as babies during a Gulf War air raid? As Joseph prepares to join the Israeli army for national service, he learns he is actually the son of a Palestinian family from the West Bank."* (Middle East fairy story a tale of faith tolerance, Garry Maddox)
So the Middle East conflict boils down to... religious intolerance? Oh really...?
"In shock, he wonders if he has to trade his skull cap for a suicide bomb."
Jeeesus! You're kidding me, right?
"Like Yacine, who has been living in tougher conditions in the West Bank..."
Never use the 'O'(ccupation) word if you can possibly avoid it!
"Director Lorraine Levy... says... 'I'm Jewish... But I profoundly respect Arabs, Christians, Buddhists - that's the way I was raised. I'm always completely flabergasted when some people reject others just because of their beliefs. For me that's just as crazy and stupid as during the Middle Ages when people who were heretics were burned'."
OK, Lorraine, if you're flabergasted by the idea of people rejecting others because they have different beliefs, what about the idea of people rejecting others because their mums aren't Jewish?
Come on, you're an adult. Surely you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about Israel's bizarro Law of Return, which allows you, for example, to migrate to Israel because your mother's Jewish but gives the thumbs down to the return of all those Palestinian Muslims and Christians (and their kids and their kids) who were booted out in 1948 and 1967.
What say you? Crazy? Stupid? Medieval? Flabergasting?
"Levy is philosophical... 'Despite all the hatred embedded in centuries of history, I wanted to do something."
Hello? Centuries? Does the year 1917 mean anything to you?
And that embedded hatred rubbish, why do I suspect you really mean embedded Palestinian/Arab hatred? As in: the Palestinians are just the latest in a long line of vicious, Jew-hating mongrels stretching back to the pharaohs.
Is that your 'understanding' of the conflict? And you're going to do something about it?!
Listen, I've got a great idea. Why not read a decent book on the subject first?
In French? No problem. I've got just the one for you, not too long: Israel: A Colonial-Settler State? (1973) by Maxime Rodinson:
"Those who automatically classify all the Arab movements and regimes as fascist simply because they are opposed to Israel are spreading an erroneous and deeply harmful conception of the problem. Similarly, all those who hold to legends about a gratuitous hatred of Arabs for Jews... are misleading themselves and others. If there is indeed hatred that often exceeds all bounds... it is all based on an objective reality for which the Zionist leaders are responsible: the colonization of a foreign land." (p 94)
"The only way forward in this conflict, I believe, is through a reasoned approach and compromise - with each party receiving a part of what they're entitled to."
Right! The only way.
So what exactly is each party entitled to, Lorraine?
What are the colons entitled to? And what the colonized?
What are the occupiers entitled to? And what the occupied?
What are the ethnic cleansers entitled to? And what the ethnically cleansed?
Oh, and do spell out those compromises while you're at it.
Don't be shy. You've bought into the issue with your film so we're entitled to know where you're really coming from, non?
[*So Palestinian women from the Israeli occupied West Bank were having babies in maternity wards in Israel at the time? Really...? And by "Gulf War air raid," I take it that Maddox means Saddam Hussein's Scud missile attacks on Tel Aviv in 1991.]