Monday, November 10, 2014

Geraldine Doogue, Rapt

Seems like Geraldine Doogue just can't get through her Saturday Extra slot on Radio National without some of that good old Israeli PR stuff:

"Israel's surveillance relies almost entirely on human intelligence, primarily Palestinians living in the occupied territories, that are recruited by Israel's secret security service Shin Bet. One of the most notorious cases involves the son of a Hamas founder, 17-year-old Mosab Hassan Yousef, who was recruited in the late 1990s to spy on his own people for over a decade. He was given the code name The Green Prince. And his relationship with his Israeli handler Gonen Itzhak was unconventional to say the least. A new documentary screening in Australia this week brings Mosab Yousef's story to the screen for the first time."  (The Green Prince)


"He was groomed to be a future leader of Hamas," exulted her guest, Israeli film maker Nadav Schirman, "he is a real prince of Hamas."

"The story of [his] relationship [with his handler]," Schirman explained, "is a story of hope, of friendship transcending politics."

Geraldine, of course, gets the wobblies with just about any Israeli guest but how could this one have known about her childhood passion for fairy tales? Spooky!

"When you're in Ramallah," she gushed, "you can see Jerusalem. You can touch it. Now that can be a threat... or an unbelievable possibility."

Back in Jerusalem, knuckle-dragging Jewish mobs may have been combing the streets, baying for Arab blood, but nothing could penetrate the charmed circle inhabited by Geraldine and her guest at the RN studio here in Sydney.

"We [colonising Israelis and colonised Palestinians, that is] are very close," he rhapsodised, "sons and daughters of the same region."


Incredibly, Geraldine managed to shake the spell just long enough to venture the following observation:  

"We, my producer and I, were intrigued by the psychological profile of Mosab himself and we didn't necessarily feel your film asked all those questions about whether this man was a stable man. He did this betrayal of his own people. As he said: 'To work for Israel is worse than raping your own mother' so he did this amazing betrayal and I still couldn't quite understand why."

Which led to the following extraordinary riff by Schirman, so extraordinary that I am compelled to interrupt with a succession of reality checks where required lest Shin Bet HQ be inundated with half-witted Hamas terrorists hammering on its door and demanding some of what Mosab's on. Oh, and also because the lovely Geraldine was obviously so smitten the last thing that would have occurred to her was to interrupt his flow with a question - if you know what I mean:

"This is at the heart of the film because when you talk to Shin Bet agents and handlers, motivation, why would somebody work for Israel? Why would a source betray their own people and work for the enemy? That's the motivation... Motivation is something that evolves over time so that there's not one reason why Mosab did it... Now when you see the film... you'll see that his first motivation was revenge. He said, 'Yes, I'll work for the Israelis because I wanna kill one.' Then he's sent to prison as part of his cover and then he realises Hamas is torturing their own people for no reason..."

Right, so its Hamas, not Shin Bet, that does the torturing. So glad we got that one right.

"... so he's confused because he grew up to be a prince in Hamas..."

Notice how what began as a code word has taken on a life of its own with Schirman.

"... and then he goes to meet the Shin Bet again expecting them to be manipulating him but no, they're like, no listen, you've gotta be a good student, you've gotta respect your parents, you've gotta be a good Muslim, pray 5 times a day, you've gotta finish your school, and he's confused but he's very curious."

Sucked in!

"You have to understand Mosab grew up in a devout Muslim family. The first time he saw a movie was when he was 22. All he knew was Islam, and all of a sudden the Shin Bet handlers are teaching him about democracy, the rule of law, they're teaching him about the constitution... about philosophy."

Schirman's tripping here.

Democracy? For Palestinians?  
The rule of law? For Palestinians?  
The constitution? Israel doesn't have one FFS!
Philosophy? Give me a break!

"His mind is expanding so he's learning a lot..."

Now I did say Schirman's tripping, didn't I?

"... and then he's a kid and he gets to play James Bond."

Hang on, I thought he'd been groomed to be a prince? What's this James Bond nonsense? So much for the efficacy of Hamas grooming.

"You know, the Palestinians of the West Bank lived under Israeli occupation so there's a lot of barriers."

This must have come as something of a revelation to Geraldine.

"They can't go everywhere they want but he has a special permit, he can go everywhere. There's freedom, there's power, another motivation. There's the excitement and most important as he grows as a young man internally he comes to understand that he's doing the right thing. He's preventing terror attacks so he's helping not only the Israelis, the Americans, the Australians who happen to be visiting and sitting on a bus and can be blown up."

So Shin Bet dungeon's are really just reform schools for wayward Palestinian youths who didn't know right from wrong until ripped from their beds at 2 pm in the morning by Shin Bet operatives, sorry, educators?

"He's also helping his own people because of the retaliation cycle..."

Palestinians attack, Israelis retaliate, Palestinians attack, Israelis retaliate, Palestinians attack, Israelis retaliate... got that listeners?

"... so he believes he's doing the right thing, and most importantly, I asked him, 'Mosab, how can you sleep under the same roof as your parents and betray them' and he's like 'I was earning money, I was putting food on the table of my family. The fact that I worked for the Israelis kept my father alive. My father was on the kill list. The fact that I collaborated with the Israelis helped keep him alive so am I a traitor or am I helping them?'"

There you go... the only way for a Palestinian youth to get his Dad off the Shin Bet kill list is to agree to inform on him. Right...

"One just has to open their mind and understand him."

Geraldine: Hm...

Seeing Geraldine's completely lost for words, which is kind of unusual for her to say the least, allow me to ask the bleeding obvious of Schirman: Nadav, since Mosab's now shacked up with Israel's bitch, aka the USA, and experimenting with Christianity and yoga,* does that mean Dad's back on the Shin Bet kill list? Oh, and If Israel's so hot, why isn't Mosab living there? Hm?

[*"I believe by daily [yoga] practice every morning and breathing to clear our minds from pollution, from all type of mental intoxications, we are able to handle the challenges of life, the challenges of the mind that we create for ourselves, better." (Mosab Hassan Yousef, quoted in Yoga, Hamas & hope: The story behind The Green Prince, Hannah Brown, The Jerusalem Post, 24/5/14)]


Anonymous said...

Has she ever been Rambammed?

MERC said...

Rambamming is generally not a feature of public broadcasting. I think in D's case it's more a matter of 'Nature abhors a vacuum', if you get my meaning, and certain Israeli interests opportunistically taking advantage of the fact.

MERC said...

I should add that what would be interesting to know is exactly how, for example, this particular 'interview' was set up. Who first contacted who? My guess is that the film was sent to Saturday Extra with an invitation to interview the director.

It would be interesting to see how a doco (or book) of substance on Palestine/Israel plus invitation would be received at Saturday Extra.

Anonymous said...

Geraldine Doogue auto-Rambamed!