The third piece on CIF in two weeks appeared today about the film Defamation – they sure are milking it for all it’s worth (which isn’t much at all…..)
This time it’s the film maker Yoav Shamir responding to David Hirsh’s critique (maybe he will also respond to the ‘open letter’ on CiFWatch – if he is reading this we promise to publish what he writes). He starts off by completely misunderstanding (maybe deliberately) Hirsh’s point that he ‘chooses mainly easy targets’. Shamir responds that “all the subjects are people who willingly chose to participate” but that’s not the point at all. Hirsh means that instead of focusing on any number of vicious antisemitic incidents (the murder of the Holtzbergs in Mumbai, or of Ilan Halimi, or of Daniel Pearl, or the Aftonbladet libel) Shamir shines his forensic light on his 94-year old grandmother, the ADL (despite its goodwill in giving him free rein of the organisation and allowing him to accompany them on international missions) and a group of Israeli High School children visiting Auschwitz.
Next we get our old CIF pal, ‘argument by assertion’. Shamir assures us that supporters of Nordau and Herzl, the early 19th century Zionists, ‘represented less than 3% of the entire Jewish population at the time’. Er …. how on earth does he know a figure?
Remember, this is a man who admitted in the film that he has never experienced antisemitism: “Being an Israeli Jew I have never experienced antisemitism myself”. He shows how little he knows by asserting that Israel “was supposed to be a cure for what antisemitism started”. Of course it wasn’t – how can the creation of a state ‘cure’ racism? By the same argument his assertion that Israel has “ended up generating antisemitism” is just stupid – and a non sequitur over what has gone before. On the one hand, he recognises that antisemitism predates Israel; on the other he blames Israel for causing antisemitism.
Having been given the run of ADL, now Shamir says he “totally disagrees with it”. So it took all that time as an intern to decide that? And he had an open mind before? Pull the other one, Yoav!
Then he describes a game the ADL members play, when they have to identify non-Jewish friends who would hide them if it proved necessary. We get the inevitable sneer: “I am happy to say that, at least in my Tel Aviv social circle, this is not a very popular game.” Well so what? What does that prove, apart from the fact that few Israelis – like Shamir – have experienced antisemitism.
Now comes the disingenousness: “I am a filmmaker who simply gave them the floor”. Pull the other one! So he had nothing to do with selecting Finkelstein, Walt, Mearsheimer and Avneri?
And more sneering: “Abe Foxman stated that antisemitism was the worst since the second world war, just as he had said last year and just as he will probably say next year, too”.
Well we have news for him: In Europe (and possibly globally also) it IS the worst since the second world war.