Henry Barnes, site editor of theguardian.com/film, recently wrote about Anne Frank: Then and Now “starring Palestinian girls reading from the German-born Jew’s diary” which, quoting Deadline.com, Barnes described as a “clandestine cultural breakthrough” because it was secretly shown in Iran.
According to Barnes it “was filmed during the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict. The film is split between an educational documentary about Frank’s time hiding from the Nazis in occupied Holland and excerpts from the diary acted by two Israelis and eight Palestinian girls, one of whom performs in front of the rubble from an Israeli airstrike.”
The main aim of Croatian director Jakov Sedlar seems to be to “help spread information about the events of the Holocaust in Iran” and Arab countries.
This is a noble aim but why use Palestinian actors in Gaza? Why not just show, for example, Son of Saul which is the most explicit portrayal of the Holocaust imaginable.
Anyone viewing Anne Frank: Then and Now without any knowledge of the Holocaust will be left with the strong impression that the Palestinians are going through the same as the Jews did under the Nazis. The title of the film strongly implies that also.
My experience is that for anti-Israel activists one of their main planks of activism is comparing the Palestinians to the Jews in Nazi Germany and invoking Anne Frank. This tactic is, sadly, ubiquitous.
One of the worst examples was at an event attended by now Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn MP and the then Labour shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter MP where Love Letters to Gaza were read out on stage by actors. Here is a verse from one poem and here’s my clip of it:
“It is not now the Nazi state but Israel that blocks the seas.
It is not Auschwitz that stops the ship that carries hope and messages,
But those that might have died there.”
Then there is Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children that portrays the Jewish people slowly metamorphosing from victims under the Nazis into oppressors of the Palestinians. The play was staged by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign at the Polish Centre in London.
And here is my clip of an activist in parliament saying that Palestinian children are suffering worse than Anne Frank did.
This is par for the course of anti-Israel activism and I have witnessed many more examples of which this film seems to be, sadly, another.
I would like to be proved wrong about Anne Frank: Then and Now. I have not seen it in full. We have been provided with just one clip which the Guardian imbeds into Barnes’ piece. No other British newspaper seems to be highlighting this film, although the Israeli media is writing about its having been shown secretly in Iran.
But, for me, the biggest alarm bells about the film’s veracity are in Deadline.com which Barnes links to:
So David Robb of Deadline.com writes that as a Gazan actor speaks her lines “two men in gas masks run behind her”.
Maybe Robb, or Barnes for that matter, could explain to us the following: how could the cast and crew carry on filming if there was a need for gas masks to be worn by others in their immediate vicinity?