Other than being beaten up for being Jewish – something he then chose to deny in order to avoid getting hurt again – he had no connection to the religion until he married his second wife (the first was Catholic). His four children from his second marriage all became b’nai mitzvah and they celebrate Jewish holidays – but he said that was because of their mother. And then in 2010 Hoffman narrated a documentary “Jews and Baseball.”
Of course, the fact that Hoffman is giving an award to the Arab Palestinian “filmmaker” of the “documentary” “5 Broken Cameras,” is even more delicious for those seeking to demonize Israel. What a thrill to use a very Jewish-looking and -sounding Hollywood icon to make the presentation.
The film, “5 Broken Cameras,” has a plot as thin as pita bread. You already know the plot, even if you’ve never heard of the movie: Israelis are very bad, they violently wrest away the land and the dignity from the poor victimized Arab Palestinians. That’s the story, in a nutshell.
If you want more specifics, “5 Broken Cameras,” chronicles the weekly protests by the Arabs who live in the village of Bil’in, next to which, in 2005, part of Israel’s security fence was erected. That’s right, the security fence which has been credited with shutting down the horrific nightmare of homicide bombings that murdered and injured thousands of human beings – Jews, Arabs and Christians – before it was erected.
The five cameras refer to ones owned by the amateur filmmaker and Bil’in villager Emad Burnat – he’s the one getting the award from Hoffman – who purchased them in order to document the “horrors” of the Israeli encroachment (although some accounts claim the cameras were purchased for the birth of Burnat’s first and then subsequent children).
Burnat recorded the weekly “nonviolent” activities held by the villagers and international agitators who join them to protest the fence. He claims that all five cameras were broken by the Israelis responding to the weekly nonviolent protests against what they call the “Apartheid Wall.”
But the protesters portrayed in “5 Broken Cameras” were revealed as frauds even before the Hollywood crowd took a shine – it was nominated for an Academy Award – to the film. For those who maintain a vigilant watch on news reports about the Arab-Israeli conflict, Bil’in is known for a very different kind of revelation – it is one of the few times the pro-Israel side was able to capture – dead to rights – the Arab Palestinians in a flat out lie.
Jawaher abu Rahma was an Arab woman who lived in Bil’in. In late December, 2010, spilling on into 2011, news reports from dozens of mainstream media outlets claimed that abu Rahma was killed by the Israelis who threw tear gas at the “nonviolent” protesters near the Bil’in part of the security fence. Those outlets got the information from the protesters lionized in Burnat’s film.
How awful. Except that it turned out abu Rahma, who died in a Ramallah Hospital on December 31, 2010, died as the result of medical malpractice at the hospital, completely unrelated to any tear gas. In fact, abu Rahma wasn’t even at the protest that day. A film about how Jawaher abu Rahma actually died, who exploited her death, and why the lies about it weren’t considered news is a film that never will – but should be – made. Would Hoffman present an award to the maker of such a film?
Last month an Israeli NGO representing hundreds of IDF soldiers and reservists, Consensus, filed a letter with Israel’s Attorney General. Consensus wants charges filed against the makers of “5 Broken Cameras” for incitement and slander.
“We can prove how the film was edited, clip after clip, shot after shot, to the point where it has no connection to reality,” the letter from Consensus explains. “The film is ultimately baseless, false and absurd, and as far from reality as east is from west.”
So, in the end, Dustin Hoffman with his honking nasal voice and Semitic nose may be emulating the pattern of the mindless good-looking movie stars against whom he rose as the iconic non-handsome, non-sexy male movie star of the counter-culture years.