Even if it is, Dror Moreh focuses only on Israel’s failed perfection, questionable morality. His focus is tight and narrow. If Israel is not “perfect” then it does not deserve to survive is the unspoken morality here. He has Shin Bet directors describing Israel’s actions as “cruel,” German-like, the government as “winning the battles but losing the war,” and as worse, much worse. This filmmaker still fervently believes in the Oslo Accords. He does not seem to understand how much Arafat was offered and what he refused, that instead, he launched the Second Intifada.
Moreh does not tell us—not even once—that the Palestinians, (really, the Arabs who were once Egyptians, Syrians, and Jordanians and who historically never thought of themselves as “Palestinians”), kept refusing to become a state, insisting all the while that their goal was to exterminate the Jewish entity in the otherwise entirely judenrein Arab Middle East.
Almost in passing, Moreh does give us this one chilling admission. A Palestinian counterpart to one of the Shin Bet heads is quoted as having said: “To us, victory means you suffering.” And after fifty years when the suffering has balanced out—when your F-16s are equal to our suicide killers then…..”the speaker goes no further.
Moreh only used a very small percentage of the time he spent with Shalom, Diskin, Peri, Gillon, and two other Shin Bet directors. Some directors feel, (this is their words), that they were hung out to dry, stopped from doing their job (by the politicians), blamed, not thanked–but even this is hard to be conclusive about because we don’t know what else they said and what the context was for the quotes Moreh chose to use. The film is well made, tense, dramatic, with faked (“Pallywood” style) recreations and real black and white footage. Of course, the film reviews are adoring and filled with admiration. The film has been nominated for an Academy award. What courage Moreh has demonstrated! But not really: He represents a very trendy point of view, both on the upper west side and in Tel Aviv. This is the kind of film the French (who sheltered Arafat in so many ways) sponsored. This film confirms the European view that Israel is evil, wrong, engages in ethnic cleansing and apartheid. And yet, an Israeli filmmaker could make such a film and Shin Bet directors could talk to him, perhaps saying things they should not have said. No one is in jail. No one has been assassinated.
I am waiting for a Palestinian filmmaker to make a comparable film, one that exposes the Muslim-on-Muslim violence, corruption and culture of torture; one that exposes the Muslim-on-Christian violence that has sent Arab Christians running to Jewish Israel for cover; one that exposes the handler’s ruthless manipulation of a psychologically vulnerable suicide killer-to-be; one that exposes the Arab League decision not to allow a single Palestinian to become a citizen in any Arab country but instead, to rot in villas, palaces, and “refugee camps,” infernal, eternal fodder against the Jewish presence in the Middle East.
People were relatively quiet as they filed out of the movie theatre. It was as if they had just had a religious experience; their every prejudice confirmed somehow elevated them. To the extent to which this film is accurate I salute it. To the extent to which it is false, defamatory, biased, exaggerated — I consider it suicidal and traitorous.
Afterword: I have just read the excellent piece by Rick Richman in the New York Sun which was just posted online. In his review of this film, Richman points out that four of these same former Shin Bet directors were the men who had previously gone on record castigating Sharon’s “settlement” policy. Sharon caved and pulled out of Gaza, which resulted in Hamastan right next door.