by jebni on March 22, 2007
Taking stock: I just found some old notes of mine on a screening of Occupied Minds at the Dialogue Under Occupation conference last November. I met the film-makers Jamal Dajani and David Michaelis (a Palestinian/Israeli team) there, and they were great fun.
Basically, it’s an accessible and personal exploration of the occupation that looks at how it’s experienced or enacted by Palestinian and Jewish Israeli communities. Palestinians in the Territories are deliberately portrayed as not necessarily heroic, but yet incredibly stoic. There’s a great sequence where they help an old Palestinian woman through a crack in the Wall, and the poor thing’s really got the shits. When she bitches about “the Jews” deserving “a catastrophe” while her leg’s stuck in a crevice, it’s patently obvious to everyone — including the liberal-apologist Israelis in tonight’s audience — that her apparent “antisemitism” has no real connection to traditional European antisemitism, and that at least in this instance it’s actually quite funny, in a sad and ironic way — because she’s this old lady stuck in a fucking huge Israeli apartheid wall! And yet she crawls through it. Hurray! They also talk to a Jenin resistance fighter who bitterly lost faith in the Israeli Left when his mother was killed by the IDF, and none of her Jewish peacenik friends — whom she had cooked for in her house — even called to see how they were. Fucked up shit.
Given the Palestinian/Israeli setup, it’s refreshing that the film doesn’t try to give “equal weight” to Zionism. A leading left-liberal Israeli intellectual is exposed losing his cool, blurting that Palestinians have no right to set the parameters of debate in his interview, and that this is “what You People always try to do”. They even interview an ultra-Zionist settler leader, whose peace proposal is kicking all the Palestinians out of the Territories AND “OFFERING” THEM JORDAN to resettle in. When Jamal remarks that uh, Jordan ISN’T THEIRS TO OFFER, the guy says that ACTUALLY, IT IS, because they occupied part of it 2000 years ago. He smiles paternalistically. Truly surreal. It’s like Ali G or something.