Thursday April 17, 2014
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17.04.2014
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Israeli director beaten unconscious outside film festival
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Ruthie Blum

Through a lens darkly

Members of the Israeli Left were disappointed with the results of the 85th Academy Awards last month. Two home-grown documentaries depicting Israel in a terrible light were passed over for the Oscars. Yes, it was a sad day for all those Israeli and Palestinian activists who had been rooting for "Five Broken Cameras" and "The Gatekeepers" to bring home the gold from Hollywood.

It was equally irritating for the rest of us, but not because the films lost; we were actually happy about that. But we were sorry that even a fraction of our tax shekels contributed to such slimy endeavors in the first place. Freedom of expression is one thing; public funding for projects geared at biting the hand that feeds them is quite another.

So I regret to say that a different Israeli work of "art" providing a pro-Palestinian perspective did win an international award this week — two, if you count the award it garnered for its musical score, written by singer/song writer Assaf Amdursky. The movie, "Rock the Casbah," won the Special Prize of the Jury for Best Picture at a film festival in Aubagne, France.

I also have to admit to the less-than-dignified guffaw I let loose in response to what happened to director Yariv Horowitz immediately following the screening of the film: He was physically assaulted by a gang of Arab youths.

This was not due to the content of the film, mind you, which was nothing if not sympathetic to the plight of "poor Palestinians" at the hands of their "corrupt occupiers." Nor was it due to Horowitz's behavior or beliefs. Indeed, had the angry bullies cared about such things, they would have hailed Horowitz as a kindred spirit.

But Horowitz as an ally was of no interest to the anti-Semitic thugs. What they knew was that he was a Jew and an Israeli. This was sufficient cause to knock him unconscious.

After being treated at the scene, Horowitz was well enough to return to the festival, just in time to win his award.

This is not the only example of Israelis with impeccable left-wing credentials being shunned by their like-minded counterparts abroad. Academic boycotts of Israeli professors also point to this pathetic phenomenon. Like the art world, academia is a sector that can be relied upon to side with its country's detractors. Yet, this does not guarantee immunity for even the most pro-Palestinian Israeli lecturers.

Another Israeli group that has experienced similar "injustice" is the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender community. Though its affiliates tend to lean far to the left — and rally around Palestinian society, in spite of its blatant abuse of LGBTs — it was banned from participating in the 2010 Gay Pride parade in Madrid. Some participants in an LGBT gathering in the U.S. walked out in protest when they discovered that the Israeli contingent had received some of its funding for the trip from the Foreign Ministry. Gasp! The "occupation" paid for fellow gays to come to our conference? Nothing doing, Nelly.

What this goes to show, for the millionth time, is that ill will and stupidity are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, the Israeli radicals are foolish for assuming that their ideology makes them any less Jewish in the eyes of the enemy.

The blanket boycotters are equally idiotic. The clever anti-Zionists are those who grasp the great benefits of having Israeli leftists leading the campaign to delegitimize the Jewish state. Hostile elements with any brains know that putting the likes of Horowitz in the spotlight by giving him a prize is much more useful than punching his lights out.

Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.'"

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