Op-Ed: Exposing Anti-Semitism Through Documentaries
Dr. Manfred GerstenfeldThe writer has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America.He is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism.
“Doc Emet Productions wanted to build a documentary based upon Alan Dershowitz’s best-selling book The Case for Israel, which was published in 2003. We began working on The Case for Israel – Democracy’s Outpost in 2006. At the time there was an unprecedented war of terror against Israel’s civilian population, as well as an escalation of the demonization and delegitimization campaign against it.
“The documentary presents a vigorous case for Israel. It demonstrates Israel’s right to exist as the national homeland of the Jewish people, to protect its citizens from terrorism and to defend its borders from hostile enemies. We felt that a movie would bring this detailed and penetrating analysis of the Arab- Israeli conflict to a broader audience.”
Gloria Greenfield is Founding President of Doc Emet Productions, where she focuses her work on Jewish identity, Jewish peoplehood and the values of freedom and democracy.
“After the film was released in 2008, I began traveling extensively throughout North America engaging Jewish and non-Jewish audiences in post-screening discussions. I made several alarming observations: too many people mistakenly believed that the virulent hatred being expressed toward Israel related to policies and/or territory held by Israel. They falsely thought that the hatred was Israel’s fault and if only Israel would make itself smaller and weaker, the hatred would dissipate.
“Many good and decent people were unaware of the resurgence of lethal anti-Semitism in regions around the world. Consequently, they were unable to see the hatred toward the Jewish state in context. Many were also unaware of the history of complicity of the Islamist movement with the Nazi regime during the Holocaust, as well as the Islamists’ stated intent after the fall of the Nazi regime to continue Hitler’s work.
“The Case for Israel – Democracy’s Outpost was translated into Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. It is still screening around the world in theaters, university and college campuses, parliaments, community centers, churches and synagogues. It has been broadcast by the Israel Broadcasting Authority throughout the Middle East, by Telemadrid in Spain and local stations in Latin America and the United States.
“Due to the reactions to the film, I realized one had to move away from the defensive stance of ‘making the case’ for Israel’s right to exist. It was time to take an offensive position. An examination and exposé was needed of the lethal Jew hatred behind state-sanctioned calls to wipe Israel off the map and to murder Jews wherever they could be found.
“I then began a second documentary, Unmasked Judeophobia. It opens with a statement by Elie Wiesel saying, ‘Since 1945 I was not as afraid as I am now. I'm afraid because anti-Semitism that I thought belonged to the past, somehow survived. I was convinced in '45 that anti-Semitism had died with its Jewish victims at Auschwitz and Treblinka, but I see, no, the Jews perished but anti-Semitism in some parts of the world is flourishing.’ I felt this text set the appropriate tone for the film. Jew hatred is the plague of humanity, the cancerous disease that not only has the potential to murder all Jews, but also has the potential to destroy civilization.
Elie Wiesel:..the Jews perished but anti-Semitism in some parts of the world is flourishing...
“Unmasked Judeophobia was released on October 24, 2011 at the Paris Theater in New York City. Since then it has been screening throughout North America, South Africa, and Israel in similar venues as The Case for Israel – Democracy’s Outpost. Unmasked Judeophobia has recently begun to screen in the United Kingdom and Australia. It is currently being translated into Arabic, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish and will begin its Latin American and European tour in the winter of 2012/13.”
Greenfield remarks: “The film is dense and intense. It is not uncommon for the audience to feel both shaken awake, yet grateful for becoming more informed. Usually, the audience ends up asking for an action plan. Doc Emet Productions is now releasing With Clarity and Courage: The Companion Activist Guide to Unmasked Judeophobia. It is authored by Anna Kolodner and will be available for downloading at no charge at www.unmaskedthemovie.com
"With Israeli audiences, there is a tendency to express frustration with the political leadership. The audience perceives insufficient governmental strategic thinking and action in response to the resurgence of lethal Jew hatred and the treatment of Israel as ‘the Jew among the nations.’
“My next film project will examine the centrality of the land of Israel to Jewish identity along with the genesis of Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. The roots of Zionism are Lekh Le’kha, God’s calling to Abraham to leave his native land and his father’s house for the land that God would show him.”