Op-Ed: Homegrown Blood Libels

The world has been outraged at the latest wave of anti-Semitic blood libels in the Arab world. There is the filming of the Czarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as an Egyptian state-run TV "documentary". There is the book by Syrian War Minister Mustafa Tlas about how Jews make Passover matzos out of gentile blood. But in some ways, the worst medieval-blood-libel-on-film
Published: Sunday, November 10, 2002 11:03 PM


The world has been outraged at the latest wave of anti-Semitic blood libels in the Arab world. There is the filming of the Czarist forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as an Egyptian state-run TV "documentary". There is the book by Syrian War Minister Mustafa Tlas about how Jews make Passover matzos out of gentile blood. But in some ways, the worst medieval-blood-libel-on-film of all was made in Israel. It is a movie named "Jenin Jenin", produced by actor/producer Mohammad Bakri. And it is being promoted and coddled by Israel's beautiful leftists.

As we know, Jenin is the focus for much of this year's medieval blood libels, with all the stories about "mass murders" and "war crimes" and "genocide" supposedly perpetrated there by Israeli soldiers. Never mind that it turns out that 20 civilians were killed there in the house-to-house fighting last April, a "mass killing" less than a single bus or restaurant bombing by the PLO and its affiliates (which the Jenin battle happened to be designed to prevent and deter). Nevertheless, despite the United Nation's own commission of inquiry reporting that there was no massacre there at all, the lie is still being promoted by everyone from the BBC to Israel's tenured leftist extremists.

Mohammad Bakri is the cousin of the gang of Bakris that perpetrated a mass murder atrocity this past summer when they planted a suicide bomber on a bus headed to Safed. His new "documentary" film on the battle of Jenin was funded by the PLO. It is being shown to audiences of fawning leftists and is a shoe in at the overseas Let's-Bash-Israel film festivals. And I just know that the Tikkunesque San Francisco Jewish Film Festival will feature it. The Bakri film is the usual tissue of lies one would expect from any follower of Goebbels.

A detailed report, not only on the film but on the ?Jews for a Second Holocaust? who came to view it, is in an interesting Maariv feature this past weekend (Nov 8, 2002). The report is written by audience member Dr. David Zangan, who also happens to have been the medical officer who was serving in Jenin during the battle (or should we say battlette?). The film was shown to a select audience in a closed first screening a few days back at the Jerusalem Cinemateque, an institution owned by the Jerusalem Municipality and paid for by Jerusalem property taxes. At the end of the screening, Dr. Zangan rose to tick off his very long list of lies and inaccuracies in the film. The audience was outraged that the good doctor should speak out about the lies. One creature screamed at him that if he does not accept the film's content at face value, then he does not understand anything at all, and anyhow, how on earth can he be a physician? I guess she had only ever met the communist front group Physicians for Human Rights....

Among the many lies the doctor noted: the PLO head of a hospital claims in the film that the west wing of his hospital was destroyed by the Israeli troops in the battle. Except, the hospital never had any west wing and, in any case, the hospital was never fired on. An old Arab man wails on-screen that he was intentionally shot twice in his legs by marauding Israeli troops. Except, the same Arab was in fact treated by Dr. Zangan at the end of the battle for some scratches and was not shot at all. There are reports of deaths of nonexistent babies in the film. There is a report of a Fatah terrorist rescuing a shot baby by opening its throat with his finger in a way that any doctor knows is impossible to do. The film reports mass graves that no UN observers or any other Israel-bashers were ever able to find. The film claims Israeli planes bombed Jenin. A complete lie. And so on and so on.

Bakri himself was never in Jenin at all during the fighting, but simply showed up afterwards to play Goebbels. Haaretz newspaper and the rest of the ?Jews for a Second Holocaust? have been hailing Bakri's wonderful film as a great breakthrough and a step forward towards peace. I keep expecting Haaretz to run a scoop any day now discovering that Jews use gentile blood to make matzos. If the Labor Party wins the next election, my guess is that Bakri?s film will be made part of the Israeli school curriculum by Education Minister Yossi Sarid.

How can Jews complain about the anti-Jewish blood libels in Syria and Egypt when the Jerusalem Municipality collaborates with a local Arab Goebbels?
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Steven Plaut teaches Business Administration at the University of Haifa.