DEFAMATION: The Anti-Semitism Industry- A Film Review

For those who missed seeing this film when it was released last year…

By  Zrow, 5 Feb. 2010

Defamation, the ground-breaking documentary released in 2009, firmly establishes that criticism of Israel is NOT a psychiatric illness after all. For decades a not-so-silent war has been waged on the Jewish holy lands detractors. Politicians and pundits, propagandists and apologists have all had the gall to diagnose anyone who dared such a critique as suffering from an irrational psychosis called anti-Semitism.

We hear such charges laid almost every day against all and sundry – Jewish scholars, former Presidents, UN investigators, religious figures, human rights organisations, even whole countries!

Now, a new movie turns the spotlight on these accusations… and the accusers.

‘Defamation’ is an eye-opening exposé of the anti-Semitism industry from the inside out.

Jewish documentary maker Yoav Shamir was given unprecedented access to the world’s most powerful opponent, and exponent, of anti-Semitism – the Anti-Defamation League, or ADL.

With a budget of over $70 million a year, the ADL punches way above its political weight, and if you happen to fall into its cross-hairs, you can kiss your career goodbye, as Jewish professor and Israeli critic Norman Finklestein will attest.

Shamir follows Abe Foxman (the head of the ADL) and other ADL members on their globetrotting crusade against Jewish libel, and in the process captures an unflinching (and unflattering) portrait of paranoia, indoctrination and grand arrogance in action.

World leaders and other dignitary’s fall at the feet of Foxman who actually seems to set American Foreign Policy on occasion – when the Ukrainian Government wants to distance itself from Russia and strengthen ties to America, they come to Foxman who agrees to help as long as they don’t liken the Holodomor (the deaths of up to 10 million people in 1932 – 33 due to Stalins enforced starvation) to the Holocaust.

Foxman is a secular Jew and one of the movies most interesting revelations is that the anti-Semitism industry is run mainly by these non-practicing Jews. The orthodox Jews in the movie hardly even acknowledge it exists. As one Rabbi in Russia declares “Being Jewish is not about fighting anti-Semitism, being Jewish is about practicing Judaism”. In a very candid exchange, two members of the ADL itself admit that “lacking a common religion, anti-Semitism is now used to bond, and form the identity of, the secular Jewish community”.

It’s candid moments like these that will have you questioning the validity of the thousands of anti-Semitic accusations made each year. When an institution is funded to the tune of $70 million a year is it not in their best interests to keep laying such charges, whether real or imagined?

Over 1,500 “anti-Semitic incidents” were recorded by the ADL in the year before this film was made.  That’s nearly 5 per day, and yet, when Shamir asks for an incident to investigate, the ADL can’t find one of any substance. Eventually, they settle on a case involving 10-year-old boys throwing stones at a passing school bus. These are hardly hard-core Klan members, and are in fact young black children living in a ghetto, who probably have nothing better to do. But because the bus was carrying Jewish school children at the time, it becomes categorized as a major incidence of anti-Semitism.

On his tour through the halls of paranoia, Shamir also follows a group of young Israelis who are making a pilgrimage to Auschwitz – with Mossad agents for security and Holocaust movies for entertainment, it’s easy to see where this mind-set comes from. At one point an old man in Poland asks some of the teens to converse with him in Hebrew. This outrages the young girls who retreat in horror later recalling to the camera how he called them “monkeys” and “donkeys.” “No he didn’t” corrects Shamir “He said nothing of the sort”.

The final act is reserved for the furore that John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt caused when they published their book “The Israel Lobby” – about the undue influence that the political lobby group AIPAC (American Israeli Political Affairs Committee) holds in America.

Publication of the book caused conniptions within the world’s Zionist organisations and led to a three day convention held in Israel’s Foreign Office devoted almost entirely to its content. The claims in the book, as well documented as they are, seem to be totally irrelevant to the attendees though, and it quickly devolves into the usual histrionics with one of the speakers, Dr Charles Jacobs claiming: “We thought the people who would hate us, who would be our enemies, would be thugs and lunatics yelling kike, and instead they are soft spoken college professors explaining to us how we have the apartheid state. We were unprepared!”

And so was I.

I knew that accusations of anti-Semitism are bandied about a lot these days, but I never imagined that they had become so ingrained in the Jewish psyche as to cause this level of self-delusion.

Fortunately, there are still some sane voices fighting to be heard above the paranoia, as Uri Avnery the leader of Gush Shalom, an Israeli peace group, goes on to say: “In America where Jews are so strong and so influential, they are scared of their own shadows. Every moment, behind every tree, an anti-Semite hides. Bullshit! There’s nothing like that.  Anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-black, anti-whatever you like – anti-Semites? You’d need a magnifying glass to find them.”

All-in-all Defamation is a riveting exploration of a little known, yet extremely profitable and powerful industry. An industry where guilt is used as a weapon and irrational hatred hides behind every corner.

Yoav Shamir is a brave film maker for daring to take on the might of the Zionist paranoia machine. I doubt whether the ADL will make the same mistake again.

Defamation trailer:

Here is Defamation online: http://wideeyecinema.com/?p=7208

Related:

The ADL has accused David Icke of “hate crimes” – See Part 3 of The Secret Rulers of the World, by Jon Ronson.

This entry was posted in Activism, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to DEFAMATION: The Anti-Semitism Industry- A Film Review

  1. Nick says:

    While, there is no doubt criticism of certain ADL tactics, or the strategy of “perpetuating death” is questioned in this film, I think you have unfortunately come to see it as something it is not. Yoav Shamir did not create this work to attack the ADL, or the study of the Holocaust. He created it to examine anti-semitism, and its standing in the world today. It is too easy, unfortunately, for one to see his film and say, as you seem to, that the ADL is largely at fault for causing global anti-semitism, and their motives are immoral. One could just as easily argue with almost every point suggested by Norman Finkelstein in his own criticism of Israel. This is why one should not watch the film, or study the current situation and attack either the right or the left. It is only constructive criticism, grounded in fact (which both the ADL and men like Finkelstein lack) that will see the creation of a viable Israel and Palestine.

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