Both explicit and implicit propaganda films are common. The stealth indoctrination of the American public begins in the 1950s.
- Ben-Hur (1959, MGM) contains a tremendous amount of metaphorical Zionist propaganda. The oppressive Roman Empire represents the British Empire, against which the Americanized Jewish hero must struggle. The Arab Sheikh Ilderim is portrayed as effeminate and subordinate -- almost a second Esther in his relationship to Judah Ben-Hur.It is a screen representation of the Zionist propaganda that national liberation of the Jews (i.e., stealing Palestine from the Palestinians) will bring liberation of the Arabs albeit as subordinates to the Jews. This movie sets the standard for very subtle and very effective Zionist indoctrination.
- Solomon and Sheba (1959, MGM/UA) targets Ashkenazi Americans and superficial Zionistically-inclined biblical literalists.Anachronism is pervasive in this film. The Star of David was completely unknown as an ancient "Israelite," Judean or even Jewish symbol until the last few hundred years. As a Jewish symbol, before Zionism the hexagram is associated mostly with Sabbatian and perhaps Frankist heresies. Yet, the troops of King David and King Solomon wear Stars of David on their uniforms, and it serves as a decoration throughout the film.King Solomon, who is played by Yul Brynner, repeats all sorts of Zionist slogans throughout the movie, and the geopolitical situation described in the movie is obviously constructed to reflect the situation of the State of Israel in the 1950s.Nevertheless, it is intriguing that the director, whose conceptualization of story the movie ultimately reflects, was King Vidor. King Vidor was one of the most talented of Hollywood directors. He directed the Wizard of Oz. He also had strong connection to Premillennial Dispensationalist Christianity. He grew up in Vidor, Texas, which was founded by his father C. S. Vidor. This town is still noted for irredentist unreconstructed Confederate attitudes, apocalyptic evangelical fundamentalism, KKK connections and extreme racism. It is also very typical bedrock Texas community of the sort the supports George Bush.Solomon and Sheba was not a blockbuster, but it did make money and was perhaps symptomatic of things yet to come.
- Exodus (1960, UA)[xxviii] is practically a course in Zionist הסברה or propaganda. It goes through practically all the standard false claims to justify Zionist Ashkenazi colonization and aggression against the native population of Palestine. The movie leaves out the book’s characterizations of Arabs as smelly or dirty, but it does include the de rigueur association of Nazis with the anti-Zionist resistance. In point of fact Labor Zionists themselves tried very hard to work with Nazi Germany and did so fairly effectively until 1939 while al-Hussayni was fairly quickly dispatched to Bosnia, where he did not speak the language, when he finally tried to approach Germany for aid.
Both the director Otto Preminger and the author Leon Uris had many revisionist associations. Therefore, it is not too surprising that Exodus contains a Jabotinskian or Revisionist justification of Zionist terrorism that in 2002 underscores the hypocrisy of the Israeli and American Ashkenazi reactions to legitimate terrorism against the State of Israel. Like most Hollywood movies that contain the theme of nation creation, the movie ends with a poignant sacrifice for the sake of the nation. Exodus is particularly creative in this regard because one of the martyrs on behalf of Zionism is a Zionist Arab. Exodus is exceptionally explicit in sending the message that the USA should get in bed with Israel.
- United Artists had a fair amount of success with Exodus and tried once again with Cast a Giant Shadow (1966, UA). This movie gives the story of Colonel Mickey Marcus, who was recruited by the Haganah, the Labor Zionist militia, to provide operational expertise. Marcus conveniently dies in 1948 so that the film can have the typical ending for films of nation creation. The movie lectures the viewer in the standard Labor Zionist הסברה but goes one step beyond Exodus to argue that American Ashkenazim should serve Israeli interests. The beginning of the movie is worth watching. It goes through all the standard Zionist propaganda that is still repeated in American schools, universities and media to this day. It portrays the Ashkenazi settlement as outnumbered although it was not. It claims Arab leaders made statements that are mostly impossible to verify. It claims that the Ashkenazim had no place to go even though the Ashkenazi displaced persons could have been resettled fairly easily within a few years while most of the Ashkenazi settlers in Palestine would probably have been happy for the colony to be dismantled. Major Safir, the Zionist emissary, makes the obligatory emotional pitch about the threat to the Ashkenazim in Palestine so that Marcus will only react reflexively rather than think rationally about the claims Safir makes because otherwise a little reflection might have lead to the revelation that the native population has just as much claim to liberty and justice as the Ashkenazi settler colonists. At the time Safir is supposed to give his speech, Zionist forces have already begun their ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
- Videoclip 1 and Videoclip 2 from the next film, Black Sunday (1977, Paramount), are rather more interesting. Not only is this movie the first action adventure film that combines the Israel-Palestine conflict with Neoconservative political thinking, but also this movie looks in retrospective exceptionally prophetic after the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. One might hypothesize that Usama bin Ladin was inspired by the imagination of Thomas Harris, the author of Black Sunday as well as Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal.
Michael Lander is a disgraced US Air Force pilot that plots with the help of Black September to kill 80,000 people and the president of the United States at a Superbowl football game by crashing an explosive laden blimp into the stadium. Because of the similarity of the movie’s terrorist operation to the WTC attack, it is worth mention that that no Palestinian group was involved in the September 11 atrocity and that the perpetrators were members of an extremist group loosely associated with the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood (المسلمون الإخوان), which has its own distinct and often legitimate grievances against the USA. Such complaints, as Palestinians and other Arabs can make against the USA, do not interest Harris, who focuses mostly on the psychopathology of the killer. Palestinians, the Middle East conflict and Black September are mostly props in his book. Harris suggested a possible connection of Black September to Vietnamese communists by means of a videotape of Lander’s confession to war crimes while he was a POW during the Vietnam war. The screenwriter made the connection to international anti-Americanism by explicitly portraying collaboration with Japanese terrorists.
Both the movie and the book are somewhat unique in that they begin with murders of Arabs by an Israeli death squad in Lebanon. Normally, Israeli terror squads are portrayed as retaliating for some on-screen act of violence, but Harris’ lack of interest in Middle East issues may have immunized him to some extent to the common Zionist attitudes that most Americans have adopted. Nevertheless, the terrorist act itself corresponds far more to Zionist mythology than to actual Palestinian operations at the time, which generally confined themselves to the seizure of hostages or airplanes to secure the release of prisoners that were held by Israelis under torture and the threat of execution at any time.
The director and the scriptwriter went beyond the book to explore motivations and the cause of the conflict. In the movie Major Kabokov, the Israeli protagonist, suffers from the usual “whack ‘em and weep syndrome.” Harris and the screenwriter portray such as qualms as explicitly negative in conformance with the Neoconservative ideology that is developing at the time. If Kabokov had not shown mercy toward Dahlia Iyad in Beirut, the Black September attack would have been stopped before it could even stop.
Kabokov’s self-doubts belong to the films subtheme of recovering masculinity. The US agents are paralyzed by procedures and rules that prevent them from taking the necessary action to stop the terrorists. Lander’s masculinity has been permanently damaged by his imprisonment in Vietnam. The paralysis of US intelligence agents and Lander’s impotence serve as fairly obvious metaphors for the Vietnam syndrome. Lander uses the wrong methods to overcome his sexual dysfunction by sexual and terrorist collaboration with Iyad, who lends Lander evil power by means of Arab sensuality and seduction. She makes Lander hard and tough once again as she directs him to undertake a terrorist attack on behalf of Black September. In contrast, when Kabokov overcomes his self-doubts in response to the killing of his partner and thwarts the terror attack, he becomes in conformance with Neoconservative ideology the forceful Israeli that teaches Americans how to deal with foreign and in particular Arab threats.
The scenes of the auditing of the Black September post-attack tape and of the identification of the Dahlia Iyad by Egyptian security are worth reviewing. The message that Iyad reads is far more powerful in the movie than in the book while the identification scene was created for the movie.
One can only speculate why it was necessary in the movie to identify Iyad as an Arab of German Palestinian extraction. Perhaps after showing some sympathy with Palestinian suffering, the director might have felt an obligation to pander Zionist myth of the Arab German link in the opposition to Zionism. Or perhaps, the director just needed explain the portrayal of a Palestinian woman by an actress of German extraction.
I also have to wonder whether the director was reluctant from the start to portray Arabs as relentlessly negative as Harris wrote in the book. While there could have been some last minute editing of the film in response to Sadat’s peace initiative, there might be a subtle indoctrination that the validity of Arab or Palestinian grievance is irrelevant. Arabs and Palestinians are too dangerous, and the coalition of Americans and Israelis must crush them without mercy in all their schemes.
The movie’s ending differs significantly from that of the book. While Harris’ book is on the whole rather flawed, his denouement in which Kabokov sacrifices himself to stop Iyad and Lander would have created a far superior climax for the movie. A powerful cinematic ending seems to have been sacrificed to the desire to provide a triumphalist Neoconservative conclusion to the film.
- Time after Time (1979, WB) also repeats the standard Zionist lie that Palestinian terrorists committed senseless violence against masses of innocent civilians. None of the references to completely fictional Palestinian terrorism have any intrinsic connection to the plot but serve almost as a subliminal indoctrination of the audience. This sort of incidental propagandization of the American public is probably more sinister than the thematic use of Zionist myth, which is more obvious and easier to dismiss as obvious nonsense.
- Golda (1982, Paramount) is a biography of Gold Meir that is mostly hero worship and Labor Zionist הסברה. The descriptions of the issues of Palestinian refugees and of access to Jerusalem are simply dishonest. The movie probably correctly but accidentally portrays Meir as a person that lacks any ethical awareness, understanding and impulses. In the clip presented she has the nerve to ask the self-serving question what population could remain a refugee population for 30 years even though she herself is the leader of the movement that made them refugees and even though the Zionist movement justifies its seizure of Palestine by means of the primordialist argument that Jews have been refugees for 2000 years.
- Hanna K. (1983, Universal) is fascinating because of the timidity that Costa-Gavras shows in portraying ethically dubious Zionist beliefs, actions and behavior. The movie depicts problems in the life of an attorney loosely modeled on Felicia Langer. She is defending a Palestinian infiltrator. According to its own internal documentation, the IDF usually simply shoots unarmed infiltrators, but the director and writer uncritically accepts the Zionist viewpoint that Israel actually has a functioning legal system and that Zionists actually make effort to deal with difficult ethical questions as well as they can.Because the film concedes the possibility that aspects of Zionism might have morally problematic effects, major public controversy accompanied general distribution. The clip shows Hanna, the prosecutor and the judge as they attempt to find an extra-juridical solution to the problem that the defendant presents. Note how the judge makes the usual irrational and unethical Zionist arguments to justify Zionism while he uses the usual psychological triggers about the Nazi persecutions to intimidate Hanna into accepting his viewpoint.
Hanna K. like Torn Apart (1990, Warner Studios) and Double Edge (1991, Faye Milano Limited Partnership) represents a sort of Liberal Israeli or Ashkenazi American fantasy, in which the Zionist heroes really are moral people that strive to overcome obstacles and do right in difficult situations. Such movies do not address the possibility that Zionism might be fundamentally ethically questionable. The depiction of Palestinians in these films corresponds to fantasies about Palestinians from Zionist narratives or propaganda and not to any sort of discernible reality. While individual Israeli settler colonists may be obnoxious or defend themselves violently in the course of the plot, only Palestinians ever commit crimes or aggression in this class of film.
- Little Drummer Girl (1984, WB) was also released with a major controversy, which in retrospect is hard to understand, for the movie is similar to Black Sunday except for less examination of motivations. The movie begins with a Palestinian terrorist attack so that Israeli actions can be portrayed as legitimate retaliation. Even though the members of the Israeli hit team are particularly unpleasant as they murder and use non-Jews in order to track down and assassinate an important Black September leader, Zionist self-perception and claims are never challenged. In the course of the story the Palestinian terrorists specifically target an Israeli peace advocate, and the movie includes some “whack ‘em and weep” Zionist blubbering.
- Oh God! You Devil (1984, WB) really demonizes Arafat. The devil comments that he has had Arafat’s soul for years. As far as 3rd world national liberation leaders go, Arafat does not seem much different from Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Ahmed Ben Bella, etc. His demonization in the USA is particularly incomprehensible except as a symptom of the pervasive assimilation by Americans of the Zionist point of view.
- Splash (1984, Touchstone Pictures).
- Schindler’s List (1993, Universal) is unprecedented as an expression of extremist nationalist Likud הסברה. We know that the story is fundamentally a nation creation narrative because the movie ends with the death of Schindler to show that the people he lead became capable of standing on the own. This movie proved to be a genuine blockbuster unlike earlier Zionist oriented films that were only moderately successful. Obviously, no one visits the cinemaplex for a lecture in Labor Zionist ideology.
This film is extremely problematic on several grounds. It is a consciously inverted film noir Wizard of Oz that markets its message subliminally. The evil of Nazism is reduced to psychopathology. Zionist ideologues prefer such an understanding of Nazism because genuine analysis of the phenomenon of Nazism would find too many similarities to Zionism. As history, the movie embodies the serious failures of Zionist historiography to which Hobsbawm referred. The movie describes the Holocaust of Zionist myth not the historical שואה (or catastrophe). The Soviet officer makes the pitch of a שליח (a Zionist emissary that recruits new immigrants).
One must wonder how a Palestinian would view the conclusion. It shows the Schindler Jews, who mostly did not migrate to Palestine, as they step into a rebirth of color and into Jerusalem to the sound in the background of זהב של ירושלים, a song that celebrates the culmination of a series of dispossession, tragedies and expulsions of the native population and that is generally associated now with the extreme right in Israeli politics
Spielberg is indoctrinating the audience with the following propaganda.
a. The State of Israel is an appropriate monument to murdered European Jews even though the vast majority were either non-Zionist or anti-Zionist, and
b. making Palestine a Jewish state was proper recompense for persecution of European Jews despite the wishes of the majority native population (who in a sinister foreshadowing of planned expulsion or mass extermination are absent as the theme of the 1967 conquest is played).
I am not surprised that the Egyptian and many other governments had some serious issues with subjecting their populations to this sort of blatant Zionist propaganda.
There are a lot of ethical problems associated with the UN recommendation to partition Palestine along völkisch principles that violated the UN charter and that wronged the native population. Universal Studies should have given the film a voluntary NC-17 rating, for it is certainly wrong to indoctrinate young people and children with the idea that two wrongs make a right.
This ending was so close to the Likud formula for “national ritual assertion of Israel state identity and superiority” and conformed so exactly to the “central item of the official system of national beliefs” as promulgated by the Likud party that the ending had to be modified for Israeli audiences. USA popular culture has an even higher tolerance of the most extremist Zionist myth and propaganda than Israeli Jews do. One must wonder whether the success of such clever Likud propaganda at the box office presaged the failure of the Oslo Process?
The frequency of the appearance of Zionized Hollywood films definitely increases over the period from 1950 to the present, but Americans were not necessarily exposed to less Zionist propaganda in the earlier period, for Israeli film makers made up for the lack of Zionized American cinema. Nowadays they do not have to bother because Hollywood routinely incorporates Zionist themes, propaganda and myths. The legitimization narrative has changed since the early period to depend more on the Holocaust than on Zionist ideology or primordialist myth.
The Believer (2001, Fireworks Pictures) is mostly a meditation on obsession, Jewish identity and Jewish self-hatred. It is the exception that proves the rule of the Zionization of American movies and popular culture. While this film does not present a Palestinian point of view, it is the only American produced film that has ever appeared that suggests aspects of Zionism or Israeli behavior are fundamentally questionable, but it has barely had the opportunity to appear before American audiences. Rabbi Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center seems to have helped kill it in distribution. Showtime, which bought distribution rights, has been skittish about showing it on cable television.
The next movie to appear was Masada (1981, Universal). It is a dramatization of Zionist primordialist myth and הסברה. The movie has no factual basis in Iosephos, who provides the only “historical” description of the events associated with Masada, but the Masada of Zionist myth was never a matter of history but more an issue of providing Ashkenazim with a secular non-religious connection to Palestine. During the 30s and 40s, the story was rewritten as an example of courage even though it describes mostly banditry. Ashkenazi terrorists and suicide attackers used variants of the Masada myth as an inspiration and example for their behavior during the 40s.
The series should have pointed out the collaboration between Labor Zionists and Nazis up until 1939 as well as the problems that Zionist policy made for anyone trying to rescue Jews in Europe. The synagogue burned during the Nazi invasion of Poland has a hexagram (Star of David). That improbable adornment looks like subtle propaganda to tie Polish Ashkenazim, who were in the vast majority non-Zionist or anti-Zionist, to the Zionist movement. The anti-Zionist Bund was completely written out of the story even though most of the leaders of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising were Bundists.
When Helena Slomova (a Czech Zionist Ashkenazi) tells Rudi Weiss (a Jewish German who fled Germany to Eastern Europe) that after the Germans are defeated they will go to Palestine and build a Jewish state, he could have said, "Oh, then we will go to Palestine and do to the poor Arabs what the Germans are doing to us." Such dialogue would have the virtue of verisimilitude if one has studied the true history and not Zionist propaganda history of the time period.The ending in which Rudi Weiss agrees to take Jewish Greek orphans to Palestine provides the usual offensive Zionist propaganda ending to suggest that the theft of Palestine from the native population is some sort of secular redemption. A more ambiguous ending that showed the revenge that Jews and other Eastern European populations took on Eastern European German populations and that underscored the vicious racist genocidal nature of Zionism in Palestine would have been superior, more true to life, for it would have elucidated the simple truth of human existence that victims almost immediately become victimizers as soon as they get the opportunity.
The offhand appearance of Zionist attitudes in ordinary non-ideological movies is in some regards even more disturbing than the lies and misrepresentations of the consciously Zionist films. Obviously, the penetration of Zionism throughout American society is so deep and all pervasive that Americans express Zionist attitudes reflexively and unconsciously. The amount of effort required to counteract the Zionist indoctrination is simply daunting.------------------------