Monday, April 20, 2009

The Case for Israel

About 600 people gathered last night at Shaarei Shomayim Congregation in Toronto to watch a free screening of the documentary, "The Case for Israel: Democracy's Outpost".

This documentary covers a lot of information in an interesting, easy to follow format; it is compelling and is never dull or dry.

It features clips of Alan Dershowitz speaking before various audiences and in interviews with politicians, military leaders and various experts. Some of the people featured in the interviews, either with Mr. Dershowitz or on their own, are Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu, Tzipi Livni, Caroline Glick, Phyllis Chesler and Canada's Irwin Cotler. (Full list with bios here.)

The film begins with Alan Dershowitz stating that he is pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian and that he supports a two-state solution. Later, he states that the two-state solution will only happen when Palestinians want a Palestinian state more than they want "no Jewish state". And that is the crux of the issue: demonization of Israel derives from hatred toward the concept and fact of Jewish nationhood and is not the result of any direct or indirect action of the Israeli government. Again and again, Palestinians have been given generous offers of land and again and again, they have turned their backs on the offers.

The idea for the documentary seems to have come about as a response to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's book, "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid". The speakers in "The Case for Israel" use facts to refute the claim, made by Mr. Carter and others, that Israel is an apartheid, illegitimate state. It discusses the historical basis for the founding of Israel and Israel's approach to the many challenges it faces.

I scribbled a few notes in the dark but I think the trailer and clips will give you a better idea of the strengths of this film.

Watch the trailer here and clips here.

This excellent film is available on DVD for US $14.99 (via their website). We were told last night that this is a not-for-profit venture; perhaps that is why the price is so reasonable. I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in this issue. Although I saw it last night, I am going to buy it so I can watch it again and show it to others.

Someone in the Q&A afterwards pointed out that the documentary did not cover the period from 1917 to 1946. He said an overview of that era is necessary to disprove the lie that Israel is an illegal occupier of Arab land. I thought it was a good point. (For background information about the Balfour Declaration, see here.)

If your (or your child's) school or university addresses the Middle East, the UN or the current Durban 2 spectacle, suggest that the teacher include this documentary in class as a way of presenting both sides of the story. Buy the DVD and have it on hand so they will have no easy excuses for neglecting the pro-Israel side.

Activist, author and documentary filmmaker Robert Friedman was the special guest at Shaarei Shomayim last night. After we watched the film, Mr. Friedman talked about ways that everyone can get involved and spread the truth about Israel. He stressed the importance of making connections with pro-Israel groups and working with them to make a difference.

Here's the trailer for Mr. Friedman's documentary, "More Precious than Pearls" and here is an essay he wrote about it. I'd like to see this film.

Last night's film and guest speaker were presented by the Speakers Action Group. This dedicated group organizes very interesting lectures; I've attended a few and hope to attend more in future.

Many thanks to the Speakers Action Group and the folks at Shaarei Shomayim Congregation.

Note to self: Learn the words to Hatikvah.

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