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Defamation a film on antisemitism by Yoav Shamir

From:     J-dog
Category: Art
Date:     13 January 2010
Time:     08:20 AM


The film by a Yoav Shamir, an Israeli, set out to question whether antisemitism was still a problem 
and whether the Israel State uses it for political purposes. The film was involving and entertaining for 
its two hour length. 

Shamir seemed to conclude that antisemitism was used to create Israeli and a wider Jewish 
indentity, or at least to preclude criticism of Israel's relationship with Palestinians.  I think that it seems 
obvious that Israeli and Jewish identity is to a certain extent based on the Holocaust and the history of 
persecution that Jews have faced, how could it not be. Shamir's hope that Jews can move on to an 
identity based on a less negative history can only probably come through the passing of time. It is 
also true that Israeli politicians rightfully and wrongfully use the Holocaust to justify their actions. 
Wrong when they say all their actions (bad treatment of Palestinians) are justified by Jewish History, 
right when they say the tragedy of the Holocaust is integral to the Jewish state's creation.

However Shamir's other conclusion that antisemitism is now merely a creation of Jewish interest 
groups and not a problem was both stupid and dangerous and will gratfully embraced by antisemites 
everywhere. Three of the only non-Jews he spoke to, some young black people in New York, told him  
the Jews controlled the world and that "The Protocols of Zion" proved it. The "Protocols" being a 
famous 19th century antisemitic creation, often quoted by the Nazis. He didn't seem to find it at all 
odd that people were still referring to it, or how, or why, such antisemitic propaganda was still being 
distributed and by whom.  He didn't bother asking any more non-Jews for their opinions on Jews, and 
dismissed a Polish statuette of a stereotypical Jew with a bag of money as nothing to worry about.  

Antisemitism, like racism, is the idea that  people's qualities stem from their ethnicity rather than their 
characters or individuality. It therefore would have made sense for Shamir to find out whether people 
still had prejudices against Jews by talking to non-Jews or looking at how Jews are portrayed in the 
media, rather than going round with lots of Jews and deciding they are paranoid  and making it all up 
for their own ends. That conclusion was baed on no evidence whatsoever and the end would seem 
rather antisemitic.

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