Terror Victims Group Asks Oscars to Snub Israeli Films

Greg Tepper

Terror Victims Group Asks Oscars to Snub Israeli Films

Almagor believes documentaries nominated for Academy Award create ‘false impression’ of Israel’s character

The Times of Israel


Co-director Emad Burnat with his five broken cameras. (photo credit: Kino Lorber)

The Almagor Terror Victims Association wrote to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and asked its members not to vote for two Israeli documentaries that have been nominated for Academy Awards.

Five Broken Cameras, a film dealing with the construction of the security barrier in the town of Bi’lin, and The Gatekeepers, in which six former heads of the Shin Bet security services were interviewed, were both this month nominated for the Oscar in the field of best feature-length documentary.

Five Broken Cameras was directed by Palestinian Emad Burnat and Israeli Guy Davidi and The Gatekeepers by Dror Moreh. Moreh recently spoke with the Times of Israel about how he was able to secure interviews with the five security chiefs. Davidi discussed his desire for his film to be widely seen by Israeli youngsters.

Almagor wrote in a January 11, letter, signed by organization CEO Lt. Col. (ret.) Meir Indor and Chairman Dr. Aryeh Bachrach, that the two films “create a false impression of the character of the State of Israel and are in point of fact political films whose messages are identified very specifically with the far left of the political spectrum.”

Almagor’s website states that “Israeli society has a duty to support the victims of terror, and we work constantly to lessen their burden.” The group acts through information campaigns, legal action and social media.

The letter also took aim at the political views of one of the film’s creators and one of its subjects. “Were you aware that the creator of The Gatekeepers published last weekend an interview with Yuval Diskin, one of the former Shin Bet heads, in an article in Yediot Aharonot containing personal attacks on the prime minister and defense minister of Israel for ostensibly inappropriate behavior?” asked the letter.

“After carefully reviewing the comments by Diskin, one of the film’s stars who come out exaggeratedly and with unhidden enmity against [Prime Minister] Netanyahu and [Defense Minister] Barak, we reached the conclusion that his comments were intended to boost what he would say in the second part of the interview: a political attack on Israel’s direction in security-related matters, coming as part of the political campaign accompanying elections, as interviewee Yuval Diskin hints himself,” the letter asserted.

The letter concluded that awarding an Oscar would give legitimacy to “a political film attacking the current Israeli policy of remaining in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) for historical and security reasons,” in the case of The Gatekeepers. In the case of Five Broken Cameras, it said, an Oscar would be awarding “an incitement film that demonizes that soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and contains anti-Semitic elements.”