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by Bernice Lipkin



This is the start of an article entitled "'Miral': Taking the Israel-Palestine Conflict Personally" (See here.) It was written by Anna Louie Sussman, id'ed as "a New York-based writer whose work focuses on human rights, gender, social issues, and culture. She lived the Middle East for the last five years" -- studying Arabic in Cairo, Beirut and Damascus.

"'Miral': Taking the Israel-Palestine Conflict Personally"

"Julian Schnabel's latest film tells the story of a Palestinian teenage girl, and is inspiring both praise and controversy"

"Is this the face of a terrorist?" asks the American poster for Julian Schnabel's new film, Miral, about a young Palestinian woman of the same name. Dressed as a schoolgirl, looking ten years younger than her actual age of 26, Freida Pinto stares back, the sullenness in her eyes a residue of shouldering the twin burdens of adolescence and occupation at once.

Except for the poster, the article is a routine 'pooh, pooh -- why get excited' article downplaying the impact of the film Miral while promoting its message. If it is such a yawn, I wonder why the U.N. took the trouble to show it, advertise it, do all but sell buttered popcorn to bring in viewers. The write-up is very good at making silly, somewhat outrageous, statements sound like commonplace facts -- "shouldering the twin burdens of adolescence and occupation at once." Or alleging that "movies by and about African-Americans are rarely marketed to broader audiences." I had to check the date -- it read like something from the sixties.

Mr Schnabel is given the best of credentials. He was, we are told, "raised by an actively Zionist mother." How can we not believe whatever he films. His credentials established, we are told he worked with "Rula Jebreal, author of the autobiographical novel on which the film is based, ... whose story it is telling." Hmnn. Like Salome removing veil after veil, we eventually learn that Schnabel and Jebreal are an item -- a sort of latterday Adam Shapiro and his Arab wife Huwaida Araf. Rula is described in Wikipedia as a journalist who worked in Italy for many years. She is trained in physiotherapy. Her novel is said to be the basis for the film. But I can't find any biographical information detailing her career as a terrorist.

She does claim (from the transcript of a broadcast March 31, 2011 on NPR) that

"Everything is true. Everything has happened to me, happened to my family, happened to my friends, to everybody surrounding us. And it's really a story of women, a story of struggle, of survival, of courage, of heroism. And a story of pain and dreams."

"Later on, when I lived other traumas, living during the First Intifada, going to the manifestation, I saw the brutality of the police, oppression, the racism, they killed many friends of mine. And I was myself beaten up and tortured. When I left my country, I didn't want to handle this information. I wanted to start new life fresh."

The IDF doesn't go in for torture -- especially not gratuitous torture -- so she may be indirectly telling us she did act as a terrorist, or gofer for terrorists. Or maybe she as a groupie. Hard to say.

So much of the data are sloppy. The book and movie are said to be biographical. They have also been called semi-autobiographical. A fascinating term. It makes you wonder where the non-biographical half came from. And which half is fiction?

From the same transcript:

"And when I saw the Second Intifada coming, 2000, I thought, my god, we went through this. We signed a peace agreement. We thought that our children will never have to go through this again. And it's happening again. They killed the peace agreement and now it's all over from the beginning. So, like we didn't achieve nothing - we didn't learn anything from what happened."

She makes it sound rather like the Second Intifada was induced by Israel, not Arafat. Nor is it clear who the They are that killed the peace agreement. Maybe it was the Israelis blowing up Arab felafel parlors.

We are told that "[a] movie has never been made, or brought to the big screen, about a Palestinian girl." Jebreal is quoted as saying that "[i]t's an issue that has been censored, not just in film but also in the media." Admittedly, I haven't seen any Palestinian full-length flicks, but there are lots of short clips available, showing Palestinian women. They are bursting with pride because their teen-ager just killed a bunch of Jews. They are so proud of their Shaheedeles. And there's the Arab girl who made friends with a Jewish boy over the internet and lured him to his death. And the young women who are some of the most cold-blooded of the terrorists -- and that's saying something. You do have to be impressed by how dedicated they are. One of the them was receiving free cosmetic surgery at a Jewish hospital to correct facial scars that were the result of a kitchen oven accident. By luck they caught her as she was coming in for a treatment with an explosive belt set for action. What a nice thank-you note to the hospital staff.

Snabel is quoted as claiming that very little of the Palestinian narrative -- the Arab assert and may actually believe that they are the original inhabitants of the Land of Israel and the Jews are occupying their land -- is "part of the commonly understood narrative." Really? Maybe he doesn't listen to NPR or watch the BBC and CCN. Maybe he doesn't read the New York Times, which treats using Muslim and terrorist in the same sentence as some sort of semantic incest that must not be allowed. Most the biggies in the Main Stream Media (MSM) whitewash little details that might show the Arabs in a bad light -- like their tendency to stab and decapitate and shoot their Jewish neighbors.

Would it not be more accurate to say that the Palestinian narrative is believed by most of the world? After all, it has been certified by the U.N. and the E.U., by most of the MSM, by Friends of Hamas like Jimbo Carter and by the academics on the Arab payroll like John Esposito of Georgetown University and Rashid Khalidi, Obama's old buddy, now propagandizing at Columbia. It's not easy to get the actual facts from these sources. And Israel never speaks up that it is her land by irrevocable international law -- she's so eager for peace, she's afraid to out her "peace partners" as liars and murderers.

There are of course the usual strategies to promote the article's agenda. Why are people (read Jews) upset, the article asks rhetorically? The answer is provided by a quote by Mona Eltahawy -- who is said to have been a big hit speaking at a recent J-street conference. "We are starting at ten degrees below zero, if a film about a Palestinian girl can make people this upset." I see. The message of the film is pure truth. It just hasn't convinced the cold-blooded Jews. Could there be an alternative reason why Jews -- and not just Jews -- reject the film? Could it be, maybe, because the film flips between trying to tweak at our heartstrings and portraying fun-house-mirror distortions of reality.

The article is routine pro-Palestinian PR, well-tested and reinforcing a slick story. So I was amazed at how few readers bought into it. The first comment by Jacquesh3 was, "The Islamic dominated, anti-Semitic UN is the perfect place to show this film, so soon after Islamic freedom fighters cut the head off a 3-month old Zionist" and many of the others show that people have learned the facts, despite the mantra that the land belongs to the Arabs that the MSM peddles. It seems that Arab barbarity -- the Fogel family are recent victims -- is becoming understood, despite the Arab pity plea that it is they who are the helpless victims. They really should stop showing their glee after each successful slaughter. Maybe they should stop training their children for jihad by associating slaughter with sweet candy. Bad for the teeth, anyways.


The Miral Poster asks: is this the face of a terrorist? This is the answer from Elder of Ziyon. website:

The implication of the poster is that the nice young woman portraying the protagonist (who is actually an Indian actress, by the way) could not possibly be a terrorist because of her innocent looking face. To me, it also implies that Israel, or perhaps the West, unjustly considers all Palestinian Arabs to be terrorists.

Unfortunately, a friendly face does not exclude the possibility of a young woman being a terrorist:


As the Elder of Ziyon article points out, the Miral Poster uses an innocent-looking face to imply: Why are you paranoid? What harm would this sweet young thing ever do to you?

The retort posters are a form of jujitsu, which flip the argument around, by playing on the original theme. They ask: can a sweet and innocent young girl find happiness in murdering Jews? And the answer is: Yup. Palestinian girls can.

The answer is direct. The answer is irrefutable. The answer suggests that only someone naive and foolish would believe a young Palestinian girl couldn't be a cold blooded killer.

These below are a couple of posters circulated to counter the argument that Israel is an apartheid state that won't allow its Arab citizens equality and opportunity. What they say is certainly true. But they don't have the simple elegance of the Countering Miral posters. They sound somewhat defensive. And that reduces the impact of the message.


Bernice Lipkin is editor of This article was published April 12, 2010.
Part 2 is taken directly from the of Elder of Ziyon website:


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