Thursday, December 03, 2015

'Shadow in Baghdad' 'too violent for children'

The film-maker Duki Dror has accused an Israeli arts commission of deleting   '2,000 years of Middle Eastern and Maghreb history' after it rejected his application to have 'Shadow in Baghdad' included in its list of films recommended to be shown in schools.

'Shadow in Baghdad' tackles the actual disappearance of Yaacov Abdulaziz, an Iraqi Jewish lawyer in 1972 under Saddam Hussein's brutal regime, and his daughter Linda Menuhin's attempts, with the help of an Iraqi-Muslim journalist, to track down her father's last movements. She concludes that Abdulaziz died in the notorious Baghdad prison known as 'the Palace of the End.'

An Arts Commission approves the 'Sal Tarbut'  list of plays, films, music, dance, museums, comedy actors, etc and recommends them for  extra-curricular activities in schools and youth clubs of the education ministry.

Dror received a rejection letter from the Commission for 'Shadow in Baghdad' two years after submitting it for inclusion in the Sal Tarbut. Although it acknowledged that 'Shadow in Baghdad' , which has been internationally acclaimed and shown at film festivals worldwide, was one of the few films that depicted Jewish history in Arab countries, the letter cited, " the violent images of executions in the film as being inappropriate for young children." The film shows actual footage of nine Jews hanged in Baghdad's Liberation 
Square in 1969 as alleged spies. 

 However, Dror had his film Incessant visions about the German-Jewish architect Erich Mendlesohn promptly accepted.

On his Facebook page, Dror argues indignantly that students in grades X - XII are exposed to graphic images of horror when they make school trips to the Nazi death camps in Poland to study the mass extermination of European Jewry."Do visits to Yad Vashem shield the children from such imagery?" he writes.

The rejection of 'Shadow in Baghdad'  comes as an ironic blow at a time when the exodus and suffering of eastern Jews are being commemorated the world over, with the purpose of encouraging the history and heritage of Jews from the Middle East and North Africa to be incorporated into the Jewish and Israeli school curriculum.

It appears that the  'Sal Tarbut' commission has acted out of political correctness  to shield Israeli schoolchildren from learning about the full reality of Arab antisemitism.


Edgar Davidson said...

I believe that part of the reason for this attitude is that the Israeli government and its agencies have for many years been heeding the advice of people like Noam Leshem who told them categorically to cover up the entire story of what happened to Jews in Arab lands in the 20th century. See, for example:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

A response to E Davidson:
This is not simply an "Ashkenazi" position. After all, the traditional culture of the Ashkenazim is generally overlooked in the media and other cultural institutions in Israel.

And Mizrahim and Sefardim who were what are called "leftists" in Israel typically did not oppose this neglect, especially not neglect of the history of the oppression of Jews in Arab lands. Why was this so? The "left" camp in Israel, which can also be called the anti-national camp, has been obsessively chasing the will-o'-the-wisp of a negotiated peace with the Arabs for many many years. So nothing could be done or should be done, in the "left's" view, that would discourage or deter the Arabs from negotiating a peace accord with Israel. Furthermore, the Israeli "Left" was influenced by the anti-Israel, pro-Arab climate of the world "left." Therefore, in order to stay in step with their supposed or hoped for ideological allies, or even co-thinkers, they adopted the world's "left's" pro-Arab views. The Israeli communists (PaKaP) had been habitually pro-Arab back in the 1930s, since that was the Comintern and USSR position. The Communists especially, for the most part, did not change their anti-Zionist views after the establishment of the State of Israel, although the USSR and Communists elsewhere had supported Israeli independence at the time.