Film "Tears of Gaza" Misrepresents War Between Israel And Hamas
The film's façade as an “anti-war movie” disguises the fact that it was shot completely out of context, without a single mention of the actions of Hamas, the terrorist organization that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas has operated, and continues to operate against the Israelis to fuel the war in the Middle East.
The film was shot between 2008-2009, during which Israel launched "Operation Cast Lead," a wide-scale attack against Hamas. The targets were Hamas bases firing rockets into Israel. But at no point does the film portray even one of the more than 3,000 rockets and mortars that were fired into Israel in 2008 alone. Instead, the filmmakers angle the shots so that all viewers see are Israeli Defense Force helicopters firing rockets onto buildings, which the audience is persuaded to believe are occupied by civilians.
This sequence is followed by graphic scenes of women and children being carried from the debris - an attempt to capture the hearts and emotions of the viewer, and portray the actions of the IDF as human rights violations. However, what is not mentioned in the film is the IDF's policy to target only buildings that fired rockets into Israel, or that were used by Hamas for other terrorism-related purposes.
The film also neglects to show Hamas’ cowardice in its use of its own men, women and children as human shields to protect its members from rocket fire, a clear violation of international human rights laws. Hamas used its people "too on the strategic level, luring IDF troops to attack and kill them. People whose deaths would be callously exploited in the media as a means of discrediting the IDF," according to Col. Richard Kemp, former British Armed Forces Commander.
During the Question and Answer segment following the film, I made sure to voice my thoughts, although I was met with disrespect, heckling and anti-Israeli comments. I mentioned a speech given by Kemp to the United Nations' Human Rights Council. Kemp said,
"During its operation in Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare."
What Kemp is referencing here is the fact that before each of its air raids over Gaza, the IDF would drop leaflets, written in Arabic, onto the streets to warn civilians of impending danger. No other army in the world has gone this far to protect civilian lives.
Films like "Tears of Gaza" are incredibly dangerous, because they capture very selective footage of a larger conflict. This selection incorrectly skews the facts, and, in this case, manipulates viewers to think that the Israelis are the aggressors, and that they are subjugating the Palestinians to their control. If people do not speak out against these blatant inaccuracies, fueled by hatred toward Israel, then the lies of Hamas are sure to win.
Israel stands as the only democracy in the Middle East. It is the only country in the Middle East that allows Christians, Muslims and Jews to freely and openly practice their religions. It prides itself as the only country in the Middle East that protects gay rights, as highlighted by its annual Gay Pride Parade in Tel Aviv. Democracy, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and gay rights are all American values we share with Israel, and that is why, as Americans, it is essential that we stand up against terrorist organizations like Hamas, for which such values and freedoms are completely absent, and, instead, stand with Israel.
Jonathan Kalfus is a senior at the University of Southern California and a Fellow for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.