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Genevieve Cora Fraser: Truth Exposed In Video

Truth Exposed in video "Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land" may offer 1st Step to Peace in the Middle East


By Genevieve Cora Fraser

After so much bloodshed how can there be healing? After so much horror, how can there be peace? These are issues raised at nearly every discussion I have ever attended on the possibility or impossibility of ever achieving peace between Palestine and Israel. Clearly before serious discussions can commence significant parties must be on the same page. And who are the significant parties? Let's see, the Palestinians, the Israelis, the American taxpayers who fund the brutal occupation, the Arab world that suffers the aftermath of the conflict and has housed millions of displaced Palestinian refugees for nearly 6 decades, and the world community that fears WW III may arise from the ashes of failed peace talks. If I've counted correctly, that includes every man, woman and child on the planet. We all have a stake in the outcome.

Now there's a video available (with a DVD in production) that according to the Media Education Foundation (MEF) the producer and distributor of the film, "provides an historical overview, a striking media comparison, and an examination of how media coverage in America is distorted and is used as a form of propaganda for Israeli interests." The name of this must-see 80 minute long documentary is "Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land." However, the point of view expressed is largely a Jewish voice, the all too frequently muted voice of the Jewish American and Israeli Peace Community trying against all odds to raise their collective voices over the din of non-stop military/industrial/religious fundamentalist American and Israeli special interests.

I overheard the Jewish Israeli-American director of the film, Bathsheba Ratzkoff speaking to a fellow Zionist friend at one of the previews in Northampton, Massachusetts, the home of MEF. I sensed his rapid fire comments held a hidden agenda, a subtle questioning of Ratzkoff's commitment to Zionism. I certainly understood why he might wonder as I turned over the jacket cover and read, "This pivotal video exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--working in combination with Israeli public relations strategies--exercise a powerful influence over news reporting about the Middle East conflict." Having just seen the production and participated in the discussion that followed, I knew the blurb did not lie. It didn't even exaggerate. If anything the words were understated. And as I waited to talk to Ratzkoff, I wondered if she had written the words on the dust jacket.

"Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land" is a bare knuckled examination of how media coverage in America is most definitely distorted and unequivocally used as a form of propaganda for Israeli interests. American and British TV news clips are interspersed with observations of analysts, journalists, and political activists and the difference between American and British broadcasting becomes all too obvious. I was amazed at how by showing the behind the scenes reality, Dan Rather and other TV newscaster superstars are exposed as the propaganda artists they truly are -- parroting the party line as written and directed by the current administration and it's Israeli-American-Zionist friends. American public opinion is not only shaped by these distortions, the distortions are infused throughout all political debate on the issue and, along with millions of dollars in campaign donations from Israeli American lobbies, is the reason why Congress votes as it does and continues to fund the Israeli war machine to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars each year (whether or not they need it). Over thirty percent of all American foreign aide money goes to Israel, which is hardly a poor nation by current world statistics.

Topics covered by the documentary include a behind the scenes introduction to the American media and how the truth of Israel's brutal occupation of the Palestinian Territories is rarely exposed for what it is - an Israeli colonization of what remains of Palestine, where the Palestinian violence is a reaction to the overwhelming force of the occupying power. Defining who is newsworthy and exposing the Myth of U.S. Neutrality, the Myth of the Generous Offer, and the Marginalized Voices of the Palestinian people bring the viewer to the inevitable question, Is Peace Possible?

I suspect the response I overheard Bathsheba Ratzkoff offer her Zionist friend may hold the key to compromise. Perhaps I shouldn't have listened, but their discussion was hardly whispered and I was standing right there and she knew I planned to write an article, so forgive me Bathsheba for my paraphrase of your response. (I didn't dare take notes.) I believe I heard you say that you believed deeply in Zionism as a sense of community and shared values, spiritual bonding and mutual aspirations but where respect of others must be valued and prized and there can be no peace without justice for Palestine. Bravo! The world outside America sees Zionism's face in the bulldozer, missile strikes from jet fighters, strafing civilians from attack helicopters, assault rifles shooting at rock throwing children, the apartheid racist wall, Israeli only roads, desperate starving and thirsty Palestinians who have been driven out of their homes and beyond despair by Israeli cruelty. "Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land exposes all of that and more - a way to peace by telling the truth no matter how painful, bonding friendships and coalitions with mutual respect, and opening the door to a common future for all people of the Promised Land not through propaganda but substantive dialogue and recognition of the needs and rights of all.

"Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land" was produced and directed by Bathsheba Ratzkoff and University of Massachusetts Professor of Communication Sut Jhally. The film was edited by Bathsheba Ratzkoff and Kenyon King. Interviewees include Seth Ackerman, IDF Major Stav Adivi, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Hanan Ashrawi, Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, Dr. Neve Gordon, Toufic Haddad, Sam Husseini, Hussein Ibish, Robert Jensen, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Karen Pfeifer, Alisa Solomon, and Gila Svirsky.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the film contact the Media Education Foundation, 60 Masonic Street, Northampton, Massachusetts 01060; Phone: (800) 897-0089 or (413) 584-8500; Fax: (800) 659-6882 or (413) 586-8398; E-mail: info@mediaed.org


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