Culture, Global, Israel

Paradise Now Petition is "Sign" of the Times

The Israel/Palestine blogosphere has been abuzz with news about the petition to ban Paradise Now from the Oscars, for the “crime” of making suicide bombers look human. The petition has thus far collected over 31,000 signatures, recently getting a PR push from The Israel Project, an Israeli advocacy group.
Tikkun caught up with the film’s director, Hany Abu-Assad, and in concluding their interview asked him, “What gives you hope?”
He replied, “The conscience of the Jewish people.The Jews have been the conscience of humanity, always, wherever you go. Not all Jews, but part of them. Ethics, morality. You invented it! I think Hitler wanted to kill the conscience of the Jews, the conscience of humanity. But this conscience is still alive…Maybe a bit weak…But still alive. Thank God!”
What a monster! Surely he deserveth our scorn and signatures o’ plenty.
My people make me hurt.

17 thoughts on “Paradise Now Petition is "Sign" of the Times

  1. I agree that Abu-Assad is no monster and that petitioning to ban any movie is not good news, but there ARE two sides to every story.
    Based solely on the quote you pulled out, I’m not convinced the director loves and adores the Jews; it sounds like he could be saying that he hopes his idealized conception of the Jewish people kicks in, so that they change their minds in line with what he believes. Kinda like some Christian thinking wistfully implies that if Jews “saw the light,” they would worship Jesus.
    Not saying that is what Abu-Assad meant, just that it’s not an overwhelmingly positive quote, IMO.
    Plus, with anti-Zionism being pretty trendy now, “Paradise Now” is as much a sign of the times as the petition against it.

  2. well of course theyre going to petition against it. why the fuck would i want people taking sympathy for suicide bombers who have killed my people in the hope of gaining paradise in an afterlife.
    damn. your hurt because they dont want the world to sympathise with people who seek to end their existance.

  3. wow, i can’t believe the petition. it’s funny bc i just posted that quote on a livejournal i have with some friends earlier today, because it was one of the most…eloquent, in a way that spoke to me, things i’ve read in a while. having seen the movie a few weeks before munich, i can’t believe people who think stifling these complex dialogues will accomplish ANYTHING!

  4. The petition is dumb. But you know what is even dumber? That the film isn’t listed as an Israeli film.
    Hassan is an Israeli citizen, and the production and filming of the movie is a testament to Israel’s protection of the freedom of speech, and to the fact that Israel’s Palestinian citizens enjoy a freedom that is unheard of in other countries of the Middle East.
    So, at the very least, the Oscar it will get should be credited to the State of Israel.

  5. I agree that the petition is silly and won’t get anywhere. On the other hand, I hope that all of you who are waxing poetic about this movie and director will forgive me for thinking that if you had a member of your family blown apart in a pizza shop by a “humanized” murderer you would think differently. Keep up the “dialogue” and you may just find out.

  6. Ariel — If Abu-Assad was really a fully integrated Israeli citizen, you’d think his aunt would be able to travel to his grandmother’s funeral.

  7. Oh no- look at the comments people are leaving:
    “We all know you can’t yell FIRE in a theater; why honor this film?!”
    “by awarding this film it may draw more Arabs into making and using bombs, as this film glorifies the use of terrorism to get what they want.”
    “We cannot reward those that would that would take another’s life, especially in an act of terrorism. It is murder and it is WRONG.”
    I’m sure that these petition-signers have all seen the film and know of what they speak.
    I know it’s not an exact moral equivalent because of the guilt/innocence difference in the targets, but doesn’t Munich also “reward those that would that would take another’s life,” It deals with a controversial, extra-judicial pursuit of “justice.” Both films are about the human side of a political act of violence, viewed as righteous by the perpetrator’s community.

  8. I wouldn’t sign any petitions to suppress Paradise Now, but it is important to acknowledge that it’s a group of bereaved parents behind the motion.
    People stand in awe of Rachel Corrie’s parents, but when a group of people want to express themselves about a film depicting suicide bombers like those that killed their children, they are ridiculed.
    The film should not be suppressed, but it should not he treated as a holy object either. It deals with very difficult issues and not everything it says stands up to scrutiny.
    That being said, anyone who wants to read my review of the film is invited to visit Leave a comment if you disagree with me. I’d love to see some debate about the content of the film rather than whether it should be shown or not.

  9. Oh when will there be a film that humanizes IDF bulldozer operators? They need love too. And will it be nominated for an Oscar?

  10. On both sides of the conflict are people threatened by the very idea of hearing another side, of listening to ‘the other.’
    I can sympathize, because I can’t bear to hear from this fragile, angry threatened people. Can’t someone please shut them up? They’re drowning out the people worth listening to!

  11. sam– no, that would be the case if his aunt were a “fully integrated israeli citizen.” What Abu-Assad’s aunt can and cannot do has no effect on his status as an Israeli.

  12. I need to see the movie, I just read a review of it in Azure magazine. From what I understand, Paradise Now is critical of suicide bombing, but from a Palestinian point of view. The premise is that the occupation has dehumanized Palestinians so much that they turn to cruel demagogues who use them as weapons against Israelis.
    Whatever. The movie sounds like it is definitely critical of suicide bombing. And I think that it is an interesting thing to look at what a bomber goes through. And this is supposed to be a critical look. To those who want to boycott this movie so badly, all I can say is choose your battles wisely. We really should stop being so uptight, even though this is a sensitive issue. Even though I do not like Michael Lerner and his Tikkun clan (unless this is a different one), you can definitely tell that Abu-Assad’s heart is in the right place, even if his politics are disagreeable. Didn’t he open his movie in Tel-Aviv? Like all of us, he wants peace in the end. Making a fuss about him and his movie only make the efforts of such people appear futile.

  13. Anybody else think its a little upsetting that the director calls such crticism of his film “racist and fascist”?
    “They are not just opposed to my film; they also claim to represent all Jews, he states. This is why such an article is “racist and fascist,” he says.”
    Is it racist and fascist that he believes his film to represent the views of the Palestinian people?
    Lightnen up dum-dum!

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