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Searing Film ‘Tears of Gaza’ Offers No Context

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Tears of Gaza is a strange bird, a documentary that has a total grasp of its subject—the suffering of Gazans, particularly children, during Operation Cast Lead—but is almost defiant in its lack of context. Focusing on the 22 days when the IDF launched a devastating military campaign in Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009, Tears of Gaza presents some of the most extraordinary footage of urban combat that I’ve ever seen. Its scenes of people scouring the rubble of apartment buildings and languishing in bloody hospital emergency rooms are difficult to watch. The smoke from bomb detonations, mixing with the dust of collapsed buildings, fills the screen like an apocalyptic weather event.

But Tears of Gaza, which is screening this week in New York, offers no background material about the nature of the conflict, such as that Israel launched an air and ground campaign against Hamas in response to repeated rocket fire against towns near the Gaza strip. Some characters in the film make mention of the economic blockade, but it’s otherwise unexamined. Nor is there discussion about the Goldstone inquiry and the controversy it engendered. We also don’t learn that Operation Cast Lead, while a particularly destructive and deadly campaign, can be seen as part of a cycle of tit-for-tat violence between the IDF and militant groups in Gaza. The word “Hamas” goes similarly unspoken.

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PhillipNagle says:

Feeling sorry for the people in Gaza is like feeling sorry for the Germans in WW II.

    Uh huh, here’s a list of countries invaded by Israel: Egypt (1956, 1967), Syria (1967), Lebanon (1978, 1982, 2006), and the remainder of Palestine (1967). How many countries has Gaza, which isn’t a state or a country, invaded? Zero. And Gaza has no regular army to invade anything with.

    So how is Gaza analogous to Germany circa WWII?

      PhillipNagle says:

      Since Egypt considered itself at war with Israel in 1956 (not having accepted defeat when its 1947 invasion of Israel failed) and imposed an illegal blocade in 1967, to refer to what Israel did as invasion is at best questionable. In 1967 Syria opened fire on Israel first and had been harrassing Israeli farmers in the upper Gallilee since 1947. Lebanon has continually allowed its territory to be used for offensive operations against Israel. In 1967 there was no Palestine (a case can be made there is no Palestine in 2012) but I believe you are refering to Jordan, which claimed Judea and Samaria, and was asked to stay out out of the 1967 but opened fire anyway. Now we come to Gaza which has continually allowed offensive operations against Israel and has allowed thousands of rockets to be launched against Israeli cities. If such outrages were perpetrated on the US border with Mexico you would see similar military action. Further, Hamas, who won the last Palestinian election and controls Gaza, has refused any attempt to make peace with Israel.

      kweansmom says:

      No, they just have terrorists to penetrate the border with Israel and carry out attacks against civilians.

Beatrix17 says:

If it had context, it wouldn’t be good propaganda.

Here we go again Isreal can do no WRONG!

fieldinski says:


In a world of Hitler and Jews

you have only one choice anymore —

you can either be Hitler

or the Jews.

Every Jew will understand this.

Israel’s motto is “Never again”

and declares the end of history,

our history of being the victim.

It’s what it has finally taught us —

in a world of Hitler and Jews

there’s no other choice –

be Hitler.

Surrounded by enemies,

actual or possible,

with an occasional rocket

to ignite the threat of attack,

you finally go crazy,

like Stalin, who translated

the ideals of communism

into a police state.

And like the Israelis

trying to crush the Palestinians.

The rest of the world may not like it

but you can’t argue with fear.

Nobody else wants to be The Jews either.

If the Palestinians get their state,

they will become Hitler, our Hitler,

and we will again become The Jews –

in fact the Israelis have made that likely

with the brutal occupation.

There’s also the greed factor,

the way our ‘pioneers’ dealt with the Indians

to grab the land –

Hitler based his Eastern policy on ours,

rounding up and exterminating the people

of the conquered lands to the east

as we did in our west.

Horrified as the civilized world is,

it’s our history led us to this —

that in a world of Hitler and Jews

better be Hitler,

be Hitler, never again the Jews.

Nothing to argue about,

you can’t talk away fear —

huddled together in a tiny country,

even with a powerful army

and the atom bomb –

it’s built in.

Every Jew will understand this,

and that is the tragedy —

for now everything is set

for a continuation of our doleful history–

expelled from our difficult homeland again,

where we are The Eternal Jew,

the world’s pariah,

the role we cannot shed,

the role we’re destined for.

michaele weissman says:

It breaks my heart that we as Jews, especially at this time of year, cannot
accommodate the simple fact that other people–even when we deplore their politics or their political leaders–that other people are real and they suffer. We might at times (as with the bombing of German cities)
decide that this suffering is justified. But the suffering is real and it must be part of the political calculus, the moral calculus and the human calculus. When we forget this, we have turned our back on the highest ethical teachings of our own tradition.


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Searing Film ‘Tears of Gaza’ Offers No Context

This week in Jewcy, our partner site

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