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All Over But the Shouting

New film documents how hard it is for Jews to talk about Israel

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From Between Two Worlds.(IFC Center )

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: You attend some sort of Jewish event, lik a lecture, or maybe a film festival, and the topic of Israel comes up. Tempers are tested. Tones rise. Before too long, any chance at conversation is drowned by the din of shouts and insults. Most of us suffer such indignities silently. Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow made a movie about it entitled Between Two Worlds, and it opens today at Manhattan’s IFC Center.

It should be difficult for a film to capture the impossibility of talk, the breakdown of communication, but Kaufman and Snitow handle the task with masterful subtlety. By piecing together fragments of contentious events—including divestment talks at Berkeley, a heated Jewish film festival in San Francisco, and the controversy surrounding the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s wish to build a Museum of Tolerance on the site of an ancient Muslim graveyard in Jerusalem—the filmmakers avoid the steely traps of ideological absolutes, and nimbly point out the dangers of censorship and the value of debate.

“We were coming from the idea that a lot of people in the Jewish community, especially young people, feel unentitled, inauthentic, not Jewish enough,” Snitow told me. “What we wanted to communicate is that there are a lot of interesting ideas and thinkers and people out there, and raising these questions, being able to debate, is what has to happen. We didn’t want to have just the screaming matches. We wanted to take it in a different direction.”

You can catch a glimpse of that direction from the exclusive clip below.

Between Two Worlds [IFC Center]
Related: Unbuilt [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: Gehry Speaks Out on Canceled Museum Project

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Thank you, Liel–now that you’ve assured us that the film manages to “avoid the steely traps of ideological absolutes” (presumably every bit as much as you yourself do), I can be confident that it’s in fact virulent far-leftist anti-Israel propaganda, and avoid it like the plague.

The article is dishonest in that there was no Muslim graveyard that was being built upon in Jerusalem – and the attempt to install false gravestones secretly was exposed in the media over and over.

Even the film clip shown was biased and anti-Israeli, with no real discussion but instead the anti_Israeli rhetoric read by a Muslim and a left-wing Jew, who of course cited her family Holocaust heritage and talked about “the oppressed” as if that political statement was the whole of her Judaism – and maybe that is so.

Deborah Kaufman and Alan Snitow are well known as extreme left-wing activists and a search of the internet will reveal this. So of course, their anti-Israeli piece, even when including “the Israeli/Jewish” perspective, will be biased despite claims of “objectivity” showing both sides. This is certainly true of their other films which I have seen.

Bill Pearlman says:

I’m tired of these piss ant Jewish suburban twenty somethings. I’m sick of their soul searching and their angst. I came out of a time and place where loyalty mattered. You didn’t turn on your family, your friends, your people. No matter what.

Abbi says:

So the solution to feeling “unentitled, inauthentic, not Jewish enough” is to just know that you can “debate” even if you have no idea what you’re talking about because you’ve never cracked a Tanach, Talmud or even a good English basic Jewish history book? These unentitled Jews should free to debate about Israel even if they’ve never visited themselsves, never met a real Israeli and get all of their “Israel news” from their campus pro-Palestinian group? Wow, that’s deep thinking.

RACHEL B says:

So this fraud Alan Snitow says he “didn’t want to have just the screaming matches. We wanted to take it in a different direction”.

One question: just what exactly is wrong with screaming matches?

For one, it shows passion and involvement, and an ability to know that not all sides are equally vaid (as these filmmakers seem to think). Sometimes you’re opponent is simply an idiot and sometimes only one point of view is correct.

Screaming matches represent a world-view that cares about issues, is deeply involved, a world-view not concerned with political correctness crap, and a world-view that does believe that some ideas are good and noble, while some are stupid and evil.

Maybe these filmmakers would prefer we be all “seeensitive”, and respect all pints of view (even Hamas’s I am sure). Well, I prefer screaming matches.


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All Over But the Shouting

New film documents how hard it is for Jews to talk about Israel

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