Dustin Hoffman attacked as Jewish fig leaf for Muslim Israel-haters
Here are two articles from Jewish Press. Useful links at bottom.
Dustin Hoffman is giving an award to the maker of a documentary which, according to an IDF membership group, “was edited clip after clip, shot after shot, to the point where it has no connection to reality,” in order to make Israelis look bad. The organization hosting the award ceremony is the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
By Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press
April 26/28, 2013
America’s favorite serious Jewish actor for much of the 1960s and ’70s, Dustin Hoffman, is about to present an award to a filmmaker at an event put on by the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
The recipient of the award is a professional Israel hater, and MPAC is led by someone who publicly suggested Israel was to blame for 9/11 and who advocates for the removal of Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad from the American terrorism list. With Jews like Dustin Hoffman, who needs enemies?
This Saturday, April 27, Dustin Hoffman will appear at MPAC’s Media Award Gala in Los Angeles to present MPAC’s Media Award to the anti-Israel film “5 Broken Cameras.” According to MPAC, Hoffman is a “supporter of the documentary.”
The objective of “5 Broken Cameras,” like that of so many Pallywood videos, is to portray Arabs as the innocent victims of the rapacious Israel. This movie began as video clips of the protests that were submitted as “evidence” to Israeli courts and handed over to be used by mainstream media to show the sad plight of the Arabs. The videos which then became this movie were taken and put together by someone participating on one side of a propaganda war, and not by an objective film maker seeking to document reality – as is the role of documentaries – that fact should have sounded alarm bells for a professional actor of Hoffman’s stature.
In his very first film, “The Graduate,” (1967), Hoffman played a recent college graduate whose parents expect him to do great things, but who was stuck in an emotional and motivational dead zone. His character, Benjamin Braddock, is turned off by the plastic values of his parents’ generation, but has no passion or interests to replace them. And so he is portrayed floating in his parents’ swimming pool, suspended below the water, cocooned in indifference, pondering the bizarre lecture given to him by a family friend about “plastics.”
Over the course of his career, Hoffman’s extraordinary roles included the disabled homeless vet Ratzo Rizzo, in “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), the highly talented yet self-destructive break-through comedian Lenny Bruce in “Lenny” (1974). Hoffman won an Oscar for portraying a newly divorced father painfully attempting to know his young son in “Kramer v. Kramer” (1979), and was nominated for an Oscar for playing the opportunistically gender-bending actor/actress title role in “Tootsie!” (1982).
Hoffman’s stature as a great actor continued into the late 1980′s – he was riveting as an autistic man, Raymond Babbit, in “Rain Main,” for which he won his second Oscar (1988). Hoffman’s movie roles have become more sporadic and less artistically and financially successful in recent years.
Perhaps that explains why he was willing to be used as the latest in a long series of Jewish “fig leaves,” for anti-Israel projects. There seems to be no other reason why the Muslim Public Affairs Council would call upon Hoffman to present an award for a documentary film which portrays Israel in the worst possible light, with no balance or nuance.
Hoffman has never been involved in Middle East issues or interests – other than co-starring in a disastrous film set in Morocco. “Ishtar” (1987) was described in London’s Time Out as “so bad it could almost have been deliberate.”
There had been a rumor – which caught fire and remains rampant on the Internet – that Hoffman snubbed Israel and pulled out of appearing at a Jerusalem Film Festival in 2010 in the wake of the Gaza flotilla incident. However, Yigal Molad Hayo, the associate director of the Cinematheque at which the festival takes place, was quoted in an article in the Jewish Chronicle that the account had not been accurate, and the discussions with Hoffman had not progressed even before the Mavi Marmara incident.
It isn’t hard to imagine why the Muslim Public Affairs Council would want a famous Jewish actor to give them the kosher certification of acceptability (“Dustin Hoffman, the famous Jewish actor, hangs out with us, we must be fine” is the not-so-subtle message). But why would Hoffman agree to participate?
Hoffman is someone whose Jewishness seems to have played very little role in his life other than as a trigger to anti-Semitic bullies, and the fact that his height, his nose, his nasal voice and his plucky, outsider roles are all stereotypically Jewish. Hoffman recently spoke about the complete absence of anything Jewish in his life growing up. He did not become a bar mitzvah and he never learned any Hebrew.
Other than being beaten up for being Jewish – something he then chose to deny in order to avoid getting hurt again – he had no connection to the religion until he married his second wife (the first was Catholic). His four children from his second marriage all became b’nai mitzvah and they celebrate Jewish holidays – but he said that was because of their mother. And then in 2010 Hoffman narrated a documentary “Jews and Baseball.”
Of course, the fact that Hoffman is giving an award to the Arab Palestinian “filmmaker” of the “documentary” “5 Broken Cameras,” is even more delicious for those seeking to demonize Israel. What a thrill to use a very Jewish-looking and -sounding Hollywood icon to make the presentation.
The film, “5 Broken Cameras,” has a plot as thin as pita bread. You already know the plot, even if you’ve never heard of the movie: Israelis are very bad, they violently wrest away the land and the dignity from the poor victimized Arab Palestinians. That’s the story, in a nutshell.
If you want more specifics, “5 Broken Cameras,” chronicles the weekly protests by the Arabs who live in the village of Bil’in, next to which, in 2005, part of Israel’s security fence was erected. That’s right, the security fence which has been credited with shutting down the horrific nightmare of homicide bombings that murdered and injured thousands of human beings – Jews, Arabs and Christians – before it was erected.
The five cameras refer to ones owned by the amateur filmmaker and Bil’in villager Emad Burnat – he’s the one getting the award from Hoffman – who purchased them in order to document the “horrors” of the Israeli encroachment (although some accounts claim the cameras were purchased for the birth of Burnat’s first and then subsequent children).
Burnat recorded the weekly “nonviolent” activities held by the villagers and international agitators who join them to protest the fence. He claims that all five cameras were broken by the Israelis responding to the weekly nonviolent protests against what they call the “Apartheid Wall.”
But the protesters portrayed in “5 Broken Cameras” were revealed as frauds even before the Hollywood crowd took a shine – it was nominated for an Academy Award – to the film. For those who maintain a vigilant watch on news reports about the Arab-Israeli conflict, Bil’in is known for a very different kind of revelation – it is one of the few times the pro-Israel side was able to capture – dead to rights – the Arab Palestinians in a flat out lie.
Jawaher abu Rahma was an Arab woman who lived in Bil’in. In late December, 2010, spilling on into 2011, news reports from dozens of mainstream media outlets claimed that abu Rahma was killed by the Israelis who threw tear gas at the “nonviolent” protesters near the Bil’in part of the security fence. Those outlets got the information from the protesters lionized in Burnat’s film.
How awful. Except that it turned out abu Rahma, who died in a Ramallah Hospital on December 31, 2010, died as the result of medical malpractice at the hospital, completely unrelated to any tear gas. In fact, abu Rahma wasn’t even at the protest that day. A film about how Jawaher abu Rahma actually died, who exploited her death, and why the lies about it weren’t considered news is a film that never will – but should be – made. Would Hoffman present an award to the maker of such a film?
Last month an Israeli NGO representing hundreds of IDF soldiers and reservists, Consensus, filed a letter with Israel’s Attorney General. Consensus wants charges filed against the makers of “5 Broken Cameras” for incitement and slander.
“We can prove how the film was edited, clip after clip, shot after shot, to the point where it has no connection to reality,” the letter from Consensus explains. “The film is ultimately baseless, false and absurd, and as far from reality as east is from west.”
So, in the end, Dustin Hoffman with his honking nasal voice and Semitic nose may be emulating the pattern of the mindless good-looking movie stars against whom he rose as the iconic non-handsome, non-sexy male movie star of the counter-culture years.
Just as the pretty boy actors and actresses were used solely because of their looks and not because of their abilities or range, Hoffman is being used for his looks and “Jewness.”
At the MPAC Awards Gala Hoffman will be a Jewish fig leaf, used for his “appearance” of Jewishness, not because he cares about whether the film he is honoring is honest or truthful. Hoffman is a malleable material poured into the liberal, meaningless mold of “pro-Arab Palestinian.” Perhaps when someone mentioned “plastics” to him in his first movie role they were being prescient.
Dustin Hoffman was unable to attend their Gala, so the Muslim Public Affairs Council found another Jew to present the co-director of the anti-Israel propaganda film with their Media Award.
By Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press
April 30, 2013
Dustin Hoffman sent a recorded congratulations to the filmmaker of “5 Broken Cameras” for the Muslim Public Affairs Council Gala on April 27, 2013
Dustin Hoffman did not make it to the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s 22nd Annual Media Affairs Gala in Los Angeles this past Saturday night. As reported in The Jewish Press, Hoffman was scheduled to present MPAC’s Media Award to Emad Burnat, the co-director of the Arab Palestinian propaganda film “5 Broken Cameras.”
That film is riddled with half-truths and full omissions, but because it fits the standard Hollywood position of “Israel bad, Arab Palestinians good,” its lack of veracity and documentary standards did not prevent it from being nominated this year for an Academy Award for “Best Documentary.” At least it did not win.
But Dustin Hoffman seemed to be an odd choice as the presenter of the award on behalf of the Muslim Public Affairs Council – he is neither Muslim or Arab, nor is he Middle Eastern. In fact, the only connection between Hoffman and either the movie “5 Broken Cameras” or the Arab-Israeli conflict – which is the topic of the film – is that he is Jewish.
Salam al-Marayati, representing the USA at an OESC conference.
Because Hoffman had – or so the story goes – “contracted a very serious virus,” he did not show up at the Gala Saturday night. Perhaps someone with an actual yiddishe kupf advised Hoffman it may not be the best move of his career to appear in promotional pictures with the MPAC leader, Salam al-Marayati.
That’s because Salam al-Marayati tried to blame the 9/11 attacks on Israel and has lobbied the U.S. government to remove Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad from its Foreign Terrorist Organization list. Who knows how pictures of Hoffman at the MPAC Gala might have been used later to boost the legitimacy of MPAC. “See? Dustin Hoffman – and everyone knows he’s a Jew! – loves us, we must be good.”
Hoffman’s taped message of congratulations to Burnat was played at the Gala, and MPAC posted it online. Based on what he says in the brief message, Hoffman appears to have either watched the movie or at least read what it was about. It also appears he made no effort to determine whether the film was a truthful documentary or a mere propaganda film. This is the message Hoffman sent:
Hello, this is Dustin Hoffman. I’m sorry that illness has made it impossible for me to be with you tonight, and that I am compelled to speak to you through this recorded message. I had been looking very forward [SIC] to being the one who, as a fellow artist, would present the award to Emad Burnat and “5 Broken Cameras,” a film he co-directed. It was for me a most powerful, moving and sometimes a very tender film and in it he demonstrates, I think, out of the texture of his own life experience, in the village of Bi’ilin, that his is, indeed, a voice of courage and conscience. Courage and conscience – those are virtues so greatly needed for this troubled and confusing time. Wherever we find them, they should be embraced and celebrated and that’s why I am so thrilled that “5 Broken Cameras” and Emad Burnat are being honored – it is so well deserved. Emad, congratulations, and I hope to see you soon. Thank you.
Courage and conscience? Actually watching the film and making an effort to determine its veracity might warrant such weighty words.
Rabbi Beerman, who espouses the causes of peace and justice, not the one true cause, Israel right or wrong.
But MPAC and Burnat, both of whom were probably disappointed that their opportunity to have a real live famous Jewish movie star pose for pictures with them, were not deterred. In fact, they had another Jew on hand to present the award. Quoting surah 3, ayahs 113-115, MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati introduced Rabbi Leonard Beerman, to present the award to Burnat.
The 91 year-old Beerman is on the J Street Advisory Council, was on the rabbinic cabinet of the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace before it merged with J Street, and in 2009 signed a public letter opposing Israel’s policy in Gaza, which stated, in part,
As human beings, we are shocked and appalled at the mass destruction unleashed by the State of Israel against the people of Gaza in its military operation, following years of Israeli occupation, siege, and deprivation.
As Americans, we protest the carte blanche given Israel by the US government to pursue a war of “national honor,” “restoring deterrence,” “destroying Hamas,” and “searing Israel’s military might into the consciousness of the Gazans.
“My camera is a strong weapon and a strong witness,” Burnat said upon receiving the award.
“We should tell our stories before others hijack them. I got the idea to make this film from one of my friends who said ‘Why don’t you make a film about us, who live here? You know how it is to live under the pressure, under the army, under the occupation.’
“I did this film from my point of view, from my heart, from my mind. I’m very happy because the message was sent to the world, and everybody was shocked and moved by its story.”
No doubt especially shocked were the many members of the Israel Defense Forces who appear in the film which, they claim, was spliced and edited into such a distortion of reality that an organization which represents IDF members and alumni has asked the Israeli Attorney General’s office to bring charges of slander and incitement against the filmmakers.
Jewish Press is a pro-Israeli, very conservative weekly production, founded in 1960. Currently edited by Jason Maoz, previous editors include Meir Kahane.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) is a national American Muslim advocacy and public policy organization headquartered in Los Angeles and with offices in Washington D.C. MPAC was founded in 1986. Not to be confused with Muslim American Public Affairs Council or Muslim Public Affairs Committee UK.
Dustin Hoffman: Finally, I can say I’m Jewish, Jewish Chronicle, November 16, 2006
5 Broken Cameras, made by Emad Burnet and Guy Davidi
The movie that shows that non-violence is not an option for Palestinians
Tuxedos deflect the tear gas; Israeli right wing applauds
Tinsel-town meets the Occupation at Oscars
Youtube removes video about Bil’in village resistance
For backing ’5 Broken Cameras,’ ‘Jewish Press’ smears Dustin Hoffman as has-been ‘figleaf’ with ‘Semitic nose’, Mondoweiss, 29 April 2013
Salam Al-Marayati, Executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, is a hate figure of the American right; in the immediate aftermath of 9/ll he said Israel should be added to the list of suspects. Wrong – but he was not alone in the suspicion. Profile and Biography from Stand4facts.
As American Muslims, we can work in a united front with other Americans in leading our country out of the abyss of terrorism. , Salam Al-Marayati on Boston and Combating Extremism, 26 April 2013.