“Our Boys” May Be Good Television, but Its Message Is Unquestionably Anti-Israel

Sept. 20 2019

The miniseries Our Boys—created, directed, and acted by Israelis and released simultaneously in the U.S. and Israel—takes place in the summer or 2014, on the eve of the Gaza war. At its heart is the abduction and brutal murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, an Arab Jerusalemite, by three religious Jews, and the police who identify and capture the perpetrators. While calling the series “a drama of uncommon power,” Stephen Daisley finds it deeply flawed:

What Our Boys does not tell is the story of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel. They were the Israeli teenagers whose deaths inspired [Abu Khdeir’s murderers]. The yeshiva students were abducted while hitchhiking home from Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion, a hill-scattered region south of Jerusalem and frequent target of Palestinian terrorism. Despite police efforts, their mothers’ appeals, and prayer vigils in Rabin Square, their bodies were found dumped in a field eighteen days later. They had been shot at close range.

The yeshiva boys of Gush Etzion, like thousands of other Israeli victims of homicidal Palestinian anti-Semitism, do not long detain the plot of Our Boys. [We] learn nothing about them. On the other hand, we learn that Mohammed, the Arab victim, went to the mosque faithfully, that he was planning to meet up with a girl from Turkey, and that he preferred flirting with her on WhatsApp to working for his father.

This is a series that communicates a particular perspective on Israel to a particular audience, namely Americans. Brian Lowry has given the game away on CNN.com, writing that the series “puts faces on a conflict often seen—especially in the U.S.—from a distant aerial view.” . . . [W]e can infer that what he means by “distant aerial view” is a view insufficiently sympathetic to the Palestinians. Our Boys does put faces on the conflict—but its Arab faces are almost entirely sympathetic while its Israeli faces are crazed settlers, racist cops, and a smattering of well-meaning liberals trying their best in a suffocatingly hateful society.

Critics have accused the drama of moral equivalence, but in truth there is no equivalence: the introspection is entirely one-sided. All the harsh truths are broken to Israelis, all the urgent conversations about race and hatred are to be held in Hebrew. With the macho-liberal bravado of the Israeli center, Our Boys tells Israelis to shape up but has nothing to say to Palestinians.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Palestinian terror, Protective Edge, Television

 

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

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Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter