New York – The ZOA has described as a disgrace the nomination for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film Category for the film Paradise Now, made by the Dutch-Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, which legitimizes Palestinian suicide bombers. Paradise Now tells the story of two Palestinians, Said and Khaled, recruited to carry out suicide bombings against Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv during the 48 hours leading up to their terrorist acts.
The film, which opened in October and received a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign picture, has taken in over $1 million domestically. It also won the European Oscar last December on the very day of a suicide bombing in Netanya by the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which killed 6 Israelis and maimed over 30 more. Paradise Now humanizes the bombers and demonizes Israelis without depicting them in any detail, except for some Israeli soldiers, not even the bombers victims.
Examples of critical commentary on the film:
- Israelis are depersonalized and utterly demonized. For most of the film we see Israelis only as soldiers: ominous, hard-eyed, helmeted, armed or in tanks. The film betrays no understanding that there is more than one side to this tragic story … the film is supremely ahistorical, anti-historical, and it is also based on a series of lies and omissions (Phyllis Chesler, FrontPageMag.com, November 1, 2005).
- Propagandistic … whitewashes Palestinian suicide bombing (Daniel Pipes, New York Sun, November 15, 2005).
- … we find it unlikely a film delving into the inner struggles of the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center or who murdered in London, Madrid, Baghdad or Bali will be produced, let alone showered with the same accolades. The reception accorded Paradise Now reinforces the impression that, in the current global struggle against Islamist terrorism, our blood is somehow not as red as everyone elses (Jerusalem Post, editorial, January 17, 2006)
- It is an extremely dangerous piece of work, not only for Israel and the Middle East but the whole world. This movie delivers the message that suicide bombings are legitimate tactics for those who feel they have exhausted all other means of resistance … Awarding such a movie as Paradise Now only implicates the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in the evil chain of terror that attempts to justify these horrific acts (Yossi Zur, Washington Jewish Week, January 26, 2006).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, It is disgraceful that a film that so badly distorts the truth behind Palestinian suicide bombing has been honored with awards and nominations. This film completely omits the pathological hatred of Jews, Judaism and Israel that permeates life in the Palestinian Authority ever since it was set up in 1994. Palestinians are fed a steady diet of incitement to hatred and murder and glorification of suicide death in the PA media, mosques, schools and youth camps.
None of this is shown in the film. Instead, the murderous passions of Palestinians are blamed on Israeli policies. There is no clue whatsoever that Palestinians do not truly accept Israels existence and therefore will not make peace with her. On the other hand, one of the bombers is seen making their pre-suicide shaheed speech, accusing Israel of ethnic cleansing and rejecting a two-state solution, both of which are nonsense, without the film offering any corrective information. Viewers are left to believe that these false accusations are true.
Astonishingly, one of the bombers decides not to board a bus full of Israeli civilians when he sees a toddler on board. This is the opposite of reality. Palestinians suicide bombers have gone out of their way to murder and maim as many innocent Israeli civilians as possible. When Palestinian suicide bombers have detonated themselves inside crowded Israeli commuter buses, hotels, pizza parlors, discotheques and shopping malls, they havent killed Israeli civilians accidentally.
This film completely distorts the background, causes and behavior of suicide bombers. We strongly urge the Oscar committee not to award an Oscar to this dishonest piece of pro-Palestinian propaganda.