Anti-Islamic film linked to pro-Israeli groups

An anti-Islamic documentary, promoted by the two most-watched U.S. cable networks, CNN and Fox News, was marketed and supported by pro-Israeli groups, according to an IPS investigation.

Anti-Islamic film linked to pro-Israeli groups

The film, titled "Obsession: Radical Islam's WarAgainst the West", includes pictures of Palestinian resistance fighters,footage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Nazi rallies, with the aimof comparing the threat posed by "radical Islam" to that of Nazi Germany in the1930s.

"Obsession", produced by Raphael Shore, a Canadian now living in Israel, anddirected by Wayne Kopping of South Africa, ran on CNN and Fox News, which airedit seven times in November last year. Both networks praised the film, withCNN's right-wing pundit Glen Beck calling it "one of the most importantfilms of our time", and Sean Hannity of FOX News describing it as"shocking beyond belief".

But neither station acknowledged the film's connection to HonestReporting, awatchdog group that monitors the media for the alleged negative portrayals of Israel.

HonestReporting admits that it marketed "Obsession" but denies itproduced or funded the project. "We initially gave some guidance to the'Obsession' staff," wrote Pesach Bensen, editor of Mediabackspin.com, theorganization's weblog, in an email response to IPS.

HonestReporting was set up in 2002 by British university students who objectedto what they considered anti-Israeli coverage by European media in response tothe second Palestinian intifada, or uprising.

Although the film's website doesn't mention HonestReporting, the group's namedoes appear at the end of the film's credits.

Moreover, a call for tax-deductible donations to help "launch" thedocumentary appeared on HonestReporting's website, promising a free DVD of"Obsession" upon release. Contributors of 250 dollars or more werepromised a free copy of the book "Israel: Life in the Shadow ofTerror". An entry on Mediabackspin.com, the organization's weblog, alsodescribes HonestReporting as a "proud partner" of the film.

The documentary has sparked debate on U.S. university campuses, whereMuslim students opposed its screening, saying that it would spur hate crimesagainst them.

"Obsession" was screened on 30 campuses last semester -- along with DVD saleson the Internet and showings at synagogues. But administrators in some collegespressured student groups not to show the film.

According to the New York Times, a Middle Eastdiscussion group that planned to screen the film found out that thedistributors of "Obsession" require the audience to register withIsraelActivism.com, the Web site of Hasbara Fellowships, a pro-Israeli groupwhich aims to train students "to be effective pro-Israel activists ontheir campuses."

The founder of Hasbara helped found HonestReporting. Rabbi Ephraim Shore, the president ofHonestReporting, also helped found Hasbara.

Although the film contains disclaimers stating that "it's important toremember most Muslims are peaceful and do not support terror," criticsargue that it makes little distinction between the Islamic religion and thepolitical realities that fuel terrorism.

"It's all part of that industry of Muslim bashers," said IbrahimHooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Norah Sarsour, a Palestinian-American university student, said it wasdisheartening to see "a film like this that takes the people who havehijacked the religion and focuses on them."

Some Rabbis also spoke out against the film, describing it as biased.

It was "a way to transfer the Middle East conflict to the campus, topromote hostility," said Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller, director of the HillelJewish student group at Pace University in New York, which canceled the screening of the film lastNovember.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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