Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Gatekeepers: A Must See

The Gatekeepers: A Must See

If you care about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the State of Israel’s relationship to the occupied territories; the role of the Shin Bet (the Israeli internal security agency, the anti-terrorist organization, “the defender that shall not be seen,” that was formed in 1948); democracy, equality, and justice; and Israel’s relationship with the world, I highly recommend that you go to Rhinebeck’s Upstate Theater to see Israeli journalist and director Dror Moreh’s, Oscar-nominated documentary, “The Gatekeepers.”

This film is noteworthy because it asks tough questions and provides a truth rarely expressed; it focuses on six former heads of the Shin Bet, on men who “called the shots,” as they share their first-hand accounts of Israeli state policies toward the Palestinians from the 1967 Six-Day War (when one million Palestinians came under Israeli control in the West Bank, Gaza, and the Old City of Jerusalem) until now. From my perspective, perhaps most important, is the honesty of these men as they share their humanity; their perceptions about terrorism and terrorists; their ambivalence about the roles they played in helping “secure” the state of Israel while simultaneously committing acts of terror; their opinions about the true cost of Israel’s on-going occupation; and the frightening role of the religious right in Israel.

“The Gatekeepers” asks about agencies such as the Shin Bet creating their own rules of law; using inhuman and illegal techniques of prisoner interrogation, torture, and targeted assassinations; and over-stepping lines of legality and morality.

My questions are: Does the government of the State of Israel truly want peace? Can a Jewish State be a democracy? Why are U.S. politicians attempting to silence or censor people by trying to shut down presentations? Why are leaders of synagogues reluctant to follow traditional Jewish commitment to elu v’elu, hearing different views and allowing space for wrestling with the very difficult questions about Israel/Palestine? And, why are those of us who question Israeli state policy labeled anti-Semitic?

This is a film that as many of us as possible should see and discuss.

Helaine Meisler

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