(June 11, 2019 / JNS) Amid pushback, Takoma Park in Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., postponed a scheduled screening this week of an anti-Israel documentary narrated by pro-BDS activist and former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters.
“The proposed June 13 screening of the film, ‘The Occupation of the American Mind’ in the Takoma Park Community Center as part of the ‘We Are Takoma’ series has spurred expressions of concern and support from a number of organizations and individuals,” according to the municipality’s post on Facebook. “The Takoma Park City Council appreciates the comments and has asked that the screening of the film be postponed to a later date.”
They continued, “We wish to allow space for a conversation about the points the film makes in a way that allows for people to express their thoughts and perspectives and explore what has changed since the film was made given the current politics in Israel and the United States. How that conversation takes place is still to be determined. The Council appreciates that several organizations have expressed interest in helping us think through an appropriate approach.”
According to Culture SpotMD, a website by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, where Takoma Park is located, the film “is a captivating documentary that reveals how the Israeli government, U.S. government, and pro-Israel lobbying groups have engaged in a decades-long propaganda campaign to shape American media coverage of Israel and its occupation of Palestinian lands … the film examines how the Israeli government has sought to avoid condemnation for civilian deaths, the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank that are a ‘flagrant violation’ of international law according to the United Nations.”
Zionist Organization of America national president Mort Klein told JNS that the “insidious Orwellian propaganda film calls pro-Israel truth ‘propaganda,’ and labels Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups’ lies as ‘truth.’ The film even claims that it is ‘propaganda’ to report that Hamas is raining rockets down on Israel, that Hamas’s terror tunnels endanger Israeli civilians, and that Israel has the right to defend itself from all this. The film then tries to blame Israeli/Jewish media operations, for what the film labels as pro-Israel ‘propaganda.’ ”
The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America applauded Takoma Park’s decision.
“Takoma Park is headed in the right direction by postponing the showing of ‘The Occupation of the American Mind,’ ” CAMERA media analyst Dexter Van Zile told JNS. “Hopefully, organizers will find a more honest and credible film to show because ‘Occupation’ is rank propaganda.
“The film includes doctored quotes, manipulated to demonize Israel. It’s simply a dishonest hit job produced by, Sut Jhally, an anti-Israel professor at UMASS Amherst,” said Van Zile. “He’s worked hard to mainstream anti-Israel commentators like Roger Wagers and Linda Sarsour into the American mainstream, but for whatever reason, Takoma Park decided to draw the line against his propaganda. Good for them.
“Hopefully,” he continued, “this will slow down Jhally’s effort to hypnotize young Americans into believing every anti-Israel trope that comes down the pike from the anti-Israel fabricators who’ve been given way too much play in American civil society.”
Stand With Us CEO Roz Rothstein said “we are pleased that Takoma Park has decided to postpone showing the documentary. At a time of rising anti-Semitism, screening a film that makes inflammatory accusations against Jews (that they control the American media and the U.S. government) and is narrated by a known anti-Semite Roger Waters is extremely problematic. We are grateful the municipality recognized that a film like this only fuels ill will against the Jewish people.”
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