Even for those acutely aware of the rise of anti-Semitism worldwide, viewing “Jew Bashing: The New Anti-Semitism,” a new, investigative documentary, is a profoundly disturbing experience. It is also a must-see.
The impressive feature, written and produced by award-winning Canadian-Israeli filmmaker and former war correspondent Martin Himel, is divided into four segments: the Middle East, Europe, the US and Canada. Each is approximately 45 minutes long, and the viewer remains spellbound throughout. Canadian media visionary Moses Znaimer is the executive producer and a different section of the series will be screened on Canada’s VisionTV on Monday evenings throughout the month of May.
Himel, often undercover, interviews a wide range of scholars, politicians, thinkers, activists, hatemongers and diverse religious leaders. He touches upon every aspect of this alarming revival of the world’s oldest hatred, albeit largely in the guise of anti-Zionism.
Others have already written or lectured on modern-day anti-Semitism, Himel acknowledged in an interview with The Times of Israel. “But what’s different about this documentary is that it lets you see it. You have to meet them [anti-Semites]; you have to be an investigative reporter. My goal was to show it on camera. You can feel the hatred and it speaks for itself. When you capture it on camera, you let the viewer really feel it, and it’s uncomfortable to watch.”
‘You can feel the hatred… and it’s uncomfortable to watch’
Although anti-Semitism in the West often masquerades as anti-Zionism, Himel provides shocking interviews with open Jew-haters who call for extermination of the Jewish race. He points out that promoting hate literature is legal in the US – unlike in Canada and other Western countries – and is readily accessible worldwide on the Internet, which is a “heaven for hard-core anti-Semitism” and has “led to bloodshed.”
Many would deny that anti-Semitism threatens the civilized world. For them, as well as for peace-loving Israelis who cannot fathom the intense hatred for Jews that exists in much of the Arab world, this documentary is an important eye opener.
As part of the programming for last month’s Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, a version of the documentary, focusing on the blossoming of anti-Semitism on the Internet, was shown on Channel 2. Many Israelis have difficulty accepting the existence of this phenomenon, Himel said in the interview.
“They don’t know what anti-Semitism is,” having been relatively sheltered from it. Regarding terror and intifadas, “it’s not the same thing… They see it in terms of a land-to-land issue.
“There’s a big undercurrent of anti-Semitism in Europe. Israelis aren’t aware of it because they haven’t experienced it.”
However, there’s also “a lot of anti-Semitism in Gaza. Hamas says the Holocaust is a Jewish plot… It’s hard for Israelis to swallow it.”
According to Himel, many North American Jews are similarly unable to grasp the situation, having grown up in a golden era.
He opens his segment on the Middle East by saying: “The politically correct formula for peace in the Middle East is Israel giving up occupied territory in return for peace with the Arab world. But that plan is ignoring the elephant in the Mideast room: Anti-Semitism is making a big comeback in the region. Jews are now responsible for every calamity, from disease in Pakistan to putting a spell on Bin Laden so that he’ll attack America.”
In Lahore, Pakistan, “most here never met a Jew, but many believe the Jews are the greatest evil on earth.”
‘Most here never met a Jew, but many believe the Jews are the greatest evil on earth’
This ignorance is not unique to Pakistan and the Middle East. One scene at an anti-Israel demonstration in the US would be humorous if not for the danger.
A 20-something Jewish demonstrator explains his activism against the Jewish state, saying: “I forget the theology. But, you know, they tend to do pogroms. Jews don’t proselytize, [and] then they want to take over the world by control. It’s kind of an inherently racist religion. I always felt this as a kid. You know, it’s right there in the book [Torah]. I never studied it. It’s inherently tribalistic. It’s inherently racist.”
The Canadian segment explores, among other issues, rising anti-Semitism in the Church, where promoters of an economic boycott of Israel refuse to discuss why they limit their activism to Israel while ignoring massive human-rights abuses in several Muslim countries, including violent persecution of Christian communities. According to Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, “there’s something really perverse about this.”
“Anti-Semitism will never disappear, Himel told the Times of Israel. “But I think that as long as people talk about it and say it exists and condemn it, the situation could be contained significantly by bringing awareness and by showing that this is ugly and hateful, and that it’s not acceptable.”
It is indeed worrisome to see the similarities between increasing anti-Jewish tactics today and those applied in the years leading up to the Holocaust, including attempts to ruin Jewish businesses and blaming the Jews for all of society’s ills. If this sounds like an exaggeration, watch the documentary and think about the motto, “Never Again.”
The series is being aired in Canada during the month of May on VisionTV on Monday evenings, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT. It can be seen on Rogers 60 + 237, Bell 261, Shaw Direct 394. For more information, go to www.visiontv.ca. It will be shown in the US at a future date as yet undetermined.