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Monday, Mar 4, 2024

Letter to the Editor Documentary Director Defends His Purpose

Author: Hazim Bitar

To The Editor:

For David Schwartz and Amichai Kilchevsky to describe the murder of my grandfather and my uncle in 1948 and the killing of 23-year-old Osama Jaddah back in Sept. 29, 2000 by Israelis as propaganda ("One Side of Debate Hides Two Sides of Middle East Truth," The Middlebury Campus, November 14, 2001) is appalling and utterly insensitive. But then again, these are the same people who accused Palestinian mothers of sending their children to be killed by Israelis so those mothers can win cash rewards. I must admit that friends of Israel have followed a brilliant and successful strategy in the United States. If Israel cries victim louder than the Palestinians, it will create enough confusion and force others to suspend judgment. With this strategy, they managed to transform Israelis who possess over 100 nuclear warheads with a vast arsenal of jetfighters and modern armament into victims of the people they oppressed and occupied since 1967.

I can assure you Osama Jaddah did not volunteer to get killed so I could make a propaganda documentary. The same is true for my relatives and friends who got killed under Israeli occupation. I can also state with 100 percent certainty that Palestinians do not occupy any part of Israel nor are there millions of Israelis living in refugee camps as a result of Palestinian ethnic cleansing of Jews. Just because there are two sides to a conflict, the truth is not in the middle. The Palestinians' right to struggle for independence from Israeli occupation is the same right the Allies enjoyed back in World War II. We Palestinians do not believe we are lesser humans who have to play by different rules then those enjoyed by Europeans.

The United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 signed back in 1967 by the United States, Britain, France and a host of other countries demands for Israel to end its occupation of Palestinians and proclaims the "inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force." There are no United Nations resolution asking for Palestinians to end any occupation or to repatriate any refugees. Could the United Nations be a co-conspirator in my propaganda film?

The fact both authors failed to respond to any specifics in my film is very telling. To me, David and Amichai are not only cruel for belittling my personal tragedy as some cheap propaganda ploy, they are victims of their own hateful ideologies and have no qualms exploiting the persecution of Jews in Europe to rationalize the oppression of Palestinians who had nothing to do with those atrocities. This is cheap propaganda.

—Hazim Bitar, Director, "Jerusalem's High Cost of Living," presented at the College on November 7