PEACE, PROPAGANDA & THE PROMISED LANDNR
Short, powerful, and direct, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land reveals what few people ever see or hear: the Arab side to the Israeli-Palestinian story. Of course, by its very nature, this documentary will inflame those predisposed to the Israeli point of view, but for the open-minded, this is a must-see.
Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land lays out the simple but compelling argument that the Western media has been "occupied" by Israel's propaganda machine, which has masterfully convinced a majority of Americans for many years that the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are "the bad guys" in the endless regional conflict. The film also demonstrates how and why the Western media and political establishments have helped and encouraged this one-sided p.r. blitz. In particular, the film cites the U.S. government's obsession with oil and military base security-combined with pervasive racism and xenophobia.
Co-directors Bathsheba Ratzkoff and Sut Jhally interview many experts and spokespeople from various fields, including academic Noam Chomsky, Palestinian politician and activist Hanan Ashrawi, publisher Michael Lerner and reporter Alisa Solomon.
Last year, Ratzkoff and Jhally collaborated on the superb documentary Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire, about how the Bush administration carefully and cleverly used the tragedy of the World Trade Center bombing to unleash the war in Iraq and expand the U.S. military complex. There are more than a few similarities here to the previous film: solid reporting on little-known facts and statistics; a clear perspective on a complex situation; and basic but professional filmmaking technique. Both films also possess awkward, wordy titles (which may hurt potential sales and viewer interest). At one point early in Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land, the screen reads, "American Media: Occupied Territory." This would have been a better, catchier title, but in an ironic way, the selection of Peace, Propaganda... points out what the film says is the very problem with the Palestinian cause: bad p.r.!
Those who feel about Israel, "My country, right or wrong," will question many things about the film, from the facts presented and their sources, to the clips selected (Israeli army violence and excessive force against Palestinians), to the choice of interview subjects (primarily pro-Palestinian, though several are Jewish). But Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land won't convert those dedicated to conventional or status-quo thinking. Rather, the film is meant for those curious about untold stories and the stories behind the stories, and it is hard to dismiss out of hand.