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A documentary movie critical of the Middle East can't get distributed in the United States. Universities refuse to show it. Nobody claims the documentary shows false information, but it will offend the powers-that-be. From a New York Times article:

"If it were used in a class...it would have to be treated as a polemic and placed in that context..."

[S]creenings were canceled under pressure at Pace and Stony Brook"

Quoth a Rabbi:

ďThe question is how to break down the stereotypes facing the two religions."

Is this the Israel Lobby in action once again?




Are the nefarious elders of Zion, the evil New York money people of Mr. Carter's imagination, once again ganging up to suppress the truth about the Middle East?

Not exactly. The documentary movie in question is Obsession. It documents extremist Islamist radical propaganda. If you have not seen it, take about 20 minutes to view the movie clips at http://www.Obsessionthemovie.com and especially the twelve minute abridged version here.

Granted, a few mistakes were made in making this movie, which betray the ideological convictions of those who made it. The footage from Palestinian, Iranian and al-Manara Hezbollah TV speaks for itself. Right-wing iconic commentators Emerson and Glick add nothing to the message. Their presence detracts credibility. But that is not why the movie was banned, was it? If the Breaking the Silence group were to appear in a classroom, they would also have to be labeled a polemic, but the professor who opposed showing obsession on those grounds, would hardly have opposed an appearance by the anti-Israel Breaking the Silence group, would he?

To what lengths will American academia go, in order to deny reality? The most damaging scene in this movie, perhaps, is the attack on the Twin Towers. Do they teach about that in the universities? Are students from Stony Brook enjoined to avoid downtown Manhattan? Or are they taught that 9-11 was the work of the Mossad and the FBI?

Sure there is a lot of reactionary rhetoric in this film. You can't get much more reactionary than Hassan Nassrallah and a hundred thousand followers yelling "Death to America," or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his "World without America." Certainly there is a lot of sick violence. You can't get much sicker or more violent than little Palestinian kids training with submachine guns, and sweet little girls explaining that they want to blow themselves up.

It was a mistake to adopt Obsession as a "hasbara" issue, as the director and producer have done. The message is much bigger than our little conflict here, and it has little to do with it in reality. It is not about Jews. You don't have to be Jewish to understand "Death to America!" It is not a problem to be debated by rabbis and Talmudic scholars. There is nothing complicated or Jewish about the message. It is understood in Bahrain, where TV panelists warn about the dangers of extremist rhetoric, but it is not OK to discuss the problem in US universities.

Please take the time to view the clips from Obsession. If you agree that this movie is important, make sure that others see it. The most frightening aspect of the movie is not the content, which many of us have known about for years, but the obstinate refusal of so many Americans to deal with the reality it represents.

Ami Isseroff


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