Jews are about to be demonised in the soon to be released From Balfour To Banksy, a new documentary film by Martin Buckley. In it Jews are portrayed as Nazis, thieves and thinking they’re the superior race.
Buckley is ex-BBC and now senior lecturer in journalism at Southampton Solent University. In From Balfour To Banksy, which was shown at SOAS on Monday night, he interviews Palestinians living next to Israel’s security wall. His cameraman/editor is Alexander Wilks, a 23-year-old graduate just out of film school. The producer is Miranda Pinch, a Christian-believing Jewish woman.
Soon into the film we hear a Palestinian describe Gaza as a “child concentration camp”. This evokes the image of Jews as Nazis.
We are also sold the lie that “Jewish-only highways feed the settlements”. Then, after more accusations that Israel is an “apartheid state”, Buckley says:
“It’s surely amazing that Israel, built by the survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust, could be accused of the notorious human rights violation that scars South Africa. But for over a decade critics outside and inside Israel, Jews as well as Arabs, have been accusing Israel’s right-wing governments of practising apartheid. Shocking as the accusation of apartheid is it has serious formal backing.”
In Jerusalem Buckley then finds a Jewish-Israeli family who invite him over for dinner. One of the family members tells Buckley that Israeli children are taught in school: “We are the chosen ones, everyone else is beneath us.” This false accusation is an antisemitic trope.
The scene moves to Tel Aviv where we are told “Palestinians have lived for hundreds of years”, eventhough Tel Aviv was founded in 1909. Buckley interviews Palestinian students at Tel Aviv University. The claim is made that TAU is built over a Palestinian village.
A student tells him that when Palestinians had left their houses in Tel Aviv Jews simply chose which ones they wanted to live in. She said they “found gold and money” in these houses. It was also claimed that Palestinians are not allowed to tend their graves there.
There were some disturbing scenes of Israeli soldiers hitting Palestinians. The scenes were possibly culled from the websites of Breaking The Silence and B’Tselem. We are not told what, if any, criminal action was taken against the soldiers.
These scenes end with Israeli soldier Elor Azaria shooting dead a Palestinian terrorist in Hebron. It merely looks as if Azaria has shot dead an innocent Palestinian. There is no explanation, no context and no information about Azaria’s manslaughter conviction and jail sentence.
In another scene Buckley stands in front of a building and claims that on its balcony a Palestinian child was shot dead. We don’t get to see who the child was or learn his or her name, just that the child was “taken out” by an Israeli soldier.
Buckley then stays at Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem. It’s situated next to the security wall. The hotel contains, inter alia, a statue of Lord Balfour and cheesy souvenirs from England like Lady Diana bric-a-brac. Buckley thinks this symbolises “the little Englandism of Brexit”.
The film ends claiming Israel “sells weapons to dictatorships and rogue regimes”.
Throughout the film there is no criticism whatsoever of Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups or interviews with Israeli victims of their bombings which would put the security wall in context.
During the Q&A I asked Buckley whether he found the reference to Gaza being a “child concentration camp” offensive. He merely answered that what was offensive was Palestinians living behind a wall.
He also said that many Palestinian views didn’t make it into the film for fear of offending. I’m not sure what could be more offensive than considering Gaza a “child concentration camp”.
With about 10 minutes left of the Q&A things got heated. Eventually some Israeli flags came out and Am Israel Chai was sung. I’m happy to report myself and others then had some decent discussions with other audience members.
Meanwhile, Wilks would do himself a favour by splitting from Buckley and Pinch while the film is still a rough cut. Its vile antisemitic rhetoric shouldn’t see the light of day again.