Philip Weiss writes: Last week I saw a riveting new Israeli film about moral corruption in the government. The Gatekeepers features lengthy interviews with six former heads of the security service, Shin Bet, who repudiate the security policy they carried out. The men say that Palestinians committed acts of terror due to political causes Israeli leaders refuse to address, that the Israeli methods of attacking the symptoms are themselves a form of terrorism, and Israel should be talking to Hamas.
In the takeaway moment of the movie, Avraham Shalom, a ruthless former official now old and reflective, tells filmmaker Dror Moreh that the Israelis are really no different from the Nazis in their occupations of Belgium, France and Czechoslovakia.
If a member of Congress or a mainstream columnist said any of this, he or she would be run out of town on a rail. Palestinians have said as much for years and been vilified. Israelis are allowed.
Of course it is great news that this stark and stylish film was featured in the New York Film Festival and that it has been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. The film’s prominence, following the earlier success of The Law in These Parts and 5 Broken Cameras, signals a new discourse in the United States: Our prestige media are going to start talking about the vicious cruelty of the occupation.
And when you consider that this film was essentially authorized by the six former Shin Bet men– “They all approved the movie,” Moreh said at the screening I attended– it is a sign of a fresh political development: The U.S. liberal establishment is beginning to echo Ehud Olmert’s warning of five years ago, that Israel is going to commit national suicide if it does not end the occupation.
Fears of Israel’s demise motivated the Shin Bet men to talk to Moreh. They are trying to save Israel. [Continue reading…]