Gerald Honigman is a Florida educator who has done extensive doctoral work in Middle East studies, has lectured on numerous university and other platforms. He has debated many of the best Arab and pro-Arab academics in public debates and on television. Mr. Honigman is widely published in academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other publications.
Miral aka Schnabel's Fables…Or, Goldstone Goes Tinseltown
by Gerald A. Honigman
So, what else is new? Another Lefty Hollywood Hebrew has come to see the light about the alleged wickedness of Israel…That's fairly typical these days--so why the fuss over Julian Schnabel's new film, Miral?
Well, for starters, why not a Hollywood Hebrew film titled Anfal, or Darfur, etc.? But more on this later…
True, Schnabel has an Arab girlfriend, Rula Jebreal, who has helped him appreciate the error of his allegedly former ways; but, after all, by his own words, he's the son of a Hadassah leader--so supposedly needed some extra attention to arrive at his epiphany.
I have admittedly not seen the movie, and won't…but have seen the trailers and read the reviews and interviews.
I have scrutinized similar Arab accounts and assertions which have captivated Schnabel for well over four decades now. Over the years--including in-depth doctoral studies and professional work in this field--I have researched this subject in great depth, and my own new book on the Arab-Israeli conflict ( http://q4j-middle-east.cm ) is documented, largely with primary sources, to the now ex-planet Pluto.
Look, there is no conflict in which there are not at least two sides to any given story.
In this case, the problem is that the events upon which Miral is based are told solely in their Arab version.
Given the Arab track record for blatant lying, especially to "Infidels" for the sake of the cause, Schnabel's blanket endorsement of such Arab truths is inexcusable. Arabs even have names for such legitimate lying--taqiyya and kitman--and they indulge in this deception frequently. During the Six Day War, they swore they shot down hundreds of Israeli planes and that their own losses were due to Americans, not Israelis. Their leaders were caught on tape concocting the lies.
Miral evidently opens with reference to the alleged massacre of Arabs at Deir Yassin by members of two Jewish militias in rivalry with the mainstream Socialist Zionist-oriented Haganah.
Orphans are gathered up and the story unfolds, revealing yet another updated version of the Arabs' and Left's assertion of the Nazis' choice victims now turned into Nazis themselves…with Arabs as the new Jews.
Unless the viewer is an historian--which most aren't--he will not know that the village of Deir Yassin was strategically located to support the on-going devastating Arab siege and blockade of Jerusalem; that "militants" who had been involved in hostilities against Jews had occupied and taken refuge in the village; that as the Jewish militias approached, they were immediately fired upon from houses from within the village and a long and bloody battle ensued; that the Jews left an escape corridor for civilians and hundreds took advantage of this; etc., etc., and so forth.
When the dust settled, it was initially claimed that there were some 250 Arab casualties. Later research done by the Arabs' own scholars at Bir Zeit University with Deir Yassin residents reduced that figure to 107. In perspective, the Jews suffered over 40 casualties themselves.
The point here is not to excuse the killings of innocents. And I am sure some non-combatants died in this incident. But it is to say that, given the desperation of the Jews in their attempts to break the strangling blockade of Jerusalem practically on the eve of their invasion by a half dozen Arab armies, the attempt to secure strategically located villages--like Deir Yassin--must be seen in their proper context. Had the Jews set out to commit "massacre," they would not have done such things as leaving an escape corridor open even after they were fired upon or equipped a truck with a loud speaker to warn civilians. And they did those things.
Within a few days of the fighting in Deir Yassin, however, another--of many--massacres of Jews by Arabs indeed occurred…almost 80 doctors, nurses, patients, and the director of the hospital were deliberately slaughtered en route to Hadassah Hospital.
Schnabel's movie, of course, could not care less of any of the above.
Indeed, besides the Arabs' Lefty Jew mouthpieces in academia, Julian has another famous soul brother these days on the international scene…South African jurist, Judge Richard Goldstone.
After being targeted and terrorized by over ten thousand rockets, missiles, and mortars, Israel finally went after Hamas in Gaza a few years back. In the fierce fighting, over a thousand Arabs were killed.
Arabs have long had a habit of using their own non-combatants as human shields to hide behind after targeting Jewish civilians--a double war crime according to the Geneva Conventions (the Perfidy Clause, etc.). Indeed, the tragic incident at Deir Yassin was largely all about this as well.
Like Schnabel, the Lefty Hebrew, Goldstone, simply took the Arabs at their own word regarding the Gaza story, claiming that the Jews deliberately targeted Arab innocents for slaughter. To anyone with open eyes and functioning neurons, it had been obvious for decades that Arab "militants" deliberately set up shop amid their own civilian populations. Numerous pictures, video tapes, and so forth exist which attest to this. Missiles are routinely fired from the vicinity of schools, hospitals, apartment buildings, and so forth.
Years earlier, Jews were repeatedly being targeted and slaughtered by Arabs who used Jenin as their base. When Israel sent its kids house-to house--when it could have blasted Jenin from afar--to limit Arab civilian deaths, it got accused of atrocities--a la Deir Yassin--anyway. Arabs swore that at least 500 civilians were massacred. Independent inquiries--including those done by Arabs themselves--later found out that about 50 Arabs were killed (mostly fighters)--along with about 25 Israeli soldiers. Most of the latter died because of Israel's decision to limit Arab civilian casualties.
Given this pattern, Schnabel's gullibility is beyond pathetic. And, by the way, Goldstone recently recanted much of his initial report.
Gaza, you see, as Yogi Berra would say, was a Deir Yassin déjà vu, again.
The alleged Arab nakba--tragedy--Schnabel's movie endorses was, in reality, largely a self-inflicted one…though the audience will never know this.
Unlike scores of millions of non-Arab peoples in the region, who simply had their lands stolen and forcibly Arabized and had their own native cultures and languages outlawed by their Arab conquerors (going on to this very day), there was an honest attempt made to arrive at a compromise and to address the claims of Arabs--many, if not most, of whom were also recent arrivals into the Mandate of Palestine themselves--as well as Jews in the land. To this end, the British chopped off almost 80% of the original April 25, 1920 Mandate of Palestine's territory in 1922 and created what would later become known as the Arab nation of Jordan. Sir Alec Kirkbride, the Brits' East Bank representative, had much to say about this in his book, A Crackle Of Thorns, as did Jordan's Emir Abdullah in his memoirs. Others wrote of this as well.
In 1947, another partition was proposed which would have taken the 20% of the land that was left and created another Arab state on roughly half of the remaining territory.
The Arabs rejected this plan…90% of the total area was not enough.
They demanded it all and continued their attacks on their Jewish neighbors instead.
When Israel was invaded upon its rebirth in May 1948 by a half dozen Arab armies, two sets of refugees were created. Indeed, more Jews fled "Arab"/Muslim lands than Arabs did vice-versa. And the Arabs really did flee mostly due to instructions from their own leaders.
When the Jews, at great human cost, finally turned the tide of the Arab invasion, the UN--which watched and did nothing as the Arab states invaded--then jumped in to limit Arab losses and imposed armistice lines--not political borders--on Israel which made it a mere 9-15 miles wide in its strategic waist--where most of its population is located. This only served to invite continuous Arab attacks in the future.
After the renewed Arab attempt on Israel's life in 1967, the final draft of UNSC Resolution 242 promised that this deadly absurd situation would finally change and that Israel would finally get real, more secure political borders.
The Intifada (later Arab uprising) featured in Miral largely occurred because Israel refused to cave in to all the Arab demands to forsake the territorial compromise built in to 242.
Since '67, the openly-admitted Arab game plan called for Israel's destruction in stages--and the first stage was to force it back to its '49 armistice line existence. When Israel refused to forsake this necessary compromise, the Arabs revolted…but not until after Arafat had already rejected an offer at Camp David and Taba in 2000 which would have returned almost all of the disputed land to them anyway.
But enough of this for now…
My intent is not to simply repeat what I and others have answered often before. If you require further elaboration, Google A Tale Of Two Nakbas and/or Self-Inflicted Nakba by me for starters.
The main concern here revolves around why folks like Schnabel, with all of the suffering occurring right in that same general neighborhood, turn a blind eye to everyone else except Arabs.
Where, for example, is the concern for over 100,000 Kurds killed in the Arabs' Anfal Campaign in Iraq--a country (the Mandate of Mesopotamia) where Kurds were promised independence after World War I but wound up getting the shaft instead via a collusion of Arab nationalism and British petroleum politics? Unlike what would happen in the smaller Mandate of Palestine, there would be no attempt to arrive at a compromise so that Kurdish aspirations could also be addressed along with that of the Arabs.
Similar stories could be told regarding scores of millions of Berber, black African, and other victims of Arabs as well--throughout North Africa, the Sudan, and beyond.
The Schnabels, Goldstones, and their ilk don't want to know of any of this…
While Arabs have also suffered, too much of the tragedy befalling the Middle East and North Africa today can be laid right at their own doorstep for them to be pointing fingers elsewhere and for Jew stooges like Schnabel to be singling out Israel for demonization.