Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve

Media Education Foundation’s new documentary THE OCCUPATION OF THE AMERICAN MIND: ISRAEL’S PUBLIC RELATIONS WAR IN THE UNITED STATES, now available for sale, is quite simply the best primer yet produced for American audiences so to understand the conflict. It is a valuable tool that we all need to get into our local libraries and hold screenings of.

Several months ago, in a matter that has little to do with these proceedings, I was asked a pretty easy question by a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology from my alma mater, a woman who once was fired from another university for merely saying the words “occupied territory”, “How did you become interested in the Palestinians?” I replied that it was the now-infamous scene where Dr. Norman Finkelstein righteously bellows at a crowd of know-nothing college students at Waterloo University in Canada, excerpted from the magnificent AMERICAN RADICAL.

I guess everyone who knows this cause and its meaning has their own story like that. After so many years of hasbara and lies, one finally stumbles upon a piece of media that makes everything click. For some it was the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. For others, it was the First Intifada. Still more were converted in the aftermath of the Oslo debacle. Regardless of what it is, there is a moment that occurs to every American when they just become overwhelmed by this revolting state of affairs and begin to study all they can about this conflict.

In my case, I decided to dedicate what skills I have from my film studies training to analyze the cinematic side of the propaganda war, something that has proven to be enlightening in unexpected ways. To that extent, I have watched almost every film Media Education Foundation has produced related to this topic, from the adaptations of Edward Said’s ORIENTALISM and Jack Shaheen’s REEL BAD ARABS to PEACE, PROPAGANDA, AND THE PROMISED LAND. This is the culmination of all that work and demonstrative of Sut Jhally’s MEF coming into its own as a major media player.

At a brisk 90 minutes, narrated by Roger Waters, the audience is given a quick tour of fifty years of American policies and the way that we are now entering a new moment that could finally end this travesty of basic human decency. I say could for a very specific reason, the fact that the Palestinians need a genuine solidarity movement here in the West that can serve as a big tent of what seems to me now to be a variety of disconnected and sometimes internecine organizations.

The best example to my mind of this phenomenon came last year with the childish behavior of Jewish Voice for Peace towards Alison Weir and If Americans Knew over her alleged “anti-Semitism”. Does Alison Weir, as a single-policy advocate, go on the radio shows of a few folks who might be white nationalists? Sure, but that’s how single-policy advocacy works, you need to talk to both sides of the aisle. Why JVP is pulling a page out of the hasbara playbook is beyond me, but that is another matter for another time.

This is symptomatic of what Prof. Joel Quirk of the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa describes as the fictive coherence of global struggle. Several months ago I heard Quirk lecture on how the anti-sex worker “rescue industry” has created the illusion of a movement that spans the globe and works to abolish prostitution, which it equates with slavery. But according to Quirk, what instead is at play is a collection of NGOs that are all friends with each other on Twitter and FaceBook that have a variety of agendas and ideologies at play but who would be utterly useless in creating a march on Washington to advocate for their cause.

I would not want to say something as disparaging as this about advocates for Palestinians because this is not an astro-turfed movement, it is a genuine grassroots effort. But right now the coherence is fictive, everyone is fighting with each other so much it would be impossible for a huge March on Washington to come together. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X both understood this at the end of their lives, that is why they both tried to build a united front against war and poverty while bringing together their constituencies, which were known for similar internecine moments.

This film is the tool to heal those schisms and needs to be seen by many of our neighbors. It is our duty to support it and perpetuate its availability.

More articles by:

Andrew Stewart is a documentary film maker and reporter who lives outside Providence.  His film, AARON BRIGGS AND THE HMS GASPEE, about the historical role of Brown University in the slave trade, is available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video or on DVD.

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail