Film Features

So, You’ve Realized Israel Is a Fascist Military State Conducting an Apartheid Genocide: Here Are 15 Films to Watch

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The greatest privilege of being a citizen of the American empire is your distance from the carnage. The dismantling of democracies—and the mass murders carried out in accordance—occur on our dime, with our labor, and our trade networks (and often carried out directly by our armed forces). American freedom? We have space to gab about it as a hot-button issue over boba tea. That’s what your federal taxes get you: the world as brunch discourse. 

The death count in Gaza since October 8th has been locked at 30,000 since the beginning of 2024; who knows where the number will end up when the dust settles—well, if Israel allows any of the dust to settle. I cannot fathom how I’d handle the anguish in my heart if my family was eliminated in a single airstrike, my life uprooted to a tent with a permanent target on it, and any surviving loved ones abducted by IDF terrorists for the crime of being Brown, alive, and present. How would I withhold hatred? Where would I find hope? Why wouldn’t I follow the whims of my righteous fury? “Intifada” can be interpreted many ways, but when considering those interpretations in the collected historical contexts of the subjected peoples, it’s near impossible not to see a majority of them as justified recourse. What if chanting “From the river to the sea” really meant pining for the destruction of Israel? I’ll hand it to you, I bet a visible slice of the pie chart holds the phrase dearly because they interpret it as such. 

And, can you blame them? 

Millions across the globe want to see the death of America. They have grounds for such anger, too. Do you see what we do? Have you seen what we’ve done for decades? What we’ve done to our own—“The Final Solution” is indebted to the American model of Jim Crow segregation—is only a modicum of the violence the United States has imparted internationally, and that includes our funding of the Israeli war machine, an interest that has nothing to do with American Jews and everything to do with American interests in the region; and for a country that despises Palestinians more than it loves its own children. Not to be outdone, the United States has taken to deploying local police to brutalize the Sandy Hook generation on manicured university lawns for the crime of demanding monetary divestment from the armament manufacturers that cause such destruction, even though, Goddamn, we really should be pushing for a ceasefire for Israel’s sake.

This is the first of a few times in this article where I likely get in trouble for what I wrote.

Israel Bombing Gaza

But if I said the same shit about Islamist Jihad, I’d be whisked away from the coal mines of Merry-Go-Round to the cushy stylings of a staff writer at The Atlantic. Anti-Palestinians can say truly whatever the fuck they want (and they do—with psychopathic, blood-thirsty aplomb), but those in defense of Palestine will always be under a rhetorical microscope. There’s a reason it took me north of seven months to pump out this list of recommended films: you cannot just be out here talking all willy-nilly about Palestine with these kinds of snipers set on you. Some of this scrutiny is essential (white supremacists and neo-Nazis are much like Zionists in many ways but especially in how they will enthusiastically conflate the actions of Israel with the whole of Judaism), but the hyperfixation on the language of 20-year-old Jewish Voices for Peace activists is mostly an excuse for your uncle to intellectually square off with someone who’s the same age as he was when he last read a book. It’s true, the fascist Italian regime of the 1930s weaponized Zionism as an anti-nationalist label, using anti-Zionism as justification for its desired ousting of the nation’s Jews, but there again is the inherent anti-semitism: directly connecting Zionism with Judaism. 

Forget the fact that it’s led to a separatist military state leaving behind massacres with the calling card of “love, The Jewish State,” the monstrous act of portraying a group of peoples as diasporic as Jews as a monolith is enough to identify Zionism as the largest post-war threat to Judaism. We have one of world history’s most psychotic countries telling the globe “If you don’t let us keep killing tens of thousands of children, then it means you hate Jews,” and it’s working. Like… What is going on? How did we let this happen? How the fuck did “The Jewish State” fall into the hands of anti-semites who spit on the tenets and thousands-year history of Judaism? Sacred texts summoned to justify the seizure of another’s life and land. It’s a nasty work.

Charles Brooks, The Birmingham News

Almost exactly like Donald Trump, Bibi Netanyahu is not some fluke politician, but rather the pure embodiment of his respective country’s leading purpose. Like I’ll be point blank, bro: If we’re boiling this conflict down to who has the most extensive understanding of the Torah, I’m inclined to trust a Neturei Karta member more than some dude who had his Bar Mitzvah in Cheltenham Township and has the Kahanists at his beck and call. And you’d think that American Liberals who’ve made their entire social media identity shitting on MAGA would, at bare minimum, have some infographic smoke for one of Donald Trump’s most prolific cock slaves, the one and only demon Benjamin Netanyahu, but you’ll nary hear a peep. Even people who don’t know what the fuck is happening in the Middle East know Netanyahu is “their Donald Trump.” I got a Drumpf-despising, Springsteen-blasting auntie in West Virginia who is so “please destroy Rafah”-pilled that her Instagram feed has devolved into “Well, you see, if you know me, you know I hate him, but Netanyahu is the prime minister, and he’s raising some important points” apologia. 

I will likely never see that woman again in my life, and I might not even get around to visiting her grave—that’s just how extended family goes—but it doesn’t stop me from sympathizing with folks who’ve had their loved ones revert to this brand of hatred. The Trump comparisons to any of Israel’s far-right maniac leaders don’t do justice to the ethno-religious tragedy of watching your Jewish-American mother switch up from beloved beacon of compassion and light to calling every Arab a revolting savage deserving of death; and if you disagree, then you are a “kapo” traitor to your people and a “self-hating Jew” who should buy a one-way ticket to Gaza. I can’t imagine what some of my best friends must be going through, and I know for a fact some of them have momentarily given in to the organized loathing of a family group chat rabid with vindication. Birthright really fucks people up. I love you, guys. I hope you’re doing alright, and that you get your cousins back one day from Hasbara purgatory.

Israel Tweets

But for anyone else truly of the belief that Hamas’ surrender would mark the end of the war, be for real you disgusting little monster, come on, this Goebbels-adjacent motherfucker doesn’t give a shit about the hostages unless it means he can kill more of them himself.

The truth of Israel’s ethnic cleansing is so apparent. It’s so clear. It’s just there sitting out in the open. You can read the published works of Israeli historians (Ilan Pappe, Shay Hazkani, even Benny Morris before he became a sick pigdog of a human) and journalists (Amira Hass and Gideon Levy), Holocaust scholars (Omer Bartov, Raz Segal, Amos Goldberg), Middle Eastern academics (Zachary Foster, Rashid Khalidi, Omar Baddar), independent journalists of sterling esteem (Ken Klippenstein, Jordan Uhl, fan-favorite freak Brace Belden), Leftist Jews and rabbis (yo, have you ever looked into who’s organizing the bulk of these divestment and ceasefire protests?), experts in African-American social studies who, upon visiting the West Bank, realized it was a 1:1 to Jim Crow America (specifically Ta-Nehisi Coates, but also, in more oblique terms, James Baldwin), Palestinian journalists (Hind Khoudary, Motaz Azaiza, nearly 100 others murdered by Israel), and—Oh, what’s that? 

Amy Schumer wants me to read a book by washed-up actor Noa Tishby? Your dipshit college drinking buddy reposted an infographic from Hen Mazzig? Fuck, time to toss the shelf I was working on. I’ll just forget about Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich saying on April 29th, 2024 that “There are no half measures. Rafah, Deir al-Balah, Nuseirat—total annihilation. You will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven—there’s no place under heaven.” Of all the Israeli war cabinet quotes I could have cited, this is one of the more reserved ones. The “might is right” willpower of the ahistorical anti-intellectualism we are operating under better resembles the rise of The Third Reich than any slander tossed at a UT Austin student getting pepper sprayed directly in her nasal cavity.

The biggest mistake any smarmy Zionist could have made was directly challenging anyone who hasn’t to research the history of Israel and Palestine. To defend Israel, it’s imperative you encourage the opposite, doofus! I’ve had the most confident idiots mad-dog me with the doubt that I’d actually give a shit about this “very complicated” conflict, as though I share their lack of interest in the Arab world, grimacing under the assumption that nobody would take to the works of Israeli, Palestinian, and international scholars who’ve documented the near-century of Israel’s own atrocities committed in the Middle East. You’ve dedicated your life to an issue you knew nothing about six months ago and know nothing about still, right? May Allah grant Bill Maher an alcoholic relapse that will KO his liver once and for all. 

What did you think people were going to do? Not pick up a book? Not watch a documentary? Not start caring? Give in to the arrogance of ultra-nationalism? Brother, Sister: have you seen how ugly that makes you?

For your local hack-fraud college classmates, sycophantic MSNBC anchors, Zionist agitators, violent freaks, Rapture-horny Christians, debate perverts, bullshit artist congressmen, FOX News mongoloids, and facilitators of the systematic extermination of Palestine… 

Oblige them with some research.

The Levant

TANTURA (2022) Still

TANTURA (2022)

Director: Alon Schwarz

Apparently, the only people the state of Israel hates more than Arabs and Jews are historians. Alon Schwarz (self-proclaimed “Zionist”) made TANTURA, one of the most insane documentaries I’ve ever seen, and one that proves he’s either a brave truth-seeker or the single stupidest state advocate in the history of nations. An unsparing recording of The Nakba of 1948 (wherein 750,000 Palestinians were either displaced or murdered by insurgent Zionist paramilitaries claiming back indigenous Jewish land), TANTURA (named after a relatively wealthy, beachside Palestinian village of around 1,500) includes defamed historian Teddy Katz’s interviews with elderly Alexanderoni soldiers (like thankfully-dead-ghoul Amitzur Cohen) cheerily recounting how “if you killed, you did a good thing,” when one seized house was “turned into a dining hall,” the handed-down advice from fathers that “a state is seized by the sword” and “You take a country by force,” and how Arabs are an evil enemy… All in the first nine minutes before the title card drops. This isn’t a ranked list of films; I haven’t ordered these in accordance with quality or which you should prioritize, but, Jesus Christ, I think maybe you should watch TANTURA first, if only for the gratification that you are not being gaslit. If you repeated any of the analyses in TANTURA by Israeli historians—or cited the firsthand confessions from the dozens of soldiers and settlers interviewed—some freak Persian Zionist farming TikTok clout would charge you with blood libel promptly after doxxing your work and home addresses. One of our most sinister loops: knowledge is power, but knowledge remains the greatest enemy of power.

MAYOR (2020) Still

MAYOR (2020)

Director: David Osit

Mayor Musa Hadid sits flustered at the time wasted in attempting to understand the logic behind no space in the “WeRamallah” branding his team is trying to pitch him on (it’s so it can read as “We Are Ramallah”), a task the rest of his office is deeply invested in since it’s one of few decisions placed solely in their hands. Israel has deprived them of providing citizens with the basest of infrastructure; Hadid rushes from one appointment to the next knowing the centralized sewage system is on the fritz, and an IDF trooper opened fire across the bank on a teenager, and he’s expected to raise his people’s global profile by *checks notes* investing in a football league and theater, as advised by international consulates. Sure. Sounds nice. Not sure how that alleviates 500 wounded in a single night. And the world’s not even fully on your side. The leaders of the free world simply do not care that you are surrounded by increasingly hostile, illegal settlements. All you can do is turn the traffic lights into smiley face emojis, and when you go home? Play some piano and take a rip off the vape pen. All you got as the walls cave in is the limited power to provide surface-level, occupier-approved levity. You’ll also learn there are beautiful Popeye’s Chicken locations in Palestine.

ADVOCATE (2019) Still

ADVOCATE (2019)

Director: Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaiche

There is so much to learn from Lea Tsemel’s resolve after a lifetime of losing: losing her Palestinian clients’ cases, losing the organized political coalitions of her youth, losing her fellow citizens’ will to right the institutional wrongs attributed by a political machine to the entirety of Judaism. As Tsemel (a Jewish-Israeli defense lawyer who takes labeled “terrorists” of various ages and genders under her wing)  frames it, Israelis enjoy the fruit of occupation, so who are we to judge those who suffer from it? A historically racist, malicious military court system in a textbook apartheid state, and barely anyone allows themselves the imagination of a society beyond it. Cleverly devastating animation shields the visages of the persecuted in this wonderful documentary that introduced me to Matzpen, pure butter biscuits, and the further realization that every four years for the past 70 years, there’s a new major cultural reeducation on the colonial injustices of Israel. What’s bleakest is that regardless of the continuously more public dispersal of publicly available (and often gloatingly celebrated) proof of inhumanities, it’s a government that’s only been afforded more and more indemnity. But, what are you gonna do? Give up?

I know Eric Adams has defunded city libraries enough that Kanopy has been cut from the list of amenities, but if your local branch offers it, you can watch ADVOCATE for free

WALTZ WITH BASHIR (2008) Still

WALTZ WITH BASHIR (2008)

Director: Ari Folman

I have no patience for the “Boo-hoo, I eviscerated so many innocent civilians that I now have a smidge of the melancholy” IDF narratives birthed from most Israeli anti-war cinema (Amos Gitai’s “war is boring” KIPPUR is also boring in part that it’s unknowingly from the perspective of the oppressor, while more seething depictions, like Lapid’s surreal SYNONYMS, still stylistically downplay the overwhelming hatred of the occupation), and major stretches of Ari Folman’s hugely acclaimed WALTZ WITH BASHIR fall into that category. An animated, experimental documentary that blurs talking heads interviews with war recreations, and even recreations of Folman’s own private discourses, we witness a sniveling veteran function with the guilt of aiding and abetting the Israeli-funded Christian Phalangists’ massacres of 2,000-3,500 Lebanese civilians and Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila. To Folman’s credit, it’s a damning self-reflection: a bold confrontation with the slaughters of the “most moral army” that sees former IDF soldiers compare the sights to the Warsaw Ghetto, and their actions to those of the SS. Does it fit comfortably into the common Liberal warmonger trope of declaring every war except for the one you’re currently fighting as bad? Yes, absolutely, but the more the gap of time closes between the “bad” wars and the “just” ones, just how blurred will those in the center allow the line to get?

THE PALESTINIANS (1975) Still

THE PALESTINIANS (1975)

Director: Johan van der Keuken

Any doubts you may have about the rape of Palestine should be quelled when you consider how ravaged Lebanon has been for decades, designated both as a permanent refugee camp for fleeing Gazans and a viable target for runaway terrorists of all ages and ranges of innocence. In Johan van der Keuken’s THE PALESTINIANS (available for free on YouTube), there are quite a few documentaries of this ilk about Palestine, and many are worth watching for their unflinching field journalism, but sometimes it takes witnessing the very same issues of 2024 plague affected civilians in a year before ROCKY had even been filmed to digest the scope of a conflict. The interests of the region boil down to, surprise, oil, and the worth of the blood spilled over a modicum of control over its extraction and dispersal will never be clear to me. In 43 minutes, THE PALESTINIANS hones in on a conveyor belt of fascinating scenarios, but among the most striking is the elementary classroom lecture where a teacher in a knitted sweater passionately lays out the numerous Palestinian revolutions to his attentive audience of tweens. In these images is a litmus test of one’s humanity: do you consider this the sick indoctrination of future terrorists, or the perseverance of a people’s return to their home? 

CURFEW (1994) Still

CURFEW (1994)

Director: Rashid Masharawi

The first feature-length Palestinian film out of Gaza, Rashid Masharawi’s CURFEW is about life in a prison. A family shutting their windows because the courtyard’s been indiscriminately fired upon with tear gas and lethal munitions; nagging at your wife because you prefer the tear gas to the burning fumes of her perfume; the family, the humor, the chores, the humanity of a people designated as rats. The patriarch barber of CURFEW’s selected family utilizes the lens as a literal mirror, staring into a self-abyss that we can only stare right back into. Later—while cutting his youngest son’s hair by candlelight because there’s nothing better to do—he recalls how his older son was born under curfew in 1973. Gaza’s lack of autonomy has led to the boredom transmitted into craft, the cut-off water and electricity creating rifts between neighbors quarreling over a quantity of “some,” everyone prepping as though it was tornado season. As the long night beats on, the sounds of locals pleading to not be beaten by the occupying forces reverberate through the thin walls, keeping children in frightened wake. Masharawi’s film is one of moving economy, capturing the full scope of a society on a budget lower than a single day of an American studio film’s craft services. When you’ve got a people screaming “Don’t make such a scene! There are people who lose their children and don’t cry,” after they’re hauled off into a prisoner truck, it’s hard not to see which party is in the wrong. The subtext becomes pure text as the family grows more flustered, more frustrated, and more abused by the conditions they’re bound to subject future generations to:  “The whole camp is one big prison! Or do you think you’re free?!” Complacency turns to rage, and then into something tangible and retaliatory.

Watch it on Tubi.

State Violence Regardless of Non-Violence

Z (1969) Still

Z (1969)

STATE OF SIEGE (1971)

Director: Costa-Gavras

Costa-Gavras is the greatest political filmmaker of the 20th century, amassing a body of work that must be studied tip to toe, regardless of your anarchist ambitions. Z is a thrilling mosaic of right-wing turmoil in the Mediterranean, while STATE OF SIEGE takes the form of a thorough, circuitous lecture on the life cycle of the hydra that is the military-industrial complex. The West is pompous that it uses the same tactics over and over for the better part of a century—even the tactics that continuously do not work. But let’s say you’re out in the field… As you can tell, if the state sees your position as a threat to its financial and/or ideological objectives, it doesn’t matter how peaceful your protest is. Your ass is getting fucking beat. The only acceptable protest is the invisible one, unless you’re throwing something in the vein of the city council-approved Black Lives Matter parades of the 2020s (a massive communication to moderates of the idea that protests are supposed to resemble tabling at an art fair). If pro-Palestinian protestors were indeed anti-semitic, then they’d be protected by police convoys. The current moment has found Israel’s defenders constantly trivializing the charge of anti-semitism by unleashing it upon any of its vocal critics. Even defending a 19-year-old from a sheriff’s deputy’s bludgeoning will get you called Hamas. Congress is going as far as fast-tracking ouroboros anti-semitic watchdog legislation (H.R.6090) that’s flat-out anti-Jewish, qualifying swaths of Jewish teachings and writings as illegal practices. 

Under new American legislation, Primo Levi’s relentless criticism of Menachem Begin and Albert Einstein’s refutation of Zionists’ proclivities toward militaristic temporal power in Palestine would be criminalized as attacks on all Jews everywhere. With anti-semitism undoubtedly on the rise (historically in tandem with fascism’s growing popularity), lumping in anti-war proponents as public enemy number one is only handing a victory to the skinheads. It’s astonishing to witness racism push Zionists into likening Hamas to the Nazis, resulting time after time in the most demented anti-semitic nonsense you’ve ever heard—in many cases the justifications are straight-up Holocaust denialism, such as Netanyahu’s claims that the Mufti of Jerusalem “told the Nazis to prevent Jews fleeing from Europe and supported the Final Solution.” You know what they say: in order to maintain a Jewish stronghold, you’ve got to hand it to the Nazis! 

Now, once the Beverly Hills sons of scumfuck realtors who can’t stop telling you how many pussies they fingered on birthright realize they’ll have more fun listening to shitty techno than spitting on Jewish poli-sci majors, there’ll be some real domestic smoke once the Christian Zionists begin terrorizing en masse. Homegrown antisemitic, Rapture-obsessive psychopaths toting assault rifles in the name of Christ’s return will give the cops a run for their money in the race to be the most unhinged, brutal instigator in a public space. For the United States and its allies, there’s always room for some more Kent State bums. So, plan accordingly.

THE OFFICIAL STORY (1985) Still

THE OFFICIAL STORY (1985)

Director: Luis Puenzo

Set amidst Argentina’s Dirty War (which saw the disappearing and summary execution of 22,000-33,000 Leftists, Jews, Communist sympathizers, students, militants, writers, artists, trade unionists, and more who were seen as political enemies by Jorge Rafeael Videla’s military regime), THE OFFICIAL STORY is a spiritually devastating portrait of realizing the pleasant, free-will doldrums of privilege are befogging your role in a dominating system, to then realizing that your activity up until this moment of epiphany has been complicit in the practice of institutionalized fascism; Norma Alejandro effortlessly shows the shift. Her character, Alicia, learns that evil exists one day, and the next she’s coming to terms that she’s part of the evil. Atop it all is this incredible character deconstruction of a woman’s fealty to traditional motherhood threatened by her empathy for the robbed victims who unwittingly made her life whole. History isn’t even written by the victors, it’s written by the murderers, and there comes a point where blithe ignorance, willful or not, becomes an act of malice. There’s a scene where Chunchuna Villafañe is confronted with a joke about her trauma, to which she responds with a laughter that breaks down into a nervy, shattering elaboration of her torture by The Process, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Also, did I forget to mention that Menachem Begin sent arms to the Argentine military junta?

THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1966) Still

THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (1966)

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo

What do you do? When the MLK figures get assassinated just like their namesake, and teens throwing rocks at tanks get domed with live ammunition, and kids standing too close to a border get kneecapped from hundreds of meters away, and journalists get targeted by riflemen, and then that journalist’s funeral is attacked by riot police, and the women are lashed and disrobed in prisons for indefinite sentences, and the children are detained for prolonged verbal and physical abuse by military officers, and your cultural landmarks are bulldozed for the development of parking garages, and your mosques tear-gassed during Ramadan, and the future of your bloodline enclosed in an open-air concentration camp by a belligerent nuclear power… What other recourse do the oppressed have than total liberation by any means necessary? Okay, I’ll keep it real, there are still some government lists I do not want to end up on (would like to keep the window open on experiencing Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and pockets of South America within my lifetime), so the less I say about THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS the better, but I recall images of campus encampments putting on public showings of Pontecorvo’s masterpiece on the open lawns bringing a fat smile to my face.

Guilt as Repercussion

THE EMPEROR’S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON (1987) Still

THE EMPEROR’S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON (1987)

Director: Kazuo Hara

Culpability has no one true face. Kazuo Hara’s THE EMPEROR’S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON is bananas, like if THE LOOK OF SILENCE abandoned the anguished metaphorical performance of repercussive justice and became a clumsy ROLLING THUNDER revenge picture. Watch as this elder radical walks up to retired, senile commanders from World War II and kick the living shit out of them in their own homes while their grandchildren confusedly watch a room over; Kenzo Okuzaki is such an intense freak that—as he edges closer to uncovering the cannibalistic, fatally bureaucratic demises of his two comrades—even the siblings of the victims abandon him in search of the greater peace they had in not knowing what happened at all. Sometimes it’s only the freaks that try to make sense of the world’s wrongs, and it’s understandable why you wouldn’t want to follow them into the abyss. Kazuo Hara stands back and films it all, smartly letting his subject command the room as he’s hoped to for 40 years. Is he an ethically dubious hypocrite? Sure, but he’s one who operates in nothing but the truth, respectability and semantics be damned.

THE LOOK OF SILENCE (2015) :: THE ACT OF KILLING (2013) Still

THE LOOK OF SILENCE (2015)

THE ACT OF KILLING (2013)

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer

Exploring the effects of the Western-backed massacres of suspected Communists in Indonesia via experimental cinematic journalism, Joshua Oppenheimer’s legendary THE ACT OF KILLING is widely regarded as one of the essential films of the 2010s. If you have not yet seen it, there’s a good chance it’s been sitting on your watchlist for 11 years. It’s heavy, I don’t blame you. As bracing as its surreal—and ethically weird—pursuits are, I do want to vouch its lesser discussed (and personally preferred) companion. Seeking justice is an existential risk, but even the primary subject of THE LOOK OF SILENCE is too cynical to expect reparations for the extermination of his family. These are films about the dangers of following the paper trail, about the perils of applying truth to history, and about those in power who would love nothing more than to reunite you with the mass grave your elders are buried in for the crime of asking about theirs. The dead cannot be brought back to life. Some monsters will never feel a shred of remorse (be it from apathy or rampant entitlement), but it shouldn’t deter the populace from ever letting them forget.

Been Here Before

SHOAH (1985) Still

SHOAH (1985)

Director: Claude Lanzmann

One of the most important achievements in film history, I watched all nine hours of SHOAH in specific preparation for this piece, because I am of the belief that to speak on Israel, it requires a level of self-education greater than what you previously thought was acceptable. This is true of anything you open your mouth about, but the topic of “Israel” has a propensity to bring out the scary fucking freaks of the world: the Nazis, the Arab-smelters, the atrocity deniers, the Evangelical paramilitaries, the 4Chan goons, the Reddit mafia, the bootlickers, and my aunt. It is never not imperative to protect your Jewish brothers and sisters from these sick fucks, and to clarify the factual history of the world. It’s not enough to know that there were concentration camps: you should know which used Zyklon B and which used tank engines to pump in exhaust. Why were barbers enlisted to cut the women’s hair? How did the Jewish Greeks of Corfu get deported to Eastern Europe? Actually, I’ll answer that one: the police chiefs and the mayor sold them out to the Nazis, so get the fuck out of here whenever you try to tell me the cops have the best interests of Jewish people in mind.

There is no equivalence between the killings in Poland’s concentration camps and Israel’s western-backed bombings of Gaza. I agree, it’s gross to compare atrocities, and the parallels certainly do not benefit Israel, but the Holocaust is such a unique obscenity in world history that I hesitate drawing direct comparisons to it. However, the description of the ghettos in SHOAH are a piercingly dehumanizing, splitting image of life in Gaza and the occupied West Bank. The process of extermination has been elongated, but make no mistake, we have been here before. Many of the interviewees plead to Lanzmann that they’d rather forget than relive their experiences in Auschwitz for a documentary testimony; when the same pleading is used by settler soldiers in TANTURA to bury the memories of the hundreds of Palestinians they shot down, your blood boils at the attempted correlation. Thousands of Holocaust deniers already try their damndest to distort the history of the Shoah, so it calls into question why the Israeli state seeks to help them. As Heidi N. Moore pointed out, “Israelis leading this genocide are not descendants of Holocaust survivors. Netanyahu’s family wasn’t even in Europe. Ben Gvir’s family wasn’t in Europe. Smotrich’s family wasn’t in Europe. All of their families were settlers in mandatory Palestine who participated in the first Nakba.” When you bear witness to the horror as Lanzmann intends you to, it makes you incredibly sensitive to anyone who dares invoke it for themselves.

STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997) Still

STARSHIP TROOPERS (1997)

Director: Paul Verhoeven

One of the most hyper-analyzed (and radically misinterpreted) films ever made, there’s enough STARSHIP TROOPERS writing out there to last you a lifetime, but it’s true: Verhoeven made a movie about Nazi Germany, which by extension makes it a movie about the United States and its NATO affiliates, which naturally makes it a movie about Israel. In fact, it’s so much so about Israel that you’d have thunk someone in the state’s PR department would’ve pulled back on the language of “savages,” “animals,” and “rats” lest anyone start connecting the dots of who’s been labeled a bug and who’s Johnny Rico.

Kevin Cookman
Kevin Cookman is a Film Editor for Merry-Go-Round Magazine. Deserted in a video store as an infant, Kevin was raised on Fulci, Tarantino, Kubrick, and Whoppers. Now he's a graduate of Chapman University who acts as editor for Merry-Go-Round on the side: what a success story.

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