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Defamation (2009)

Yoav Shamir , Abraham Foxman , Yoav Shamir  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Yoav Shamir, Abraham Foxman, Norman Finkelstein
  • Directors: Yoav Shamir
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: FIRST RUN FEATURES
  • DVD Release Date: May 18, 2010
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0037BBKOY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,243 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Defamation" on IMDb

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

CRITIC'S PICK! Disarming, surprisingly funny... essential viewing! --New York Magazine

Provocative and timely, intelligent and wry. --Leslie Felperin, Variety

This is muscular, intelligent documentary filmmaking of the first order - trenchant, controversial, riveting. --Harvey S. Karten, Compuserve

Product Description

WINNER- Grand Jury Prize, 50th Festival dei Popolei International Documentary Film Festival
WINNER- Times BFI London Film Festival Grierson Award For Best Documentary
WINNER- Special Jury Award- Tribeca Film Festival
WINNER- The Stanley Kubrick Award for Bold and Innovative Filmmaking -Traverse City Film Festival
WINNER- Audience Award - Documenta Madrid
WINNER- Audience Award - Warsaw International Film Festival
WINNER- Special Mention - Kosovo International Documentary Film Festival

Intent on shaking up the ultimate 'sacred cow' for Jews, Israeli director Yoav Shamir embarks on a provocative -- and at times irreverent -- quest to answer the question, "What is anti-Semitism today?" Does it remain a dangerous and immediate threat? Or is it a scare tactic used by right-wing Zionists to discredit their critics?

Speaking with an array of people from across the political spectrum (including the head of the Anti-Defamation League and its fiercest critic, author Norman Finkelstein) and traveling to places like Auschwitz (alongside Israeli school kids) and Brooklyn (to explore reports of violence against Jews), Shamir discovers the realities of anti-Semitism today. His findings are shocking, enlightening and - surprisingly - often wryly funny.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars provocative, controversial look at anti-Semitism November 29, 2010
Format:DVD
As a Jew born and raised in Israel, filmmaker Yoav Shamir claims never to have experienced anti-Semitism firsthand. So off he goes to find some. And what he does find often surprises him - and us. Indeed, his remarkably provocative and nuanced film "Defamation" becomes more of an examination of the internecine warfare occurring amongst Jews themselves than of gentiles' attitudes towards Jews.

For instance, Shamir accompanies a group of Israeli youth on a trip to Poland, the goal of which is to help open the eyes of the youngsters to the realities of the Holocaust. Yet, the kids have been so primed by their leaders to fear the worst from the local citizenry that they wind up seeing anti-Semitic attitudes where none may actually exist. And it is a testament to Shamir's commitment to the truth and his integrity as a documentarian that he allows such potentially controversial and meme-undermining scenes to remain in his film. In a similar fashion, when he interviews a rabbi in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn - a neighborhood notorious for its long-running tension between Jews and African-Americans - the religious leader, much to Shamir's amazement, actually accuses the heads of the Anti-Defamation League of having professional motives for ascribing anti-Semitism to incidents and crimes where that may not in fact be a primary factor - or a factor at all.

If nothing else, Shamir provides a balanced view on his subject - though if anything he tends to give a somewhat more sympathetic hearing to the people in the Jewish community who take on organizations like the ADL for their more conservative views on anti-Semitism and the State of Israel.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
A fascinating and thought provoking film which will certainly provoke discussions among Jews

As 40 year-old Israeli filmmaker Yoav Shamir says at the beginning of this 90-minute film (made in 2009), he is curious as to whether anti-Semitism is on an upswing , or as he says, is even relevant in the 21st century in Israel, the US and other parts of the world. He sets out to find the answer getting incredible access to the leader and primary supporters of the Anti-Defamation League of the B'nei Brith, headquartered in New York. He is also given full access to follow a class of Israel high school kids who make one of the school's annual class trips to Poland to see first-hand the concentration camps from the Holocaust. Shamir tries to look at the issue from both sides and interviews the ADL's fiercest critics. In the end Shamir feels that too often the ADL and its supporters use the Holocaust to incite fear in the young Israeli students and through articles in papers in many countries in the world. But he never pontificates. He lets his camera tell the story.

Shamir visits a neighborhood in Brooklyn where African Americans live in the same blocks as Lubavitcher Jews (the more religious Orthodox branch). He asks questions that are rarely raised and gets honest replies from his interviewees. Many of these responses will surprise you. They did me.

This is a film that will probably be watched more by Jews than non-Jews and yet each will draw a different conclusion by watching it. Things are right or wrong or black and white. I know that a few scenes sparked some discussions I had with my fellow Jewish friends. They were healthy discussions.

The film is provocative but also well paced.
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27 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breakthrough exposé of thought police and paranoia April 20, 2010
Format:DVD
With humor, a klezmer-like soundtrack and a fast pace, this brutally honest documentary does a service to anyone concerned about thought police who "monitor" heretical speech and activism, as well as Judaic youth heavily burdened by their elders with a "Gentile World Hates You" paranoia (as demonstrated by the morbid and melodramatic scenes in Poland).

"Defamation" derives its title from the access gained inside the New York headquarters of the "Anti-Defamation League" (ADL), a tyrannical Israeli-affiliated spy agency that is one of the major forces behind censorship and repression in the U.S. The ADL has partnered with the US government and local American police departments in maintaining files on people they wish to silence and defame, such as Noam Chomsky, and this writer. In the past, those files were turned over to Israeli intelligence.

"Defamation" represents an historic breakthrough in exposing Zionist and Talmudic supremacy, as it is maintained under a human rights facade of "tracking hate" --profiting from exaggeration while failing to investigate Orthodox rabbinic and Israeli bigotry. "Defamation," produced and narrated by Yoav Shamir, an Israeli, is a benefit to all Judaics of good will who earnestly desire peace, enlightenment and coexistence with non-Judaics. Shamir's intrepid journalism is an inspiration and helps to remind us that not all Israelis are committed to oppression and colonization.

The highlight of the movie, after the airing of the hubris of ADL director Abe Foxman, is the defiant scene with the eminent scholar Norman Finkelstein, although there are many sui generis characters in "Defamation," including Mr. Shamir's own mother.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unpopular Stand
Defamation shows how the tragic holocaust has provided Israel with the means to play victim long after victimization has ended. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Frances T. Nowve
5.0 out of 5 stars DEFAMATION
This DVD should be watched by every Non Jewish American. An eye opener to a culture we think we know, when in fact we really don't know.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Charles Dickens
5.0 out of 5 stars What is Anti-Semitism? Includes Revealing Israeli Teenagers Hostility...
Yoav Shamir's interviews with Jews from different occupations present a range of opinions as to the nature and extent of anti-Semitism. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jan Peczkis
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside look at the American and Israeli Billion Dollar Anti-Semitism...
'Defamation: Anti-Semitism the Movie' by fearlessly honest and down-to-earth Israeli film directory Yoav Shamir (2009), is truly one heck of an eye opening 21st century... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mark Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside the Anti-Defamation League
An irreverent look at a sacred cow, that cow being the seemingly righteous campaign against anti-Semitism, which Yoav Shamir convincingly shows to be based on a great deal of... Read more
Published 12 months ago by C. Strock
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensitive unveiling of distorted perceptions, and fraud
In the paranoid and politically manipulative world of Jewish-Goy relations, this movie opens the shutters to the fresh air of clearer perceptions and unclouded thinking. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Larry Gilstrap
4.0 out of 5 stars It's About Time
An ISRAELI journalist confronts the idea that criticism of Israel equals anti-Semitism. He is emotionally involved, of course, yet he can still present two sides of a story. Read more
Published on July 3, 2011 by HOWARD M MERKEN
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This Israeli documentary did not make Abraham Foxman happy. It basically shows that claims of a new antisemitism are highly exagerated. Highly recommended.
Published on June 20, 2011 by ammou
1.0 out of 5 stars G.I.G.O/Pathetic
G.I.G.O is computerize for garbage in garbage out-meaning computer's simply output
whatever you input. Read more
Published on December 2, 2010 by Brian Schiff
5.0 out of 5 stars SHAMIR ON YOU!!
DEFAMATION ("HASHMATSA", 2009) was surprising. Director/documentarist Yoav Shamir traveled back and forth all over the world- primarily Israel, here, Auschwitz in Poland and the... Read more
Published on November 24, 2010 by E. Hernandez
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