Customer Review

42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, but a few issues, December 7, 2007
This review is from: Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran, and The Revolt of Islam (DVD)
PROS:
1) Excellent overview on the history of Islam and the Muslim people, their core beliefs and attitudes towards non-believers, and the history of conflict with the West, the Jews and Israel.
2) Good balance on how much time covers what. The first hour covers the 6th century through the 19th century. The last hour and a half covers the 19th century through the 21st.
3) Good usage of archival footage and Muslim art.
4) Very neutral in its reporting on the history and beliefs Islam. For the most part, I don't sense Joel Gilbert has an agenda (except for the last 10 minutes) or is trying to get you to hate or like Islam. Furthermore, he reports uncomfortable facts that don't get much press coverage.
5) This is the best crash course on Islam I've ever seen in video form. Obviously, more research could be done by the viewer to get a better understanding of the faith and conflict. But the purpose of this video is not to explain every detail or perspective on the faith. It's "Islam 101" in a nutshell.

CONS:
1) The volume of information is so hefty, it's like drinking from a fire hydrant. Fortunately, there's Pause and Rewind.
2) I am left wondering where Joel Gilbert got his religious/historical information. Where's your bibliography? How would I find the primary sources if I wanted to use this information in a research paper? Any suggestions on further reading? And just who is Joel Gilbert anyway? [To answer this, please see the comment below.]
3) Some of the archival footage gets played several times in the movie. That gets old after a while.
4) In the last 10 minutes, Mr. Gilbert pulls the gloves off and works at trying to get you to his conclusions about Bush, Islamic relations and Israel. You're not left to consider many options other than his perspective.
5) Mr. Gilbert criticizes President Bush for playing into the hands of Al Qaeda by going to war after 9/11. So, if land-for-peace won't solve the problem, socialism won't solve the problem and war won't solve the problem, then what will Mr. Gilbert? He gives no options.
6) Perhaps answering #5 above, Mr. Gilbert says there will only be peace if Israel falls under Muslim rule. In fact, he treats it as a fait-a-compli. Mr. Gilbert believes that Israel is destined to fall, and that what will ensue will be another holocaust of Jewry. Bleak outcome, no hope, and it leaves you mighty depressed. You might want to hit stop after 2:15.
7) The subtitle is "Bush, Iran, and the Revolt of Islam". The video really doesn't talk much about Bush or Iran, and only in the last 10 minutes. Maybe this was the working title during production, and they decided to stick with it?

OVERALL:
I would highly recommend watching (most) of this video to introduce people to current events regarding the Muslim world. For many, however, the length may scare them away. For those who believe the west is battling "terrorism", I highly recommend you watch this video. Terrorists are often called "extremists" in the media, and by our President. While it's true that less than 1% of Muslims are terrorists, the culture of terrorist acceptance is widespread and endemic in the Muslim religion and regions it encompasses. This may not be politically correct for those who believe all religions are "good", but if we want to survive as a society, we need to first identify what the enemy is (the ideas and culture), and then decide how best to address it. I would agree with Mr. Gilbert that most in the West have no idea what they are up against, and are viewing the Muslim geo-political worldview with rose colored glasses. Most Muslims don't want peace as we define it, they want "justice" as they define it.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 8, 2007 7:22:29 AM PST
To answer a pertinent question of this reviewer:
Joel Gilbert is a graduate of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies and London School of Economics and Political Science (BA 1986, Economics and Politics). He was a Middle Eastern studies scholar under world renowned Islamic history experts Professors Eli Keddouri, P.J. Vatikiotis, Michael Cooke, and Abbas Kelidar. Gilbert is one of the few Western scholars of historic Islamic-Jewish relations. Gilbert has lived, studied, and traveled in the Middle East, including Egypt, Israel, Morocco, and Pakistan. He speaks Arabic and Hebrew, and lectures on the Middle East.
In brief, Gilbert is well qualified to present Islam, its history, culture and faith.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2007 4:03:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2007 4:13:37 PM PST
David J. says:
I did some research and found that he is certainly qualified to speak on the subject, as mentioned above. However, if I asked these questions, so will many who may be skeptical of the video. For starters, his Bio should have been included on the DVD (one still with text wouldn't take up much space on the DVD). Beyond that, a bibliography or "recommended reading" would have been helpful both for skeptics and those who wish to do further research on their own.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2009 6:15:38 PM PST
Alaine says:
Thanks for the info, Michael.

On one hand, he sounds like he knows what he's talking about. However, my hopes for Israel are not as bleak as Dr. Gilbert claims, so I'm not sure if I want to see this film.

Posted on May 10, 2009 4:38:30 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2009 4:42:27 PM PDT
R. Hilberg says:
The bibliography is at the end of the film during credits and includes:

The Arabs in History by Bernard Lewis
The Great War for Civilization by Robert Fisk
The Hallow (sic, "Hollow") Peace by Shmuel Katz
The History of Modern Egypt by P.J. Vatikiotis
Historical Atlas of Islam by Malise Ruthven
A History of Medieval Islam by J.J. Saunders
Islam and the Modern World by Elie Keddouri
The Jews of Arab Lands by Norman Stillman
The Koran by Michael Cook
Lone Wolf, a Biography of Zeev Jabotinsky by Shmuel Katz
The Mufti of Jerusalem by Philip Mattar
Muhammad by Michael Cook
Nationalism by Elie Keddouri
Signposts on the Path by Sayyid Qutb
The Washington Compromise by Dr. Joseph Chruba

As a starting resource, I highly recommend a comprehensive history of Palestine replete with references and citations by Shmuel (Samuel) Katz: Battleground: Fact and Fantasy in Palestine.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2010 9:32:30 AM PST
To Alaine, I understand your hesitance in watching the film. However, I watched this online somewhere (now deleted) and obviously did not know the ending. This film is a wakeup call for everyone: Western and Israeli leaders and their public. This changed my perspective significantly.

We tend to get so caught up in the latest event that we don't see the overall direction and who is really in control here.

I've just bought a copy and can't wait to watch it again. I will be adding Hilberg's entire bibliography to my wishlist. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 8, 2011 1:44:45 PM PST
David J. says:
One thing I did want to add to this. A frequent comment is that moderate Muslims do not advocate violent jihad, and so this is something the West is fixated on for political reasons.

Moderate Muslims say that Jihad is misunderstood. Aggression is not the focus of jihad, but rather a personal journey towards obedience to Allah. However, even they do not say that violent jihad is a misinterpretation of the Koran. They feel that violence should only be used as a last resort, after reason and peaceful protests fail to achieve their goal (i.e. Sharia Law), and only after a protracted period of time and patience. Thus, violence is not the primary interpretation of jihad, but it is a viable secondary or tertiary interpretation. This is the "moderate" view within Islam. Only secular (liberal) Arabs feel that violence is incompatible with Islam, but then, most of these Muslims do not attend mosque regularly or join in daily prayer. In other words, you can be a devout Muslim, or you can be a secular Arab, but you cannot be both.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2011 11:54:24 AM PST
Maybe think too of Dickens. The Ghost of Christmas future can be changed perhaps, though the past and present (in this moment) are clearly not changeable.

You should watch the film if you care. I totally agree that it is not a forgone conclusion. The only thing that is given is people will die in the name of Islam for the foreseeable future, whether or not a majority of professing Muslims use a cafeteria approach to religion as virtually everyone does. This is why the immediate defense of "All Muslims" is just another way to shut people up from talking about what the problem is.

Wester liberal democracies reject collectivism, so make sure when you communicate, purge any potential phraseology that could be taken as condemning the "Uma" when discussing he dangerous implications of Islamic historical and present day objectives of its traditional believers.

Usually people will try to compare and use Christianity as "once violent" whereas now, largely not. This is false, because until the reformation era, the majority of Christians were led by Roman Catholicism, which was more Pagan than Christian. Once the printing press put the power in the hands of the majority, they confronted the Theocracy over the document they claimed gave them their authority.

Christianity today has very little in common with Islam, whereas during the crusades, they were both fused theology between the Hebrew prophets and Paganism. Christianity largely purged its Paganism, certainly from the leadership and now all that remains are statues and bogus holidays, but Pagan behavior is for the most part purged. There is no way for Islam to have a similar purge, since it was conceived as a synthetic religion.

You know how delusional one has to be to attack the bible and claim the Koran corrects it, don't you?
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