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Defamation

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

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

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Yoav Shamir, Abraham Foxman, Norman Finkelstein
  • Directors: Yoav Shamir
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • 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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0037BBKOY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,049 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Defamation" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Roland E. Zwick on 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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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Defamation shows how the tragic holocaust has provided Israel with the means to play victim long after victimization has ended. Now Zionists are waging a war of extinction on Palestinians and are, to them, just as the Nazis were to Jews.

The film travels with the Bnai Brith Anti-Defamation League, follows a group of Israeli high school students to sites of a Nazi extermination camp and explores many other places and opinions. It is dangerous to downplay the popular vision of the Jews as perpetual victims but it is necessary to clarify things.
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Defamation held my interest. It shows how anti-semitism gets started. It is important to know one's history because those who forget are conemned to repeat it. This is a very well done documentary.
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Yoav Shamir's interviews with Jews from different occupations present a range of opinions as to the nature and extent of anti-Semitism. Obviously, there is no monolithic definition of this term.

The viewer should realize that the question about criticism of Israel is multi-dimensional, even if one is going as far as anti-Zionism. There is no single motive for anti-Zionism. There are Jews, notably religious ones, who are anti-Zionists. On the other hand, there is no doubt that anti-Zionism is also a new home for anti-Semites.

Yoav Shamir interviews Norman Finkelstein as well as Abraham Foxman. The latter two exchange very sharp words. There are even comparisons to Hitler and Nazis. In fact, Jews in the past had attacked other Jews with such epithets.

Instead of emphasizing the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), and Israeli policies, as many other reviewers have done, I now mainly focus on other issues:

In Brooklyn, the opinions of Jews and African-Americans, about each other, are poles apart. Jews commonly believe that African-American assailants see Jews as defenseless, and so prefer to attack them instead of other African Americans. In contrast, African-Americans think that the police and court system favor Jews. Thus, it would be mistake to rob a Jew. Some African-Americans verbalize the opinion that the Jews control American institutions, and some even believe in the PROTOCOLS OF THE ELDERS OF ZION.

It is obvious that Israeli students visiting Poland had been inculcated with an unmistakable hostility to Poland. They had been taught, "Everybody hates the Jews". Poles sitting on a bench ask some girl students where are from, perhaps even China.
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