'Zone of Interest' and Glazergate: The director’s challenge and the Zionist reaction
Friday, 14 June 2024 00:36

'Zone of Interest' and Glazergate: The director’s challenge and the Zionist reaction

Published in Films

Jonathan Glazer is the Academy Award and BAFTA winning director of Zone of Interest, a film that highlights the “dehumanization” going on outside the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, where the carnage only appears on the off-screen soundtrack.

He has come under attack not for anything in the film but for daring to insinuate in his Academy acceptance speech that there is an echo of the film in the “dehumanizing” way the genocide in Gaza is being routinely fostered, facilitated and ignored in the West.

Glazer’s film is about the callousness of the family of the German commandant of the death camp, whose job it is to oversee extermination. The film’s perspective, in some ways all the more chilling, is that of an intimate glimpse of the family as it goes about its daily activities, surrounded by offscreen cries, screams and orders to shoot and drown the victims just beyond the family garden, as the commandant’s wife claims that in their privilege, with lush vegetation and swimming pool, guaranteed by Jewish slavery, they have fulfilled the Fuhrer’s dream of a living space in the east for Germans.

The most incendiary part of Glazer’s speech is not the claim about his Jewishness not being hijacked by the Israeli occupation of Gaza, which is what his now over 1000 Hollywood critics have focused on in a letter denouncing the speech, but rather that he had the audacity to state that his film is not just about the past but also about the present.

The parallel then in the present would be in the West with those who watch this new holocaust, for that is what it is being called in the Arab world, being livestreamed and not just ignore it but actively deny that it is happening.

By suggesting that it is not “look what we did then” but “look what we do now,” Glazer is in fact placing American and Western complacency, and in some cases active cheering on of the genocide in Gaza, in line with the commandant and his privileged family in the film.

In this case, benefitting from the carnage, as Israel remains the key to American dominance of Middle East oil oil necessary for fuelling its allies in Europe, and proving the U.S. and its puppet Israel remain the hegemon in the region.

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The Zionist reaction

The attack on Glazer gives credence to this identification of the West as situating itself just outside of what has been called the concentration camp of Gaza. His attackers simply cannot stand the accusation that they are complicit in genocide. Instead they resort to Zionist arguments and talking points to refute his accusation, speaking of “an Israeli nation that seeks to avert its own extermination,” an “indigenous Jewish people defending a homeland” and a “distortion of history.”

The “extermination” is not being carried out by the Palestinians, but by the Zionists against the actual indigenous people of the region, who 75 years ago saw their homeland usurped by the creation of the apartheid state.

This was perhaps a new homeland but also, as members of the U.S. military have often described it, an “American aircraft carrier in the Middle East.” Each day we, in our privileged position outside the camp in the garden where life goes on as usual, hear the sounds and watch as the terror increases, now at the point with way more than the official number of 30,000 Palestinians dead and with Al Jazeera reporting that 25,000 of them are women and children.

Israel is of course worried that the gunshots are too noisy and might disturb us in our gardens, so now they have decided on the more “humane” method of mass starvation, though they are not above mowing down Palestinians who when one of the few food aid trucks gets through the clamour for the food.

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The Zone of Interest: Languishing by the pool 

If any voices are raised to challenge this carnage, as Glazer’s was, the attempt is to quickly silence them. Then, we can all go back to our finely manicured front lawns and backyards as we join Commandant Rolf, his wife, and their children at the pool.    

Naming
Friday, 14 June 2024 00:36

Naming

Published in Poetry

Naming

by Chris Norris

Pray tell us, you wise men and scholars all,
Pray tell us by what law you take it ill,
This usage of what we see fit to call
Our Holocaust, we whose life’s-blood you spill.
How should we name it as the missiles fall,
As your IDF snipers aim and kill,
As children cower by the shattered wall,
Fear-frozen there to be picked off at will,
As smart bombs smash lives like a wrecking-ball
And the pretence of ‘peace-talks’ goes on still,
Though their ‘negotiators’ stick and stall
While thirty thousand victims pay the bill,
And the corpse-chewing ghouls of capital,
US-directed, wait to gorge their fill?

What name should we deploy when ‘genocide’
Is likewise one its agents won’t excuse,
Or when they so persistently elide
Those overlapping sets, ‘Israelis’/‘Jews’,
So that the ‘anti-semite’ charge can ride
The global airwaves and ensure the news
Gets round so fresh atrocities may hide
From such a charge as ‘genocide’, or use
That sacrosanct word, ‘holocaust’, applied
To one case only lest its usage lose
The needful force and have the case re-tried,
New victims this time rising to accuse
Those who’d have their past victimage provide
Full cover when they wear the victor’s shoes?

‘Nakba’: a word so singular, unique,
So non-transferable that it might stand
As our equivalent: a word we speak
With awe, with sorrow for the lives and land
So brutally denied us, yet don’t seek
To set up, by some God-endorsed command,
A shibboleth that then requires we wreak
Such vengeance in its name as now they’ve planned,
Those Israelites who think it shows them weak
Or faithless if they fail to have it banned,
All usage of that word, and force oblique,
Evasive ways around on those they’d brand
As cursed Amalekites who’d dare critique
Their sacred land-grab as its bounds expand.

On one point above all let’s be quite clear:
It’s to the State of Israel they’re addressed,
These bitter words long bred of anger, fear,
Survivor-guilt, and need to speak out lest
Our witness-bearing voices disappear
And leave us – final insult! – dispossessed
Of freedom, land, and any future ear
Inclined to listen and to make its test
Of truth that stark reproof to every smear
Laid on us by their allies in the West,
The US and its satellites, whose sphere
Has long resounded to the wish expressed
By Netanyahu in his holding dear
Those tales of war, civilian slaughter stressed.

The State of Israel, then, a ‘Jewish State’
But how so? culture, history, language, creed,
Or (spare us!) gene-pool – anyway some trait
Or mix thereof that’s commonly agreed,
Amongst the faithful, somehow to create
Such bonds of comity as meet their need,
No matter how all tribes miscegenate,
Creed notwithstanding. Still we must concede
It shapes whole lifetimes, weighs on them like fate
Or lifts them like a future fit to feed
Millennial hopes with dreams that long await
The promised outcome – never guaranteed –
Yet rarely, as at present, compensate
Hopes lost by taking Saul’s atrocious lead.

Some there’ve been, Holocaust survivors, those
Like Primo Levi, who were quick to see
How it would go, how it so often goes,
With words made sacrosanct by state decree,
Or names whose unique resonance bestows
Full rights of use to holders of a key
Possessed exclusively by one who owes
Allegiance to that sole catastrophe
That seals its utterance. Then it’s friends or foes,
The rightful users, those presumed to be
Its true custodians, licensed to disclose
Which creeds or tribes have bent the suppliant knee
And which new spawn of Amalek oppose
God’s edict and invite calamity.

We Palestinians suffer it, your ban,
Each time you or your US sponsors draw
That line again, so crucial to their plan
For ‘Middle East’ dominion that the law
Of usage be upheld, that nothing can
Henceforth be suffered to approach the awe
Its naming must evoke. Yet what began
At Amalek when raging Saul first swore
To God he’d spare no member of that clan,
Man, woman or child, is what we see once more
In this our ghetto, this our Bantustan,
As your Apartheid state makes total war
On us last proxies of the Musselman,
That victim of all victims, to ignore
Whose mute appeal’s to spurn the plea that ran
In blood down every shibboleth-bolted door.

Stripped
Friday, 14 June 2024 00:36

Stripped

Published in Poetry

Stripped

by Bernie Crawford

Always go for the strong image
the one that stalks the mind
when the book is closed
let it do the work, I encourage
my students

The image haunts me
all night, wish I hadn’t
watched the news
but know I’ve no right
to the privilege of not knowing

Row upon row
of men, young and old,
sitting, in almost prayer pose,
on ground among the rubble
in their underpants.