Friday, November 20, 2009

Calgary Jewish Film Festival, 1 of 2

I am fortunate enough this week to attend the event that first made me interested in Jewish identity and sociology itself in the first place. Four years ago, I walked into the Beth Tzedec synagogue and walked out a changed person. I guess I really had no idea at the time what would happen or how that day would change my life (and hopefully the direction of it).

Last night dad and I saw The Case for Israel, which is based on a book written by Alan Dershowitz. It was really interesting. It almost came off like a conspiracy theory. I'm not saying they're right or wrong or that their scope is appropriate or not, I don't know enough about it. It was really interesting though. We were also fortunate enough to have Gloria Greenfield, one of the producers of the film, as a guest speaker. She talked about the movie and some things that have changed since the film was finished (x is no longer the prime minister, etc, etc) and some more current events like the ones they showed in the movie. She was an extremely interesting speaker and she and the film said a lot of things about the UN that I didn't know about.

Anyways, now for the thoughts I wanted to share. First of all, we were sitting there and my dad asked me what time it was. 7:01. "No kidding, they're late" and I said something about how in my limited religious experience (both Jewish AND Lutheran) I wasn't sure that I'd ever been to any event that started on time. Which is when dad said "They're always waiting for one more person". I thought that was funny and I asked him if he really thought it was due to an overwhelming sense of optimism.

The second thing I thought about was that thing about honouring one's ancestors. I'm not sure why I never thought of it before, but isn't that also a large part of Chinese culture? I have no idea but I'd really like to look into it. Someday I might even get a chance.

Something profound that someone said in the movie was "It never ends with the Jews". I don't know all my facts, obviously, but it seems that killing Jews is much like burning books and stuff in that it's not a good sign for everyone else. I remember one day when I was very Christian, my dad said that once (I'm sorry for any latent racism that I'm passing on on his behalf) Muslims are done killing all the Jews they'll just move on to the Christians. It seems like a fairly reasonable statement, though (the "it never ends with the Jews part).

A big parallel that they pointed out was the apparent policies of appeasement today and when they appeased Hitler before the second world war. One person in the film mentioned that just because Ahmadinejad may be crazy, he can't be discounted as such. He needs to be taken at face value. This is something else that sparked my interest because at first glance it looks like an entirely appropriate parallel.

The other main theme (I'd say) of the film was that the UN is corrupt and doesn't do what it was originally designed to do. Again, taken at face value based on the information in the film, this appears to be true. Especially based on the fact that Israel has been the focus of more human rights abuses charges than any of the other countries in the UN combined. Again, this is all very new to me and I should know more about Israel based on what I'm interested in, but it seems pretty counterintuitive for Israel to have been the worst human rights violator in the entire UN. They are a completely democratic country, any citizen (Arab Israelis included) can bring a petition to the Supreme Court. This would also be interested to look into.

At one point, Professor Dershowitz claims that Israel is the only country in the world that has to stand up to allegations against its right to exist.

I really have to go to work now. I'm really excited to see more movies on Sunday at the film fest. I hope I'll have lots of interesting things to talk about (I know I'll have lots to think about).

I think I realized that the thing that makes me require carrying a notebook around with me (which I have not been doing recently but should) is that I have what feels like little epiphanies all over the place. It's too bad it's so dark in the film fest, then I could write more!


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