American Jews Should Not Be So Quick to Condemn Film 'Miral'

It makes perfect sense that a film told from the Palestinian perspective would rouse cries of condemnation, but this demands and deserves more than one perspective.

The fact that the film ‘Miral,’ a portrait of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seen through the eyes of an orphaned Palestinian girl is earning the early ire of mainstream Jewish groups is not at all surprising.

It makes perfect sense that a film told from the Palestinian perspective would rouse cries of condemnation from the American Jewish Committee, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and others for being “one-sided” as AJC’s executive director David Harris wrote earlier this week, protesting the screening of the film for the UN General Assembly in New York.

Miral movie, Julian Schnabel
Cast member Vanessa Redgrave, director Julian Schnabel, and screenwriter Rula Jeberal (L-R) arrive at the premiere of "Miral" in New York March 14, 2011. Reuters

But this early condemnation is short-sighted and unfair. And not just to the film itself, but to the conversation American Jews might be having about Israel. That conversation, if it has any hope of pushing past party-line radicalism and a peace process stalemate, demands and deserves more than one perspective, as well as a deeper understanding of the ‘other’ – which a film like ‘Miral’ provides.

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