Israel Lobbies Against “Palestine” tag at Oscars

Israel and U.S. Jewish groups have lobbied organizers of next month’s Academy Awards not to present a nominated film about Palestinian suicide bombers as coming from “Palestine,” an Israeli diplomat said on Sunday.

With Israelis and Palestinians locked in conflict over national claims on the same land, the provenance of “Paradise Now” is as combustible an issue as its plot in the run-up to the March 5 ceremony, which will be watched by millions worldwide.

Many Israelis were irked when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in publishing the nomination, said “Paradise Now” came from “Palestine.”

While the tag remains on the academy’s Web site, an Israeli diplomat said he expected the film to be described as coming from the “Palestinian Authority” during the awards ceremony.

“Both the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles and several concerned Jewish groups pointed out that no one, not even the Palestinians themselves, have declared the formal creation of ‘Palestine’ yet, and thus the label would be inaccurate,” the diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. [source]

Isn’t it strange that a people can be denied their historical land and then denied their historical name? as a country and as a people?

I think Israel is right!

the name should be changed for the sake of accuracy

to “Occupied Palestine”


  • You are right! I was watching the news with my father when I saw and heard the presentation of the Award going to ‘paradise now from Palestine’ … I said to my father while I love hearing Palestine from everyone every day and particulary in such contexts, I think a more accurate term that will show who ever is there and those watching the true brutal reality of Palestine and its people would be ‘Occupied Palestine!’ …
    Speaking of which, I really miss it there. I am thinking of holding off going this summer but I might go even if it’s for just 2 weeks 🙂

  • I was going to say this is crazy, then something caught my eye, you’ve published this under “the crazies”…hit the nail on the head!

    Yes they should change it to occupied Palestine, lets call things by their real names.

  • Well said, but I wonder why they didnâ??t make any early crazy comments and problems at the Golden Globes for the same film.

    When the movie won and I heard the acceptance speech by the movie director, I knew that they will come up with trouble for him very soon 🙂

    I looked at the crowds after the speech..some of them was thinking: Should we clap or not lool !

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  • I agree with Hanan. Labels are nonsense; what matters is the tragedy of lost lives and lost freedom. And the quest for peace.

    I saw the film at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, on its opening night. I thought the film was very powerful and well acted. In my opinion, it was a praiseworthy attempt to *explain* rather than to justify. I know a couple of the Israeli (Jewish) producers and have met Ali and Kais, who play the protagonists. They are both Israelis and both live in Tel Aviv – although Ali is now in Hollywood, auditioning for film roles. Until recently, he acted in a Hebrew version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” at the Arab-Hebrew Theatre in Jaffa. I saw that play too – and it was excellent.

    And something else that is almost never mentioned:
    “Paradise Now” was directed by an Israeli (Hany Abu Asad). It stars Israeli actors (Ali and Kais) – who happen to live in Tel Aviv – and was partly funded by Israeli investors. No Palestinians – in an official capacity or otherwise – invested in this film. And the first interview Hany Abu Asad gave after winning the Golden Globe was by telephone to Guy Pines, who is the host of a nightly Israeli entertainment show.

  • Salam Lisa!

    Paradis Now from Palestine won the award as announced!

    Kais, Ali and Hany are from 1948 land … They are Palestinian 🙂

    When Kais was asked what his greatest challenge was playing this character, Kais replied My challenge was in I am a Palestinian and I am involved emotionally in a way. My challenge was not to do it politically, not to try to have a political statement, just to understand the drama of it, the drama of a man in that situation who takes this decision.

    I am not sure if you know this, but “israeli Arabs” consider themselves Palestinian first and foremost … It could be maybe, just maybe because they are palestinian …

  • ///I am not sure if you know this, but â??israeli Arabsâ? consider themselves Palestinian first and foremost â?¦ It could be maybe, just maybe because they are palestinian â?¦\\\\

    Hear hear!

    Perhaps there was no protest at the Globes b/c no one expected it might actually win…

  • personally i don’t think it matters whether the film comes from “palestine” or “the palestinian authority” or even “occupied palestine.” one problem with this conflict is that people get too caught up in labels. the labels are symbols for the conflict and so they seem really important. but they’re not. all that matters is the loss of life and the human suffering.

    they can call the film whatever they want. just like they can call the country whatever they want. hell, if they want to call the whole place “israel” that’s fine with me too–provided everyone living there has the same rights, the same access to the political process, there are no checkpoints and identity cards for some people but not others, no bulldozing of houses or military incursions.

    that’s all i really care about

  • one problem with this conflict is that people get too caught up in labels. the labels are symbols for the conflict and so they seem really important. but theyâ??re not. all that matters is the loss of life and the human suffering.

    and human suffering is caused because? not that this is breaking news, but there is a land that has been lost … identities in an on- going process of attempted elimination … hence the suffering …

    so Identity cards, you say?! 🙂

  • of course, symbols lead to suffering. but that doesn’t change the fact that the suffering, not the symbols, are the real problem. you gotta keep your eye on the ball if you want to get anywhere with this. symbolic things can be important elements, but they are not what is really wrong here.

    if symbols were being swapped around and no one suffered because of it, i don’t think there would be a problem. the suffering is the problem. whether the line in the program listing the home country of a film includes the word “authority” after it, doesn’t

  • This is what I call Prostitution of Israeli politics… We have Israel and the whole world running after Hamas and putting all possible pressure to recognise the existance to the state of israel. Now they are going mad about Oscar typing in the word palistine. Dosent Palistine exist too?? Hum I wonder…

  • Really, Lisa, as a recent transplant from Canada, it is somewhat cheeky of you to label Palestinians as “Israeli.” Sort of like the Eastern European David Ben Gurion, aka David Gruen establishing a commission to wipe out names of Arab villages to replace with Hebrew names–thankfully Dr. Salman Abu Sitta and Professor Walid Kahlidi’s extraordinary efforts will ensure that Palestinians never forget who they are and from where they come. Dr. Abu Sitta’s Atlas of Palestine even provides routes showing us the way to our destroyed villages, upwards of seven hundred, to which many of us long to return and with far deeper roots than those of you who make aliyah from Canada, Brazil, Alabama… Peace, habbibi, is an empty word, if it is not accompanied by justice.

  • Hi Iman,

    My point was that by fighting over labels we are missing an opportunity for dialogue. The fact is that (Jewish) Israelis invested in a controversial film about suicide bombers made by (Palestinian) Israelis. [I do not believe that any Palestinians (or other Arabs) invested in the film]. Publicizing this fact would be a call for peace. Ignoring it is almost like fanning the flames of the conflict. What a pity!

    I’m delighted that “Paradise Now” was picked up for distribution by Warner Bros. and that it’s getting so much positive publicity. I was invited to the film’s opening night in Tel Aviv, where it is still playing every night at the Cinematheque, and had a fascinating conversation with Kais (in Hebrew) after the screening. He’s a lovely guy and I’m so glad that both he and Ali (who was acting in a Hebrew version of “The Tempest” at the Arab-Hebrew theatre in Jaffa until very recently) are seeing the international success they deserve. I hope it continues.

    I have many “1948” friends in Israel; a few of them live in my neighbourhood in Tel Aviv and we hang out at the same cafes. Some call themselves Palestinian-Israelis, some prefer Arab-Israeli and others Palestinians of Israeli nationality. I have no problem with any of those labels; it is human nature to seek an identity.

    I also think that the people who oppose the Palestine tag at the Oscars are misguided. I hope that one day soon there really will be a state of Palestine, and that there is a foreign film entry tagged Palestine/Israel.

    By the way, one of the first interviews given by Hany Abu Asad after he won the Golden Globe was to Guy Pines, the host of an Israeli nightly entertainment show. Pines called Hany to congratulate him and broadcast the interview live.

  • According to this link Paradise Now received financing from Palestinian, German, and French companies.

    “A resident of Amsterdam for two decades, Abu-Assad often receives funding from Dutch sources, although Paradise Now also got financing from Palestinian, German and French companies.”

    It received the Berlinale Award for Best European Film.

    Another good film is the documentary Route 181, which is co-directed by an Israeli and Palestinian. It makes a strong case for one unified country.

    In spite of your penchant for Palestinian namedropping, Lisa, on your blog you refer to Gilo, an illegal settlement, as a “Jewish neighborhood.” How “peaceful” is that? It’s called the “language of dispossession.” People are getting fame and fortune working toward “peace.” “Peace” for a “piece.”

    Meanwhile a poor twenty-five year old Palestinian woman, who has the misfortune to live near the border, was shot to death yesterday in Gaza while tending her goats so that transplanted yuppies may feel secure drinking cappucino in Tel Aviv. I am more concerned about her than I am that you have found a Palestinian actor with whom to speak Hebrew.

    I question the sincerity of anyone who makes aliyah to Israel in light of two intifadehs, and in light of Israel’s refusal to implement UN Resolution 194. Hope that you continue to find “acceptable” Palestinians with whom to discourse and discourse and discourse until there’s nothing left for us to talk about anymore.

  • umkahlil,

    what is the point of your last comment? after your link about the financing of the film (which was relevant), the rest of your comment is just an attack on lisa. what was the point of that? personally, i think it’s important to have people like her in israel if sanity is to ever come to that country.

  • My point is that anyone who professes to be concerned about peace does not make a conscious decision to immigrate from Canada to Israel when my friends expelled from Jaffa, a place to which they and their ancestors have lived for centuries, do not have the option to be buried in the place of their birth. My point is that I can not go to Ramallah, from where my father comes, without a humiliating strip search at the airport, being asked my grandfather’s last name, and other indignities which I incurred the last time I visited Ramallah, and yet Yael, from Alabama, Lisa from Canada, and Balagan, from Brazil, bloggers who profess to be enthralled with peace, and with no roots in Palestine, may.

    My point is that bridge building among bloggers and chatting with the other in coffee shops, while it may get more hits for someone on his or her blog, has nothing to do with justice. Shouting from the rooftops that some Israelis put some bucks into Paradise Now isn’t going to effect justice. A call by Israelis for the implementation of UN Resolution 194, right of return for the Palestinians, will convince me that they’re sincere about peace. Anything less is no peace and will not lead to peace, and I think that the results of the election for the Palestinian Parliament bear that out.

    And Hanan, I know that you work with Mubarak Awad; I have always admired Mubarak back from the time he wanted to covert to Judaism so that he could return to Palestine; his dad and my dad were friends in Ramallah.

  • It’s ironic that Israselis fear Palestinians and more so, that Israeli lobbyists, aka rich middle-class Californians, fear the word Palestine.
    The Oscars used to stand for something meaningful. The maker of “Parardise Now”, a Palestinian, was nominated by his peers. That’s the beauty of the Oscars!
    Who are these sad people to complain about that? Don’t they have better things to do with their lives than defaming Palestinians?

    Thanks Black Iris, you have been bookmarked!

  • and my point is that berating lisa isn’t going to get justice either.

    the only way that resolution 194 will ever be implemented is if there are israelis who support its implementation. yelling at someone for moving to israel is not only senseless, it’s actually counter-productive. that’s why i asked what the point of your comments to her were.

  • If Lisa and the rest of the relatively well off young people who make aliyah to historic Palestine actively work for the implementation of UN Resolution 194, I will be the first to apologize for pointing out the hypocrisy inherent in their actions, but until that time I have no interest in paying homage to any of them.

    My energies are better placed working with activist groups in the US, educating US taxpayers, who foot the bill for Israel’s ongoing genocide of the Palestinians.

    I do not believe, either, that it is “berating” someone who goes on boards and espouses peace to call them on the use of the term “Jewish neighborhood” for what is an illegal colony by international law.

    Sorry, but I have no respect for young people who make a conscious decision to set up shop in a country that was built on the ashes of Palestine. Read Dr. Salman Abu Sitta and wise up. Marginalize me, call me hateful, vitriolic, violence prone, racist; I’ve heard it all… I’ve got no self-interest here; I’m happily settled in Germany and the US. My only interest is a passion for justice for Palestinians. Or as my father said, “It’s a shame what they did to those people.”

    Sorry to tie up your board, Nas, and for straying off topic, but this really is THE topic, isn’t it?

  • well said umkhalil !!!

    seems to me L is of the “peace” camp that helps make israeli racism, cruelty, and injustice possible.

  • umkahli

    While in ordinary circumstances I might be sympathetic to your plight, in this context your ancestors made a hell of a lot of mistakes; mistakes that you cannot expect the Israelis to pick up the tab for decades later. They doggedly refused to accept a UN Partition, and have spent every day since changing identities, causing wars, invading Isreal over and over again, refusing ever to negotiate.

    Now SIXTY years later you start banging on about a legally-useless UN General Assembly Resolution. Hun, it is a pity that y’all weren’t more keen to respect those Resolutions back then. 194 has been irrelevant for sixty years. You people have GOT to stop jumping all over the place and picking and choosing when you will agree to pay ball and when you won’t. At the moment, there is no way that someone like me who has no stake in this conflict can possibly take you serious. 194? Are you for real?

    I can understand why Israel wouldn’t want a bar of you! You know since 1948 the world has kept turning, the Cold War has come and again, China has boomed..Meanwhile the Arabs and those who identify as “Palestinian” have remained in their own little bubble of denial.

    It’s time to move on. You wanted to kill all the Jews. You lost. Big Time. Time for you to grow up and accept the umpire’s decision.


  • To Neoleftychick

    Well let me tell you something, the arabs, thier ancestors, and those who identify themselves as palestinians… them and thier children, and all that will come next, WILL always stay and be in thier bubble of what ever you may call it, until the land is BACK. dig that? I think you do !

  • Nidal

    Well if that is how you wish to live the rest of your life there is little I can do. But you must start accepting some responsibility for yourselves. I realize the Muslim world has a lot of difficulty in acknowledging its fall from the heights of the middle ages, but you need to live in 2006 not 1406. Y’all have got to stop the self-pity and blaming of everybody else for Islam’s own weaknesses.

  • Yâ??all have got to stop the self-pity and blaming of everybody else for Islamâ??s own weaknesses.

    This might be the one statement from you that I happen to agree with. Although I believe it’s not really Islam that has to be blamed for that either; it’s the people themselves who brought this upon themselves and have only themselves to blame, and change.

    Islam has been put into a state of hybernation if you wanna call it. What you see today from the “muslim world” is Islam performing at much less than its potential.

  • Hamzeh

    I am curious as to whether you think Egypt, Syria, and Jordan should contribute to compensating the Palestinians

  • If some Palestinians feel they need to be compensated by these countries, then they should definitely ask for it, but I’ve grown up with Palestinians all my life and I’ve never heard any talk about compensations from Jordan, Egypt or Syria.

    Anyway, this is a discussion that needs to be put aside while we tackle the more important and pressing point, and that is Israel’s occupation and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

  • neoleftychick:
    “i realize the Muslim world has a lot of difficulty in acknowledging its fall from the heights of the middle ages, but you need to live in 2006 not 1406.”

    I’d recommend the book by robert spencer, “the politically incorrect guide to islam (and the crusades)” to anybody interested in the so-called ‘golden age’ of islam. i think the book makes it quite clear the that the accomplishments of the muslim world have been greatly exaggerated and that the tolerance displayed in islamic societies towards religious minorities during this era has been greatly understated. many of the accomplishments cited as achievements of islamic civilization were the work of jews (maimonides, for example), byzantine christians living under muslim rule (such as the architecture that went into dome of the rock -even the craftsman were byzantines, in this instance) and arab christians (the translation of greek literature into arabic). much of so-called islamic civilization was a produced in spite of, rather than because of islam and as the book makes clear, it was the anti-intellectualism of islam that ultimately caused the decline of this civlization.

  • “that the tolerance displayed in islamic societies towards religious minorities during this era has been greatly understated.”

    Typo: it should read ‘overstated’ not ‘understated.’

  • Robert Spencer = Islamophobic

    don’t waste your money or time on him, everyone already knows what he has to say; a bunch of lies and half facts put together in a fashion that promotes his opinion, which is that Islam is the evil of this world.

    If you’re really interested in history (as in what really happened), then your best bet is to read a real history book from a real historian like Steven Runciman’s History of the Crusades.

  • Hi – Here’s the BIG problem with “Paradise Now”. It serves Israeli soft-core land-grab propaganda in several ways.

    1. And worst of all – it in no way shows the actual misery of the Palestinians in 1967 Bordered occupied Palestine. It does not show those forced to live in refugee camps, it does not show those living in areas near Janin where there is no provision for underground sewage (as it has been disrupted by IDF damage) – where there is little or no employment and the water supply is restricted to the point that it is a terrible burden. The idea of ‘poverty’ the film shows you is a Laugh. As the film shows it there are many people in the U.S. much worse off or impoverished. And if you don’t know that is lie – what are you doing on this site?

    1.A – In the far more true-to-life film produced with the help of and featuring many Jews -“Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land” put out by the Media in Education organization in Northampton Massachussets – an Israeli Jewish father whose daughter has been blown up by a suicide bomber, states that he can understand why Palestinians ground down, tortured and humiliated by the IDF; finallyfeel that So much has been taken from them that it is Better to die in defiance of the Occupation as a suicide bomber. The Real anger and despair that drives these youths is totally lacking from this pro-Israeli propaganda film.

    2. This ‘film maker’ crassly insinuates that those who guide and facilitate suicide bombers are probably cynical manipulators out for their own gain. He has them Eating Pita Bread sandwiches while watching the ‘true-believer’ suicide bomber making his Death and Dedication last statement for the video film. If that doesn’t show you what perspective this film is coming from you are either ignorant of the situation or a Hasbara functionary.

    3. There is only ONE unpleasant Israeli portrayed in this film – the checkpoint guard: and he is ONLY unpleasant in his staring looks. That’s it! No land-grabbing stick-beating ‘settlers’. Just one guard with a bad look. Who are they kidding here folks? I hope not you. The Palestinians are treated to Far more than ‘bad’ looks.

    Now if you think that Israelis do not torture and humiliate Palestinians go to the site of Israeli soldiers who have EXPOSED it and who Refuse to serve in the Israeli Army. and see what decent Israelis have to say about that.

    Do you see why they allowed this ‘Palestinian’ to make his film? “Paradise Now” is practically an endorsement of Israeli deprecation of suicide bombing as a form of patriotic resistance.

    By the way, technically for an Israeli-view supporting film “Paradise Now” is a very Good film. Just don’t be deceived into thinking that this film gives a Palestinian point of view.

    By the way I HAVE been to Israel. Yrs truly — Sam

    This certainly is not a film from Palestinian suicide-bombing freedom-figher’s point of view.

    This film could have been made by Ariel Sharon with a little technical help.

  • salam ,we have to do everything in order to participate in palestine liberation.palestine is occupied and we have to defend it simply because palestine belongs for us the arabic,only for the arabics

  • palestine is for the arabic ,only for the arabic and there is no places for juices in palestine.I will do everything in order to participate in the liberation of palestine.

Your Two Piasters: