Valley of the Wolves: Palestine is a new Turkish movie portraying the Mavi Marmara massacre as a premeditated Israeli attack that was set to kill innocent peace activists.
An uproar has erupted in Germany in the last few days over the upcoming launching of the film. The film’s intended release date in Germany is January 27, the same day as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Apparently the German distributor of the film confirmed that the company had been unaware of the sensitivity of the date. However, I actually think that linking between the events is not such a bad idea. If the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is there to remind us of crimes committed by a racist ethno-centric regime in the past, the Turkish film is there to awaken us to the colossal crimes that are committed by a racist ethno-centric regime in the present. If Germans are genuinely interested in the Nazi past, they better look closely at Israeli current brutality.
Some German politicians have condemned both the film and the date chosen for its release. PM Kerstin Griese, of the Social Democratic Party, criticized the film for inciting to violence and fomenting anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiment. This is, no doubt, a clumsy statement. If anything, the film is there to condemn Israeli violence that is committed daily against the Palestinian people. I would also like to remind PM Greise that opposing Israeli policies and practice is totally legitimate. Moreover, the film is there to criticise the deep racial hatred that is imbued within the Israeli society. If Griese is, indeed, concerned with anti Semitism, he should actually advocate this anti racist film and the specific choice of the release date.
Alternatively, I am happy to join forces with Griese and respect Jewish sensitivities. We can easily dedicate January 27 to Jewish suffering, as long as we can explore and scrutinise Zionist and Israeli brutality throughout the remaining 364 days of the year.
Gilad Atzmon is an Israeli-born British jazz saxophonist, novelist, political activist and writer.
Atzmon’s album Exile was BBC jazz album of the year in 2003. Playing over 100 dates a year, he has been called “surely the hardest-gigging man in British jazz.” His albums, of which he has recorded nine to date, often explore the music of the Middle East and political themes. He has described himself as a “devoted political artist.” He supports the Palestinian right of return and the one-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His criticisms of Zionism, Jewish identity, and Judaism, as well as his controversial views on The Holocaust and Jewish history have led to allegations of antisemitism from both Zionists and anti-Zionists. A profile in The Guardian in 2009 which described Atzmon as “one of London’s finest saxophonists” stated: “It is Atzmon’s blunt anti-Zionism rather than his music that has given him an international profile, particularly in the Arab world, where his essays are widely read.”