Makers of "Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire" are back with another documentary whose long-winded title nails its accusatory agenda. "Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land: The U.S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" is pedantic, humorless and one-sided -- qualities that won't encourage exposure beyond the activist left. But it's also a potent and valid indictment linking slanted U.S. coverage, foreign policy, and injustice in Palestine.

Makers of “Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear and the Selling of American Empire” are back with another documentary whose long-winded title nails its accusatory agenda. “Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land: The U.S. Media & the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” is pedantic, humorless and one-sided — qualities that won’t encourage exposure beyond the activist left. But it’s also a potent and valid indictment linking slanted U.S. coverage, foreign policy, and injustice in Palestine. Educational and cable-access gigs at home are signaled, with slightly wider play abroad.

Offering grisly footage (Israeli soldiers battering Arabs, civilian corpses, etc.) missing from U.S. network news, feature charts how mainstream American media blinds viewers to the real nature of this conflict. Israeli government use of Yank public relations firms, White House control over press access, and strategic language (Palestinian violence is “terrorism,” Israeli “defensive”) are among the tactics detailed. Lost are facts that the Gaza/West Bank occupation has violated international law since 1967, and that most of $6 billion annual U.S. aid to Israel goes toward latter’s military. Argument is forceful, though zero input from pro-Israeli and network media interviewees makes pic seem unwilling to practice the reportorial evenhandedness it preaches.

Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land

Production

An Arab Film Distribution presentation of a Media Education Foundation production. Produced by Bathsheba Ratzkoff. Executive producer, Sut Jhally. Directed by Bathsheba Ratzkoff, Sut Jhally.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Kelly Garner; editors, Kenyon King, Ratzkoff; music, Thom Monahan. Reviewed at Roxie Cinema, San Francisco, March 3, 2005. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Seth Ackerman, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Gila Svirsky, Robert Fisk, Hanan Ashrawi, Noam Chomsky, Neve Gordon, Toufic Haddad, Sam Husseini, Hussein Ibish, Robert Jensen, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Karen Pfeifer, Alisa Solomon, Major Stav Adivi. Narrator: Loretta Alper.

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