When delving into the history of anti-Semitism, "Unmasked Judeophobia" remains a credible and relevant if not especially revelatory examination.
When delving into the history of anti-Semitism, “Unmasked Judeophobia” remains a credible and relevant if not especially revelatory examination. But once Israel appears on the horizon, Gloria Z. Greenfield’s docu becomes a fervent apologia for all of the state’s policies. Whatever clarity can be gained by the film’s analysis of endemic Islamic hatred of Jews is fatally compromised by equally irrational, overreaching claims — for instance, that Palestinians routinely fake footage of their dead. Compared with groundbreaking Israeli docus like “The Gatekeepers,” this transparent piece of propaganda, opening Oct. 19 at Gotham’s Quad, blatantly overplays its hand.
Pic trots out an impressive international roster of academics, politicians, historians and rabbis to trace Islamic “judeophobia” back to its medieval as well as Nazi roots. But Greenfield and her army of experts next proceed to explain away any questionable act by the Israeli government, and facilely equate anti-Israel protest with overt or covert anti-Jewish sentiment. Hewing to the party line, the filmmakers rarely venture beyond Israel’s sanctioned vision of itself as a beleaguered garden in a desert of unprovoked hatred. “Unmasked Judeophobia” even essays a preemptory strike by demonizing Iran with hawkish shrillness.