A catalog of symptoms rather than a search for causes or cures, “Ever Again” paints a dire picture of anti-Semitism in contemporary Europe, attribut-ing the recent rise in violence to religious fanaticism and neo-Nazi-spawned hatred. These phenomena are undoubtedly factors in the desecrations, physical assaults and suicide bombings. But, since the docu will likely find its home in the educational market, a more balanced approach might have made it more insightful and educational.
Produced by Moriah Films, a division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, “Ever Again” is revelatory regarding several militant Moslem leaders who advocate violence against Jews: Omar Bakri Mohammed, for instance, the London-based Is-lamic cleric, or such demagogic leaders as Antwerp’s Jew-hating Abou Jahjah.
But director Richard Trank and his co-producer, Marvin Hier, who is a rabbi, engage in a bit of their own bombast. Recalling a meeting with Jacques Chirac, Hier says the French president told an anecdote about a university-educated Mos-lem who planned to return to Palestine to “kill Jews.” While Chirac blamed the young gradu-ate’s radical feelings on the “hu-miliation” he and Arabs like him have suffered, Hier preferred to blame “fanaticism.”
Both were right, in their way. But without acknowledging what makes young Arabs so easily indoctrinated into a fundamentalist Islamic worldview, Hier can hardly claim the high road in the debate.
So goes the film. Portuguese Nobel laureate Jose Saramago’s comparison of Israel’s conduct on the West Bank to Auschwitz earns him utter dismissal. (Saramago may be extreme, but he deserves not to be quoted out of context.) And the idea that there might be factors other than pure hatred and evil behind pro-Palestinian or anti-Israeli voices is never entertained.
On the other hand, Hier scores large points when he asks why U.N. resolutions are almost inevi-tably against Israeli. Where, he asks, are the resolutions against fundamentalist Islamic treatment of women? Or the outrages of Darfur?
Capably narrated by Kevin Costner, “Ever Again” is a mixed bag, briskly edited, good-looking but suspect in some of its logic.