Defamation | Chicago Reader

Defamation

Israeli documentary maker Yoav Shamir (Checkpoint) takes a skeptical approach in this study of Jewish responses to anti-Semitism. He begins in New York with Abraham Foxman, the tireless director of the Anti-Defamation League, who, noting the organization’s ready access to world leaders, observes that "they believe we're more powerful than we are," and then wonders, "So how do you fight this sinister conspiratorial view of Jews without using it?" The most revealing moments come as Shamir records a trip by Israeli students to the Polish death camps; warned beforehand that the locals won’t like them, the teens interpret their encounters (or lack thereof) accordingly. The filmmaker gives roughly equal time to left, right, and moderate views, but his glib narration, accentuated by a jaunty score, undercuts this otherwise worthy inquiry. In English and subtitled Hebrew, Polish, and Russian. 92 min.

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