Dear Ms. Gronvall:
I brought the Reader home with me this evening and proceeded to read through the film descriptions in the film festival guide [October 8]. I was very disturbed by your description of Campfire, because I feel like your personal politics came through in a way that is totally absent from any of the other reviews you wrote in the guide.
Nowhere else did you extrapolate a political statement as you did when complaining that "by setting its tale before the start of the intifada, the movie only alludes to another group of outsiders--Palestinians are nowhere to be seen," as if they were intentionally ignored. Did it not occur to you that perhaps the movie simply had nothing to do with the Palestinians? That it is possible that there is plenty in Israeli life, both before September 2000 and since, that simply does not have anything to do with Palestinians, just as there is much in the lives of Arab Israelis and Palestinians that has nothing to do with the Israelis? In no other review did you or any other reviewer complain about a missing minority. The French movies' reviews make no mention of the Algerians or the Muslims now living in France, the German movies' reviews make no mention of the Turks, etc. Would you make the same complaint about a movie filmed in the 1960s in the United States if it did not mention the civil rights or antiwar movements? My guess is that you would not. If you had made the same kinds of comments in the other reviews, I would not be writing this letter. This felt like a gratuitous slap at the Israelis, which you did not do to any other country's films. Beware your double standard.
I lived in Israel during the time frame of this movie, and I look forward to seeing the film, along with many others in the festival. Israel was then, and is now, a vibrant, alive, exciting, and incredibly complex country, and to make a comment like you did does a disservice to Israel, the Palestinians, the film, and the filmmaker. I do not mean for this letter to insult. I mean for it to provoke some reflection as to where your comment came from. Again, beware the double standard.
Sheryl B. Dworkin