Pallywood in Olive Green

star-bandaged-finger_150Are viral videos curable?

Rabbi Ascherman from Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) claims to have escaped a settler with a knife. Five Minutes for Israel analyses the video and some of the explanations. Frankly I find too many red flags, or should that be olive flags, leading to Pallywood.

What bothers me?

Below are screen grabs from the video.

  1. There is nothing in the assailant’s clothes to suggest settler. Granted not every person from a ‘settlement’ dresses alike but there is a definite Hilltop Youth style that is missing here.
  2. Assailant has a conversation with the photographer in the white shirt but does not even pretend to attack other than waving his knife when the man has moved out of range. If someone was coming towards me with a knife I would either run like hell to get away of defend myself and the other ‘victim’. This man does neither. Why?
  3.  At one point in this ‘fight’ the rabbi is overpowered and on his knees yet no real attempt is made to seriously injure the Rabbi with either the rock or the knife.
  4. None of the other olive harvesters/media steps in, at any time, before, during or after. The video cameraman, Zaccaria Sadeh, a RHR employee, just continues to record. Surely a group armed with rocks and farming implements could overpower one man?
  5. According to various statements the Rabbi was protecting against the theft of Palestinian olives or investigating a fire in the grove set by settlers, yet the action is on a rocky, clearly uncultivated hillside not an olive tree to be scene, oops, seen.
  6. The assailant simply leaves (to go where?) and no one does anything, even follow at a distance to see where he is going.

Do you see something I missed?

Sounds funny?

Unusually for Five Minutes for Israel we are showing two videos of the same event from known Israel Hater sources. The comparison is instructive.


For some unexplained reason no audio is available. That would add another element to the analysis. Can anyone come up with a good reason for the audio to be switched off or edited out?

According to Yariv Mohar, Spokesperson for Rabbis for Human Rights, in the top video the rabbi approached trying to put out a fire set by Jewish extremists. With his bare hands, presumably. The attacker was shouting, “Go back, Go back”.

According to Ascherman, in the bottom video, he was trying to film the fire, also with his bare hands, as he has no camera.

The Hebrew speaking antagonist and the rabbi had quite a conversation. One could almost call it a debate. The rabbi told him that  he was desecrating the Torah. He replied, “How can you be wearing a Kippah (sign of a religious Jewish man)? Get out of here, you shouldn’t be here“. Given that they were engaged in extreme exertion with possible fatal results the adrenaline levels for both must have reached explosive levels. It’s a wonder either could do more than gasp for breath.

So take your pick: “Go back” or a theological discussion?

The rabbi can’t understand why he wasn’t killed yet the more obvious Pallywood photo-op, purely for the camera, is never considered. The knife-wielding, rock throwing, extremist settler was one of the volunteers.

It ends with the wrong question. What would have happened if Rabbi Ascherman had been a Palestinian, with the implication of death or serious injury? A better question would be, what would have happened if the knife wielder had been Palestinian. Judging by video evidence of Arab attacks in the past weeks the misguided rabbia and the sluggish photographer, presuming they had survived, would have considerably more than a bandaged finger to complain about.

About David Guy

B.A./B.C.A. (Communication and Media Arts) University of Wollongong, AUSTRALIA M.A. in Government (Diplomacy and Conflict Studies) Inter Disciplinary Center, Herzliya, ISRAEL Twitter @5MFI
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