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‘Pallywood’: A particularly ugly ethnic slur

And a very popular one among right-wing Israelis and Diaspora Jews.

I’ve been writing for years against the “Pallywood” theory – the right-wing notion that videos showing Palestinians getting killed by Israelis are really elaborate fakes meant to blacken Israel’s name. Yet it’s only this morning I realized that the term “Pallywood,” which was coined by Boston University Prof. Richard Landes, is an ethnic slur, and a particularly ugly one.

It not only mangles the name of an entire people, it does so in the most contemptuous context – it links the name Palestinian with the telling of lies, and not just any lies, but lies about Palestinian deaths at the hands of their conquerors.

Pallywood. Compared to that, referring to New York as “Hymietown” is mild stuff.

What a bigoted term Landes invented, and what a popular one it is in the Israeli/right-wing Jewish political lexicon. A Google search for “Pallywood” this morning turned up 406,000 entries. There’s a Wikipedia page for it, too.

And I didn’t even notice how vicious an insult it was until now, which says a lot about how living in Israel makes you numb to abuses of Palestinian, or Arab, or Muslim dignity: In Israel, we Jews say things about them that they could never get away with saying about us.

Related:
Day of catastrophe for ‘Pallywood’ conspiracy theorists
Beitunia killings and the media’s incredibly high bar for Palestinian stories
Truth, tapes and two dead Palestinians

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    COMMENTS

    1. Bryan

      Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of Pallywood is the the 1960 Preminger movie, based on Uris’s novel Exodus, which describes events in Palestine before that land was conquered by Israel. Bradley Burston, writing in Haaretz, claims that “Tailoring, altering and radically sanitizing the history of the founding of the State of Israel to flatter the fantasies and prejudices of American Jews…” David Ben-Gurion argued “As a literary work it isn’t much, but as a piece of propaganda, it’s the best thing ever written about Israel.” Distortion and down-right propaganda about Palestine has a long history in Hollywood.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Absolutely. Uris’ Exodus is the a primary school textbook so to speak shaping the American right wing diaspora’s viewpoint, which is based on a kitsch Disneyland version of Israel and the situation. The American settler transplants tend to be the most naive, fanatical and energetic, delighted with escaping their alienation by disappearing down a part-Biblical-Wonderland, part-Wild-West rabbit hole known as the territories. The Sabras know it is much more complex and are on the whole more cynical.

        Reply to Comment
        • “The American settler transplants tend to be the most naive, fanatical and energetic, delighted with escaping their alienation by disappearing down a part-Biblical-Wonderland, part-Wild-West rabbit hole known as the territories.”

          That’s the best description of the typical american settler I’ve ever heard; useful idiots and a frightening lot to behold. We must be careful not to use words that sound like we’re describing all of them, all americans, all anything. There is a very literal lot trolling 972, no understanding of nuance, sarcasm, humor or anything outside their own world.

          Reply to Comment
    2. “And I didn’t even notice how vicious an insult it was until now, which says a lot about how living in Israel makes you numb to abuses of Palestinian, or Arab, or Muslim dignity: In Israel, we Jews say things about them that they could never get away with saying about us.”

      That’s what happens when racism is policy; it’s everywhere, in schools, on TV, in the newspapers, in the air, in the water and in the food we eat. It has poisoned everything. Its the same as the post civil war US, Apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany. It’s inescapable, there’s nothing that hasn’t been defiled by it.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Merav

      If “pallywood” is an “ethnic slur”, then – by the SAME logic – terminologies such as
      1. Israeli hasbara
      2. Israeli genocide
      3. Israeli Apartheid
      4. Israeli ethnic cleansing
      5. Jewish lobby, etc.
      must, surely qualify as “ethnic slur”. Indeed, +972ma is an institution of the highest learning with super smart professors. The extremely gifted students of +972mag are already jiving in with cheers and praises. Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Thank You Larry Derfner for providing them this knowledge. Very insightful, indeed.

      Reply to Comment
      • Phil

        Merav, you seem even more unhinged today than the other day when you rattled on about rape-murders..

        As Israeli hasbara, apartheid, ethnic leansing and the Jewish lobby do EXIST, how can it be an ethnic slur to label them such?

        Reply to Comment
        • Merav

          I am not saying that those terminologies are ethnic slurs or that they are not ethnic slurs. What I said is that if you apply Larry Derfner’s logic, then you must conclude that they are ethnic slurs. And if they are not ethnic slurs, then “pallywood” cannot qualify as ethnic slur. I am only applying Larry’s logic and following it to its conclusive end without offering an opinion of my own.

          Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            excellent point Merav.

            Reply to Comment
        • jeannie carter

          Thank you so much for your comment Phil…… I needed a good laugh. I remember the posted comment made by Merv the other day too..

          I think it was what was needed since I have just been ‘ talking ‘ to someone in Canada, who was frightened to comment anywhere due to having Jewish friends who would be upset……
          thanks again –

          Reply to Comment
          • phil

            @merav

            I don’t think rape under any circumstances is a source of laughter

            However, your comments most definitely are

            I’ve just seen your link to the the piece on rape terrorism..

            How can you expect to be taken seriously when you post such rubbish

            Reply to Comment
          • Merav

            Phil, if you think it is “rubbish” you must make arguments to demonstrate why. You have not done that. Claiming that it is “rubbish” does not make it so and is not even remotely enough (that’s just the beginning of an argument). You ought to know that. All you have to do is make a chain of logically connected arguments a reasonable person can follow. That’s what I can respond to. Right now I have nothing to respond.

            Reply to Comment
      • Yeah, right

        “5. Jewish lobby, etc.”

        That’s an ethnic slur.

        The four examples before that are not, because “Israeli” is not an ethnicity.

        Heck, under Israeli law it isn’t even a “nationality”.

        It’s a “citizenship”, and nothing more.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ray

        I don’t see anyone referring to “Izzywood,” or “Kike Propaganda,” or the like, so no, “Hasbara” and “Israeli Apartheid” are not racist in the way that “Pallywood” is.

        Reply to Comment
    4. http://www.hasbarafellowships.org

      – Jewish Lobby – Wikipedia –
      In a 2004 speech, Goldberg said, “There has been an awful lot of talk in the last few years about the rise of the Jewish lobby and the influence of the Jewish lobby. It used to be that you couldn’t talk about this sort of thing. When I wrote [the book] Jewish Power in 1996… I was accused by various Jewish lobbyists of inflating and buying into the old myths of international Jewish conspiracies simply by the use of the title.”[4] Goldberg disagrees with the sensitivity towards the use of the term, arguing that: “There is such a thing as a Jewish lobby, that the network of organizations that works together to put across what might be called the Jewish community’s view on world affairs is not insignificant, it’s not an invention, but it is not some sort of all-powerful octopus that it’s sometimes portrayed as these days.”[4] Mearsheimer and Walt wrote in 2006 that “even the Israeli media refer to America’s ‘Jewish Lobby'”,[21] and stated the following year that “AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents and the Israeli media themselves refer to America’s ‘Jewish Lobby’.”[22]

      – LA Times Op-Ed May 17, 2014
      Does the term ‘apartheid’ fit Israel? Of course it does. by Saree Makdisi (have copied this on a previous post)

      – Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, or, democratic Israel at work – Ha’aretz
      While we are still desperately conceling, denying, and repressing our major ethnic cleansin of 1948 -over 600,000 refugees, some who fled for fear of the Israel Defense Forces and its predecessors, some who were expelled by force – it turns out that 1948 never ended, that its spirit is still with us.
      By Gideon Levy/May 12, 2011/2:04 am
      It happened on the day after Independence Day, when Israel was immersed in praise of itself and its democracy almost ad nauseam, and on the eve of (virtually outlawed ) Nakba Day, when the Palestinian people mark the “catastrophe” – the anniversary of the creation of Israel. My colleague Akiva Eldar published what we have always known but for which we lacked the shocking figures he revealed: By the time of the Oslo Accords, Israel had revoked the residency of 140,000 Palestinians from the West Bank. In other words, 14 percent of West Bank residents who dared to go abroad had their right to return to Israel and live here denied forever. In other words, they were expelled from their land and their homes. In other words: ethnic cleansing.
      While we are still desperately concealing, denying and repressing our major ethnic cleansing of 1948 – over 600,000 refugees, some who fled for fear of the Israel Defense Forces and its predecessors, some who were expelled by force – it turns out that 1948 never ended, that its spirit is still with us. Also with us is the goal of trying to cleanse this land of its Arab inhabitants as much as possible, and even a bit more. After all, that’s the most covert and desired solution: the Land of Israel for the Jews, for them alone. A few people dared to say it outright – Rabbi Meir Kahane, Minister Rehavam Ze’evi and their disciples, who deserve a certain amount of praise for their integrity. Many aspire to do the same thing without admitting it.
      The revelation of the policy of denying residency has proved that this secret dream is in effect the establishment’s secret dream. There one doesn’t talk about transfer, heaven forfend; nobody would think of calling it cleansing. They don’t load Arabs onto trucks as they once did, including after the Six-Day War, and they don’t shoot at them to chase them away – all politically incorrect methods in the new world. But in effect that’s the goal.
      Some people think it’s enough if we make the lives of the Palestinians in the territories miserable to get them to leave, and many have in fact left. An Israeli success: According to the Civil Administration, about a quarter of a million Palestinians voluntarily left the West Bank in the bloody years 2000-2007. But that’s not enough, so various and sundry administrative means were added to make the dream come true.
      Anyone who says “it’s not apartheid” is invited to reply: Why is an Israeli allowed to leave his country for the rest of his life, and nobody suggests that his citizenship be revoked, while a Palestinian, a native son, is not allowed to do so? Why is an Israeli allowed to marry a foreigner and receive a residency permit for her, while a Palestinian is not allowed to marry his former neighbor who lives in Jordan? Isn’t that apartheid? Over the years I have documented endless pitiful tragedies of families that were torn apart, whose sons and daughters were not permitted to live in the West Bank or Gaza due to draconian rules – for Palestinians only.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        “Why is an Israeli allowed to leave his country for the rest of his life, and nobody suggests that his citizenship be revoked, while a Palestinian, a native son, is not allowed to do so? Why is an Israeli allowed to marry a foreigner and receive a residency permit for her, while a Palestinian is not allowed to marry his former neighbor who lives in Jordan? Isn’t that apartheid?”

        Indeed.

        Reply to Comment
      • Me too.

        Reply to Comment
      • Merav

        “At first I thought this must be a joke”!

        Indeed, Bruce Gould, it is a joke. Larry is just providing some laughter today. Unfortunately all of the usual students of +972mag take him seriously not realizing that it’s a joke. That’s the danger of telling jokes to students with special needs. I hope Larry realizes this soon enough and urgently reminds them that it’s all a joke.

        Reply to Comment
    5. GilGamesh

      that one video may have been falsely labeled as Pallywood does in no way exonerate many others which clearly were fabricated for propaganda purposes.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Got any data? Got any evidence? Of course not.

        Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            THAT is NOT evidence, and only reveals what are your nonexistent standards for evidence and so the hollowness and cynicism of the “pallywood” slander. THAT is a tendentious account of “media bias.” (If you want to get into tendentious accounts of media bias, it can be strongly argued the other way in my opinion, that the Palestinians do not get the brutality and unfairness they are subject to reported by the western world’s media, particularly in the United States, that Israel gets a pass where other nations would not, but that gets us off topic.) So, again, got any evidence? On fabricated films?

            Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            where did you go Brian?

            Reply to Comment
    6. Brian

      The Jerusalem Post comment sections, tuned as they are into the frequency of the American diaspora, are filled, all day long, with contemptuous slurs about “The Pals,” “The Pali-Abs,” “The Muzzies,” etc. Ad nauseum.

      Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          Hi Richard! I thought you’d firmly resolved to stop reading me. Can’t stay away huh? I’m just irresistible.

          Reply to Comment
          • Merav

            Duuuh?! It seems you are also not very clever. It’s not Richard. Its courtesy of Richard because that’s one of his responses to your several nauseating rants. It was the best response ever on this site. I laughed the whole day.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            “I laughed the whole day”? Yikes! You have an, um, rich, sophisticated mental life. LOL!

            Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        BRIAN:”You MUST be an American. No one else could sound so credulous and so idiotic”

        GUSTAV:”Brian’s sentence implies that ALL Americans are idiotic. Surely you don’t agree with him about that, Marnie”.

        MARNIE:”Actually I do”

        Brian and Marnie indiscriminately slur each and every American and display contempt towards all American individuals, man, woman or child, yet here they are tut tutting about ethnic slurs and the talkback of the Jerusalem posts.

        What hypocrites …

        Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          Marnie: Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, Gustav is hunting wabbits.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elmer_Fudd

          (Gustav: I never actually committed a slur on all Americans. It is absurd to say so. Honestly, only the most humorless, literal-minded, concrete reader, or an Elmer Fudd-like reader intent on tracking and finding any excuse to “shoot that wabbit!” could possibly interpret what I wrote, in the context in which I wrote it (which you removed) to mean a slur on all Americans. It’s just ridiculous on the face of it to say so. On the other hand, it is not ripping things out of context, nor is it humorless or concrete to point out the use of such slurs as “Pals…Muzzies” on the unfailingly idiotic JPost comment forums. It would be just too easy to document this.)

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Having said that, and to add back in the context you left out, I do think, and I do hereby publicly declare (should I get a notary public to certify this Gustav?) there is something idiotic, credulous and hypocritical about the fundamentalist Christian Right in America that, for its own self-respecting and not exactly Judaism-respecting reasons, can find nothing whatsoever wrong with the credo of Naftali Bennet. And I do publicly declare that I think that Netanyahu’s courting of this fundamentalist Christian Right in his beloved America, and his siccing this Right on U.S. President Barack Obama–a Right whose core belief is that the Jews and everybody else will spend eternity in fire and brimstone if they do not recognize Jesus as God when the Rapture comes–is appallingly cynical and manipulative.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Oh Brian, so it’s context you want? Ok then, here it is. The very first post of yours to Lisa on this thread …

            http://972mag.com/bibi-those-who-call-to-destroy-israel-should-have-citizenship-revoked/98537/

            There appears to be nothing humorous in what you say to Lisa. I detect a lot of frustration and anger towards her from you on that post. Anyone honest who is interested can check it out for himself/herself. That’s NOT you Marnie, you are too dishonest. And you are just Brian’s rubber stamp or maybe just another manifestation of Brian himself to stoke his ego and to bolster his sagging confidence …

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Oh and Brian …

            I didn’t know that ALL Americans are fundamentalist Christians?

            It would be one thing for you to call Lisa Idiotic. But quite another thing to drag ALL Americans into it. You claim you did it just for fun?

            Reply to Comment
    7. The JPost is “Arutz Sheva Lite”

      Reply to Comment
    8. This sudden deluge of vitriol and the new dog whistle regarding our assumed hatred of america/americans is one of the funnier things posted by dear Gustav and Co. What an incredibly bleak, humorless black and white world he exists in. I refuse to respond to the Looney Tune scenarios offered up, with the chop shop cut and past jobs, where his reality and understanding of anything outside their magical kingdom is far from anything I could comprehend even if I wanted to, where they are judge, jury and executioner. As Bugs would say “What a marroon!”

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        Interesting “sense of humor” you have Marnie.

        Just for laughs you agree with your soul mate (Brian) that all Americans are idiotic. Then you come to this thread to tut, tut and sound off about ethnic slurs which we eeeeevil Zionists are guilty of against the Saint Palestinians.

        Maybe you are right. There is something funny about it if one considers double standards and hypocrisy to be funny …

        Reply to Comment
    9. JohnW

      “In Israel, we Jews say things about them that they could never get away with saying about us.”

      Oh dear …

      Really? What they say about us is just kid-stuff? And they don’t even get away with that?

      Get real Larry … Have you ever listened to what Hamas says? Or Hezbollah? Or Iran? Or even extreme leftists on sites such is this?

      Reply to Comment
    10. Philos

      For me it was when I was in an argument with a Palestinian and I said something like, “Look, pal, blah blah.” And the other person took offence and called me a racist because I couldn’t even say Palestinian. Me trying to explain that I meant ‘pal’ as in the old vernacular for ‘buddy’ didn’t go over well either because I had really touched a nerve.

      It’s not just that the Zionists spew out all kinds of racist invective; it’s also that they try to demonstrate their contempt for Palestinians by not even bothering to say their name in full.

      Pallywood
      Pals
      Palis
      Fakestinian
      They’ll all branches from the same poisons tree of Zionist discourse

      Reply to Comment
    11. Human

      This is a routine Israeli attitude. To deflect the bad thing toward “the other”. To project the fault to “the other side” so we can get away with what we do. Whatever crime we do, we distort the reality, we deny the reality, we lie to ourselves, so that “the created reality” conforms to our “the most moral army” narrative. Self-deception is in the center of all these attitudes, because we cannot accept that we are such criminals who kill fleeing civilians and children, demolish houses, occupy illegally, expel people out of their lands, and discriminate against others. It is always Hamas, anti-semitism, Pallywood, telegenically dead children, self-hating Jews. Never it is our fault. It is “them” who want their children to be killed.
      How morally degraded a society can become.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        Very insightful and nicely articulated, Human!

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      • Sarah

        So true, Human.
        We idealize ourselves and demonize others to such a degree that any basic critique of our actions becomes impossible. We are paralyzed by our narrative. Israel is just a country with regular people like any other country with flaws and crimes and enormous room for improvement.

        Reply to Comment
    12. Richard

      Two paragraphs of ad hominem bs against Landes and nothing about the issue. Pointless post.

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        There’s nothing ad hominem about Larry’s text. It’s based on Landes’ public work, not his person.

        Reply to Comment
    13. ANTI- ZIONISTS

      The “filth” is you, Hanson. Landes is a very sick man, filled with hatred.

      Reply to Comment
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