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Information ministry welcomes "Israel in therapy" video

Yesterday we covered here a masterpiece of self-defeating propaganda showing “Israel” as a distressed and paranoid young woman suspicious of people trying to help her and having flashbacks to edited and censored videos of the IDF raid on the marmara. While the initial suspicion was that this was a trailer for Ami Kaufman’s Izzie series, sources with knowledge of the actress’s engagement confirmed to 972 she was recruited to do a Hasbara video for a government project. Just for the morning exercise of your cringe muscles, here it is again:

The actress, Aimee Neistat, would not confirm, deny or disclose the identity of her employers. We approached the Information Ministry itself for comment, and this is what we got:

“The Information and Diaspora Ministry considers the Internet as a primary Hasbara arena, and welcomes all those individuals and organizations working independently [Heb: be’ofen atzmai, in an independent manner – D.R.] to re the truth behind the provocation of the flotilla organisers.”

I wrote back, asking if they “unequivocally deny any involvement of the ministry in the production of the clip.” The reply I got back was:

“What I sent you is the official comment. Don’t add or redact.”

Alrighty then.

On a personal note, I spent considerable time last night censoring and erasing comments attacking Neistat, many using blatantly sexist language. I would like to stress that this is completely out of place. Even if one disagrees with Neistat’s choice of roles, this is no reason to bully or threaten her; and sexism is out of place on this site in any context, but it’s jarring in a fresh way to see arguments for Palestinian rights being made through violent, misogynist language. The issue here is the policy of the government in Gaza and their surreal antics – not the actors.

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    COMMENTS

    1. I haven’t read any of the sexist comments – but I did see that some comments were edited – so I don’t know what is considered sexist remarks.

      It’s fairly obvious that the actress is meant to arouse. The red dress, taking off the shoes, repeated caressing of her legs/knees. She talks of “lying in her bed” and how she “just wanted to have fun”.

      It’s a sexist role. One might even say demeaning.
      Are comments stating this glaring fact off limits?
      How about comments ridiculing this sexist role?
      because it IS a ridiculous role on top of it being sexist.

      Israeli Hasbara has opened the door. Why is +972 trying to close it?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Dimi Reider

      Well, the several comments that used personal, gender and/or sexuality baset derogatory adjectives about the actress would be considered sexist. Obviously, analyzing the blatant sexual undertones/overtones of the ad would not.
      The last line in your comment makes no sense, though. Did you actually mean to write: “Israeli Hasbara has opened the door [to sexist remarks]. Why is +972 trying to close it?”

      Reply to Comment
    3. Deïr Yassin

      Reminds me of this parody of the ‘Leave Britney alone’-video. You’re not really sure whether it was made by pro or anti-Israelis… The result is more or less the same.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYskawC6-GY

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ex Israeli

      @Deïr Yassin, I had exactly the same thought.
      Really sickening both these videos.
      A degenerate, 63-years-old, criminal state.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Yeah.
      Israeli Hasbara has cast this woman in a sexist role. Not the commenters. One cannot ridicule her/her-role-in-Hasbara under a “no sexist comment” policy.

      This whole debacle is just so ripe for the picking.
      I feel a huge disconnect with the idea that we should be polite about this video or its participants. Or that I have to pretend respect towards this blatant cheap sexualization of the death of 9 civilians on board the Marmara.
      It just feels like so much PC BS.

      I don’t mind if the actress is shamed for participating in this Hasbara-porn. It IS shameful. It is sexist. It is Hasbara.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Vickie

      Thank you, Arnon…that was my point exactly. I wasn’t trying to lay judgement on the actress or women, but the role.

      This ad blatantly uses a woman in a sexually provocative and promiscuous role in order to do what? I’m still unsure if there is a purpose here.

      The actress is sexist for portraying such a role.
      The creator is sexist for developing such a role and producing it.
      The Israeli government is sexist for making itself the vixen

      Reply to Comment
    7. sh

      Is sexism the only thing wrong with it? Surely worst of all is the fact that Edelstein’s Ministry seems genuinely proud of flatfooted, tasteless, humourless trash like this, imagining that it will win over people who have doubts about the country’s policies.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Danny

      Dimi, this “masterpiece” is most likely the work of the same media genius who brought us the gay flotilla guy. It smacks of the same production quality, same idiotic adherence to official Israeli propaganda (i.e. the flotilla is a violent provocation against Israel) and the same sort of government coyness when asked if they are involved in this shit. I must say that this burst of creativity from the hasbara ministry is refreshing. At least they’re trying their hands at new propaganda tools, even if the result is extremely bad.

      Reply to Comment
    9. weinstein henry

      Too bad Sacha Baron Cohen isn’t interested to perform a Hasbara character, in a Borat-like movie.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Yoni

      To me, the comments on the “sexist” role in the video exposes to me the distorted bias of the commentators against everything identified with Israel.

      If I’m making a movie, am I not allowed to have racist characters in the movie? Does that make me a racist? Does portraying such a character makes me racist? Of course not.

      In this case, there is a clear reference to “In Therapy” with the Ayelet Zorer role in which she played a patient who tried to seduce her therapist. The homage was not necessarily played in the best artistic way, but it definitely does not deserve this much anger.

      More important questions should be asked about the content of the message. First, what is wrong with provocation? The best advances in human rights issues started with a provocation. I’m all for it.

      This deserve a discussion but I won’t do it here. Sadly, this website had become a hub for Israel-Haters who have nothing to contribute to the internal-Israeli debate.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Ex Israeli

      Yoni: “Sadly, this website had become a hub for Israel-Haters who have nothing to contribute to the internal-Israeli debate”
      .
      Really interesting. “Internal-Israeli debate” ?
      And what’s exactly this “debate” is all about?
      The nature of such 63-years-old debate can only be a strategic one:
      Namely how to best carry on with disgusting policies while masquerading as the victim.
      .
      The fact that the above has been, and still IS, the Israeli trademark is not the fault of “Israel haters”.

      Reply to Comment
    12. sh

      Umm, do we know who the guy who plays the shrink is? Or is it so obvious it wasn’t considered worth investigating (I don’t watch the box)?

      Reply to Comment
    13. Ha!
      I just found out from Max Blumenthal that the actress is an Haaretz employee:
      http://maxblumenthal.com/2011/07/actor-in-israel-govs-new-anti-flotilla-vid-is-haaretz-employee/

      I’m curious how none of the journalists here recognized her as such. Or if they did, why no one disclosed this fact. Though this could go some way towards explaining why the crew “spent considerable time [..] censoring and erasing comments attacking Neistat”.

      To be perfectly honest tho, personally I’d have probably done the same just for the off chance that it might land me some Hasbara action.
      Independent Israeli journalism FTW!!

      Reply to Comment
    14. Dimi Reider

      Although I can see you think engaging in sexism is alright if the other side does it first (?!), it actually /is/ anathema enough to this blog to erase comments on this merit alone. Sorry to dampen your “ha”.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Yes.
      In my opinion, sexism is alright when discussing/criticizing/ridiculing a sexist Hasbara video. Political correctness should take a back seat in such a case. Sexism is real, as this video clearly shows. One cannot honestly discuss/dissect sexism while banning the language of sexism. But that’s just my opinion. And I’m a male – so what do I know?

      Also (if you really want to know my thoughts on this) a “no sexism” comments policy is ok in general, as a matter of policy. In this context it’s not.

      Case in point:
      The major question left unanswered is the lack of disclosure of Neistat’s status as an Haaretz employee. I believe the “no sexism” policy has allowed this important fact to be obfuscated.

      In this context, the “no sexism” policy becomes a “no personal attacks against our colleague” policy. This colleague appeared of her own free will in a sexist role in a Hasbara video.

      A disclosure of this fact on your part would have been nice. Pertinent, even.

      (BTW the above statement is true even if you completely dismiss my personal beliefs of what is or isn’t acceptable speech – just out of journalistic integrity)

      Reply to Comment
    16. Eva

      I don’t really get this whole discussion about erasing sexist comments. This woman has chosen to play this role, which means she endorses it. I cannot respect such a woman who exposes her body for political purposes. She makes herself an object, not even for money or fame, but for ideological reasons. No need to add anything about the stupidity of this whole video, acting + text. It simply reflects the stupidity of the the Israeli government. I find it interesting, though, what the bottom line is: that the government sees Israel as a desirable object that tries to seduce it’s enemy and doesn’t succeed. After which this oh-so-attractive woman Israel rushes of frustrated and angry because (here comes at least a spark of “insight”!) nobody likes her..

      Reply to Comment