The Gatekeepers


Will the film become a watershed in Israeli life? Will Israeli audiences walk out of the theaters re-thinking what they thought they knew about Israel’s albatross? The inauspicious answer begins with the fact that for Israelis, there is little that is new or revelatory about the chiefs’ confessions, nor the basic dilemmas in general. Most know that some Shin Bet chiefs criticize the state’s security policies after leaving office, that Ami Ayalon has a conflict resolution initiative with Al-Quds University president Sari Nusseibeh, and that Yaacov Peri is active in center-left political circles (he has now entered Knesset with Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid’s centrist party). The film must also be considered in a context where the occupation is a paradigm that rules Israeli life. Historic empires drew legitimacy from heaven; by contrast, paradigms are supposed to rest on empirical truths that are nearly unquestionable and can withstand disagreements over their finer points. For example, most Israelis believe that “there’s no Palestinian partner,” and that this is why the occupation continues. Israelis are convinced that they themselves want peace (nearly 60 percent in the December 2012 Peace Index survey support a two-state solution), but that Palestinians continue to hate and refuse to recognize Israel.

more from Dahlia Scheindlin at Dissent here.