Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Farewell Israel Bush Iran and The Revolt of Islam|
Director: Joel Gilbert
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
The confrontation between Islam and the Jews began in the Prophet Muhammads time and continues to this day. Farewell Israel: Bush, Iran and The Revolt of Islam is an historic journey, from the birth of Islam, through its 1... more »
By a wide margin, the best video documentary about political
Donald N. Anderson | Anchorage, Alaska | 10/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It contains the most historically accurate depiction of the legal and political side of Islam that I have seen in video form. By not employing taqiyya as Muslims are wont to do when talking with Westerners, it carefully shows Islamic thinking with respect to Jews, Christians and other infidels. It shows the special tradeoffs of dihimmi status and the peace that is available under Dar al-Islam.
Gilbert does a remarkable job of selecting pieces of Islam's historical record to give the viewer an excellent appreciation for the thinking of Muslims about their relationship to god and their earthly duties and opportunities.
He generally presents accurate information and lets the viewer form his own opinion and recommended course of action. One possible exception is the authors implication that if Israel had not been formed, and had Bush not invaded the Middle East in retaliation for 9/11, the coming war could have been avoided.
This film does an excellent job of showing how the enemy thinks (and it's not just the few folks who are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq).
I was blown away by the quality and quantity of information about political Islam contained in this 2.5 hour video. Joel Gilbert has produced by far the best video documentary on the topic of Jihad and Islam I have ever seen. It is probably about too serious and sensitive a topic to receive a well deserved award for the best documentary of 2007. I would not trade it for a half dozen of the books on fundamentalist Islam that I have read.
Every American and everyone else in Dar al Harb needs to see this film to appreciate the seriousness and duration of the battles we are now fighting."
Very Good, but a few issues
David J. | Seattle, WA USA | 12/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
1) Excellent overview on the history of Islam and the Muslim people, their core beliefs and attitudes towards non-believers, and the history of conflict with the West, the Jews and Israel.
2) Good balance on how much time covers what. The first hour covers the 6th century through the 19th century. The last hour and a half covers the 19th century through the 21st.
3) Good usage of archival footage and Muslim art.
4) Very neutral in its reporting on the history and beliefs Islam. For the most part, I don't sense Joel Gilbert has an agenda (except for the last 10 minutes) or is trying to get you to hate or like Islam. Furthermore, he reports uncomfortable facts that don't get much press coverage.
5) This is the best crash course on Islam I've ever seen in video form. Obviously, more research could be done by the viewer to get a better understanding of the faith and conflict. But the purpose of this video is not to explain every detail or perspective on the faith. It's "Islam 101" in a nutshell.
1) The volume of information is so hefty, it's like drinking from a fire hydrant. Fortunately, there's Pause and Rewind.
2) I am left wondering where Joel Gilbert got his religious/historical information. Where's your bibliography? How would I find the primary sources if I wanted to use this information in a research paper? Any suggestions on further reading? And just who is Joel Gilbert anyway? [To answer this, please see the comment below.]
3) Some of the archival footage gets played several times in the movie. That gets old after a while.
4) In the last 10 minutes, Mr. Gilbert pulls the gloves off and works at trying to get you to his conclusions about Bush, Islamic relations and Israel. You're not left to consider many options other than his perspective.
5) Mr. Gilbert criticizes President Bush for playing into the hands of Al Qaeda by going to war after 9/11. So, if land-for-peace won't solve the problem, socialism won't solve the problem and war won't solve the problem, then what will Mr. Gilbert? He gives no options.
6) Perhaps answering #5 above, Mr. Gilbert says there will only be peace if Israel falls under Muslim rule. In fact, he treats it as a fait-a-compli. Mr. Gilbert believes that Israel is destined to fall, and that what will ensue will be another holocaust of Jewry. Bleak outcome, no hope, and it leaves you mighty depressed. You might want to hit stop after 2:15.
7) The subtitle is "Bush, Iran, and the Revolt of Islam". The video really doesn't talk much about Bush or Iran, and only in the last 10 minutes. Maybe this was the working title during production, and they decided to stick with it?
I would highly recommend watching (most) of this video to introduce people to current events regarding the Muslim world. For many, however, the length may scare them away. For those who believe the west is battling "terrorism", I highly recommend you watch this video. Terrorists are often called "extremists" in the media, and by our President. While it's true that less than 1% of Muslims are terrorists, the culture of terrorist acceptance is widespread and endemic in the Muslim religion and regions it encompasses. This may not be politically correct for those who believe all religions are "good", but if we want to survive as a society, we need to first identify what the enemy is (the ideas and culture), and then decide how best to address it. I would agree with Mr. Gilbert that most in the West have no idea what they are up against, and are viewing the Muslim geo-political worldview with rose colored glasses. Most Muslims don't want peace as we define it, they want "justice" as they define it.
An eye-opener and a wake-up call
Dr. Michael Anbar | Amherst, NY USA | 12/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Western world is currently under assault by a new wave of Islamic aggression. Joel Gilbert's DVD puts this political happening into a well documented historical perspective. Ignoring these facts might lead to the demise of our civilization. This documentary is an eye opener and a wakeup call.
Islamic aggression is manifested militarily, economically, demographically and politically. Each of these aspects are presented and analyzed in this documentary and put in historical and religious context.
I agree with a previous reviewer that Gilbert does not tell us explicitly what to do so as to mitigate this impending calamity, especially when he predicts the demise of the State of Israel. He leaves the conclusions to the viewers.
There is no doubt that in confronting a danger we must first identify it and assess its potential in realistic terms. This has been brilliantly achieved in this documentary, which, unlike some other documentaries, does not propagandize against Islam. Gilbert intends to wake up his viewers not with an alarming nightmare but with a realistic report and analysis. This is the strength of this documentary, which forces its viewers to think.
I wish that our political leadership was aware of the facts presented by Gilbert before making costly mistakes. Even at this late moment this documentary should be an eye-opener to American and Israeli political leaders.
As I stated in my comment to a previous reviewer, this documentary was produced by a qualified scholar - Joel Gilbert is a graduate of the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies and London School of Economics and Political Science (BA 1986, Economics and Politics). He was a Middle Eastern studies scholar under world renowned Islamic history experts Professors Eli Keddouri, P.J. Vatikiotis, Michael Cooke, and Abbas Kelidar. Gilbert has lived, studied, and traveled in the Middle East, including Egypt, Israel, Morocco, and Pakistan.
Gilbert is also a cinematographic artist and his documentary can serve as a model for historical and political documentaries.
A critical review
Zev Toledano | 02/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm from Israel, but I feel this provocative and interesting documentary needs some criticism of its flaws in order to extract valuable information from it and put it in its proper context.
Although this documentary rapidly provides a crash course in everything from the basics of the Muslim religion, the history of Islam, and the full history of Israel and Israeli wars, the ultimate goal is to portray and make its point about Islam being at its core a repressive, expansionist, often violent, and above all, a misunderstood religion. The primary goal is not a historical documentary, but a didactic exercise to illuminate our Western eyes and make us understand an alien way of thinking and its consequences.
For example, it explains the two different types of peace, the Muslim concept of justice, and the fact that even the famously tolerant Muslim rulers of old only allowed other religions in their countries as inferior, primitive versions of themselves, forcing many restrictions and humiliations on them, not because they were intolerant in practice, but because they interpret tolerance as something different from Westerners!
This movie posits that even so-called moderate Arabs, if they are religious, are bound to the grand view of the world dominated by Islam. Non-Muslims are either eradicated or subjugated under the superior Islamic worldview that overrides all previous religions. I.e. other religions are tolerated only because they are precursors to Islam, but they are inferior and misleading and must therefore be treated with disrespect.
In addition, this view of the world that sees a dominating worldwide Islam as the apex of social evolution and the true goals of God explains how Israel and the Western powers become such an incredibly incitant and wounding insult when they dominate Arabs and flex their power, thus undermining God's plan
This is all very illuminating, and despite the fact that I personally sensed and understood much of this beforehand, it was refreshing to see it all presented so systematically.
But then there are the flaws:
1. The documentary may feel one-sided and biased for Israel to some. All of the fanatics and bad things Arabs did are presented, but the extremist Israelis, namely the Zionist settlers who believe it is their religious right to grab more land and settle it, as well as some military excesses in the past, and some mistreatment of Palestinians are almost never mentioned.
BUT, this does not mean that these are comparable. What 'objective' documentaries usually do is call it a cycle of violence, unfairly comparing some Israeli military excesses, insensitivity, abuse and mistakes to the constant Palestinian killing of children, unfair demands, hatred, and fanatic drive to obliterate Israel.
But this should not be a problem as this documentary has a purpose that goes beyond documenting the history of violence as explained above.
2. Lack of a discussion-based presentation, much more footage of the people involved presenting their views, and thus more proof. This movie is didactic and offers its unapologetic opinion as fact, whereas I would have preferred greater emphasis placed on interviews and footage to present its case.
But this doesn't disqualify its case. What this means is that you have to take it with a grain of salt, do your own research and thinking and choose whether to accept its opinions or not. I chose to accept it, but with limitations, as I will explain below.
3. Some editing feels like cheating. Mubarak's speech seems to be cut-off so that it will sound like he is confirming the evil plan narrated by the documentary, but he could be referring to something else. The anti-peace leaders are portrayed as strong, while the leaders this documentary doesn't like (e.g. Peres), are shown nodding off during an interview. Etc.
So be careful, but don't throw out the baby with the bath-water. This is like a subtler version of Michael Moore - it is manipulative but that doesn't mean he is wrong. Think it through for yourself!
4. The final problem I have is my strong skepticism on the idea that all religious Muslims have a unifying religious ideal of world domination for which they all fight for. By far the strongest argument against this viewpoint is the fact that Arabs fight each other.
Moderate rulers fight with fanatics, Hamas kills Fatah, Palestinians kill Jordanians, countries refuse to take in Palestinians, Iraq fights itself, etc. Perhaps they simply differ on their approach although their ultimate goals are the same, but would they kill each other this often if they all agreed on the basics? You decide!
A telling example is this movie's treatment of Sadat. According to this movie, Sadat was using diplomacy to obliterate Israel by appearing to go for peace. But then it shows Sadat making statements about how religion should be separate from state, and how he jailed and angered many Muslims, until he was assassinated. If he was going for religious Muslim domination over Israel, why was he so hated? This segment is the most confusing part of the documentary and it does not make its point well at all. That's not to say it is wrong, but there is too much evidence that contradicts it.
Is Egypt really still plotting to wipe out Israel despite peace agreements or has it learned to 'tolerate' and cooperate somewhat with its neighbour even though it may hate it? What about Jordan? Did it become moderate after the six-day war and finally give in to co-existance with Israel or is it just smoldering and waiting for its chance to obliterate Israel? Who knows. This documentary says they all want world domination due to religion, but offers no proof and aren't there varying interpretations of Muslim law?
On the other hand, we have Palestinian polls, over 70% of which support suicide bombing and vote for Hamas, and Palestinian official policy and education that instructs children how Israel has no right to exist, all seemingly confirming the notion that the majority want Islamic rule, violence and expansionist goals simply because they are religious.
And as for the title and pessimistic conclusion, once again, it is a valid consistent point based on its viewpoint, but are things really that black and white? As a warning when dealing with Arabs, this should get 6 stars out of 5, but as a comprehensive viewpoint, I'm too skeptical.
So in summary, I think this is a valuable and educational viewpoint on Islam, but I think it simplifies things too much. Watch it and learn, then complement it with your own research.