October 21, 2010

More on Renen Schorr

Renen Schorr is no doubt one of the greatest apparatchiks of Israeli cinema. Apparently he really likes himself and spends a lot of time making sure other people like him. His wikipedia entry, longer than that of some people who changed the world, is written with a hagiographic style that suggests he either wrote it himself or had a minion write it. Take a typical phrase:
In spite of the demands of his professional achievements, Schorr simultaneously took a major role in changing and improving the whole of Israeli cinema.
Thanks Renen!

That self-absorption probably helps being an Israeli leftist, as David Landy pointed out in his excellent observation in the comment section:
It's a beautiful quote from Mr Schorr, showing blissful lack of self-awareness, or perhaps too much self awareness. Implicit here - he doesn't even need to say it - is the belief that every action non-Israelis take have to be given the green light by Israelis. If these Israelis, despite, I'm sure trying their goddamned best, can't quite bring themselves to justify these actions, well that's the end of the road, isn't it. The actions are non-justifiable and there's no point in saying more.
But having perused the website of the excellent school that Schorr founded and runs, and to which Mike Leigh almost came, I think it is not improper to measure Schorr's contribution to Israeli culture with some, as they call it in the Pentagon, concrete metrics.
  • Percentage of graduates in 2007 (last available year) whose last name suggests might be Palestinian: 0
  • Percentage of teachers whose last name suggests might be Palestinian: 0
  • Percentage of staff whose last name suggests might be Palestinian: 0
  • Percentage of management whose last name suggests might be Palestinian: 0
It would be unfair to blame Schorr for the sad fact that Palestinians citizens of Israel just don't display the same level of artistic talent, professional skills and leadership as Jews. I'm sure he tried.

If however instead of these metrics you'd measure the output of films that criticize the occupation, I am almost sure that Schorr would come out smelling like roses. As he assures in his letter to Mike Leigh:
Over the decades Israeli filmmakers (joined by artists from the full cultural gamut) have used documentaries and features to grapple with the myriad strata of the conflict’s complexities. Those carrying out these courageous, controversial endeavors are people who see no contradiction between their being Israelis, Jews and Zionists and their belief in humanitarian, ethical principles, or identifying with the suffering of others. They fight, to a great extent, against the denial of this harsh reality by other .Israelis
However, an Israeli cinema that is fundamentally done by and from the perspective of those who "identify with the suffering of others" is not at all in contradiction with Zionism for a good reason, and not the one that Schorr mentions. Nothing bad will happen to it if the number of Palestinians in Palestine becomes as a low as their percentage on Schorr's payroll, especially given that this payroll is, after all, a mirror to Zionism's ultimate fantasy.

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