If the subhead and sub-subhead of
Unmasked: Judeophobia—The Threat to Civilization don’t make it clear,
director Gloria Greenfield (The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost) has made a documentary with gauntlets to slam and alarmism to spare. “Judeophobia” is the term Greenfield prefers to anti-Semitism, mostly because she believes it gets closer to the irrational elements of conspiracy theory and paranoia key to the phenomenon. Following a dry but brief history of Jewish persecution over the millennia, Greenfield uses Jewish history scholars and other interested professionals (including Alan Dershowitz) to chart the shadowy terms of anti-Jewish bigotry across the 20th century and into today. The strategy and psychology behind persistent mass hatred proves fascinating; we get a sense of the way Hitler, bin Laden, and “expansionist powers” like Iran promote and leverage antagonism for their own ends. Judeophobia doesn’t have anything terribly new to say, though it does sharpen the angles on the issue, particularly with regard to Europe’s resurgence of anti-Jewish sentiment. When it comes time to deal with Israel, Greenfield works against her own interests with absurdly selective arguments and sloppy filmmaking. At worst, she skews uncomfortably close to the kind of grubby agitprop her film is designed to condemn.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 17, 2012