Clip from 'Closed Zone'
Animation: Yoni Goodman
Yoni Goodman
Photo: Reuters

Waltz with Bashir, Gaza style

Oscar-nominated animator makes short film about Gaza blockade, talks about importance of morality and dangers of 'Liebermanization'

During Operation Grapes of Wrath, undertaken by IDF forces in southern Lebanon in 1996, animator Yoni Goodman, the man behind the Oscar-nominated animated film "Waltz with Bashir", was a soldier in compulsory military service.


As Israel surged in response to Katyusha-fire from the north, the general feeling was a desire to show the Islamist-Shiite militia who the big strong army in the Middle East was. Goodman, like many others, entered the area armed and ready.


"Our feeling was that we're finally hitting them back, showing them, teaching them a lesson," Goodman recounted. "We shot hundreds of shells and then we heard of the tragedy at Kfar Qana. All at once, the euphoria was gone. At that moment, I understood that we were creating our tragedies for ourselves."


The same feelings returned in late December of 2008, when Israeli forces entered Gaza for Operation Cast Lead. Shortly before, and in response to the blockade on the Strip, members of the Gisha Legal Center for freedom of movement had asked him to use his medium to help them.


Thus the short animated film 'Closed Zone' was born.


"I don't think it's possible to work on such a project without being connected to the ideology," Goodman said. "I started working on the film before the IDF entered Gaza and, during the course of the process, the film changed a lot."


"It began as something naïve and slowly explosions and a deeper, darker atmosphere were added. I couldn't stand the growing incitement during that period and today. I think we must not forget that on the other side there are civilians who get hurt," he said.


"The government and the Knesset educate the public to happily rush into war. It's an unacceptable phenomenon, in my eyes. It's clear that Hamas is not our friend, but we must not have an on-off switch regarding morality," he added.


"Where did this war take us, the one that was supposed to hurt the Hamas government, to change the security reality, to increase our deterrence and reduce rocket fire? Qassams are still falling on Sderot. World opinion of Israel is terrible. And at the end of the day, over a thousand Palestinians were killed while only 13 Israelis were. This type of behavior hurts only us and it's time to choose a different way," he explained.


The way Goodman proposes is to depict the absurd. He preemptively described the talkbacks that would probably result from his project. "I'll be called a hater of Israel. People will say that I'm badmouthing Israel to the world," he said.


But he views things differently. "The world is waiting for Israelis to speak morally, which is the way I was raised. I was raised that our morals aren't debatable and I feel that we are now in a period where Liebermanization is raging rampant. I hope it's only a passing trend. I believe it will pass, but it's worrying that such a person was chosen because of a fascist slogan."


פרסום ראשון: 03.06.09, 07:57
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