COMMENTS AND REVIEWS

TOM SEGEV, Author, "Palestine Complete" and "The Seventh Million"
Is Jerusalem Burning? is a very fair presentation of one of the most painful chapters in Israel's history. The story is not easy to tell and you handled it very well.


BENJAMIN MORRIS, Historian/Author, "Righteous Victims"
Is Jerusalem Burning? serves a worthy purpose...The Latrun myths needed shattering in order to get the story of Latrun right, to get at historical truth for its own sake.


ILAN PAPPE, Historian/Author, "The Making of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1947-51"
Is Jerusalem Burning? is an excellent documentary that highlights the tension between history and myth in Israel's history in general, and in the 1948 war in particular. You have succeeded in taking one event and tying to it some of the most sensitive issues troubling Jewish society in Israel in the past and in the present. I think it is a very good model for dealing with other such traumatic events - for instance, the Dir Yassin massacre - that enable us to transcend beyond the conventional historiography of the war.


URI AVNERY, Historian/Author, Tel Aviv
I think that you have done an excellent job in describing the battle and highlighting the myths connected with it in our collective memory.


JOHN PETRAKIS, Film Critic, Chicago Tribune
On one level, this telling documentary is a close-up look at the Battle of Latrun, a key moment in Israel's 1948 War of Independence. But far more important to the filmmakers is what rose out of that battle. They suggest that it laid the groundwork for a mythology involving heroism and Holocaust survivors that still exists today and that has helped fuel nationalist fervor for over half a century.


JACK HELBIG, Film Critic, Chicago Reader
Chuck Olin and Matthew Palm's fascinating, evenhanded documentary examines all aspects of the debacle [of Latrun], including the myriad aftershocks and the hasty but ultimately successful plan to build a second road to west Jerusalem.

Using archival footage and contemporary interviews with veterans, Is Jerusalem Burning? is as gripping as a good war picture and as absorbing as a well-written work of military scholarship.


Brig. Gen. (Ret.) MENASHE INBAR, Director, The Armored Corps Association of Latrun
There is no doubt that [Is Jerusalem Burning?] is a very important and essential historic document. I watched the film and was very excited by the whole production. It is both professional and reliable.


ROSS MILLER, author of the forthcoming book, "Land That I Love: How the Jews Discovered America"
A knockout. Powerful. A very strong film, with a no-nonsense approach told through candid interviews. It has powerful facts that are there to be seen. And it was extremely effective in getting a sense of how this story was mythologized.

You challenged the "virtue machine" of Israeli culture and society, and ran right into the teeth of the Israeli myth machine.

You are not going to be liked for this one - and good for you.


PAUL FISCHER, Professor of Political Science, Lake Forest College
I can say that Is Jerusalem Burning? is a courageous act, from the context of being an American Jew exposed to little debate about Israel outside of a few Peace Now types. I grew up with the attitude that if you have nothing good to say about Israel, then say nothing or you risk its destruction. I know that is less the attitude in Israel itself where everything gets debated, so raising complicated questions about the origins of Israel here [in the U.S.] in the way that you did takes courage.

All nations require myths, but that does not negate the search for truth and it is the mark of a secure society when it can face its potentially darker and more complicated past. It is to Israel's credit that it has begun that quest only 50 years after its birth, whereas in our country it has taken 200 years to confront our heart of darkness on race or the treatment of the Indian.

I know nothing about the events in the film but I came away disturbed and confused. What more can you ask?


TOM WEINBERG, Television Producer, "The 90s"
Is Jerusalem Burning? is a truly elegant piece of filmmaking - emotional and involving but never-bending in its mission to be clear and fair.

It deals squarely with the ongoing historical Israeli myths without casting aspersions or making loaded statements or forcing denials. It's very tricky territory and you treaded it masterfully.

The unanswered questions are now all in the realm of interpretation of historical and future ramifications, rather than in facts or opposing versions. That's far more satisfying for viewers like me who have no personal stake in the rights and wrongs. What matters is that all this is imbedded in the myth and history - not who thought what at the time and who thinks who was right.

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