‘Eleven Days in May ‘ is screening at 12 cinemas of the Picturehouse group: Bromley, Crouch End, Finsbury Park, Fulham Road, Hackney, Picturehouse Central, Ritzy, Stratford, West Norwood – all London – plus Arts Cambridge, Cinema City Norwich and Fact Liverpool. Also at the Showroom Workstation, Sheffield; Curzon, Bloomsbury.
Here’s the blurb on the Picturehouse website:
I saw the film at Crouch End on 8 May. It is a terrorist propaganda film which incites hatred against Israel and its supporters. It is mendacious, completely devoid of context and emotionally manipulative and exploitative (it shows dead children including horrifically injured faces – hence the ‘18’ rating). Whoever at Picturehouse decided to show it should be fired.
Shame on Russell Brand who presented the film at the London Premiere:
No doubt of course that the film will be made available to University Palestine Societies free or at nominal cost and that many under-18s will see it. And that Vice Chancellors will turn a blind eye to objections that it incites hatred.
To aid the reader I divide my fisk into two parts: first, general criticisms about distortions and errors and second, specific omissions about the context in which several of the casualties occurred.
1: General criticisms
There is substantial evidence that education in Gaza incites children to hate Israel and to want to become terrorists. To die as a suicide bomber (‘shahid’) is considered a great honour. None of this comes out in the film, neither in the portraits of the casualties nor in the eulogies given by their families. They all wanted to become politicians, doctors, lawyers or journalists!
The film begins by blaming Israel for the start of the hostilities in May 2021. Israel is blamed for ‘evictions from the Al Aqsa Mosque’; for firing hand grenades in the Mosque in response to the mere ‘throwing of water bottles’; for threatening evictions from Sheikh Jarrah.
The truth is that Israeli security forces entered the Mosque to pursue terrorists who had been throwing rocks at Jews in the Old City. And that the Court ruled that Arab families were living illegally in Jewish-owned homes in Sheikh Jarrah. See my previous blogs, here, here and here.
According to the film seven rockets were fired into Israel before Operation Guardian of the Walls began. The film fails to tell you that they were fired at Jerusalem – the first such attack. And the film ignores the thousands of rockets that were fired for months before the Operation began. And ignores the 4360 fired DURING Operation Guardian of the Walls – including Tel Aviv. Hundreds were fired during the first night (10 May) of the Operation.
The film fails to inform the audience that Israel always issues a warning before any airstrike on Gaza (though the alert viewer might infer this from a single comment (regarding strike on 13 May) that ‘there was no warning’). Also that when numerous civilians are present around a military target, a strike is aborted. Also that Israel achieves a 1:1 ratio of civilian to military casualties- a record low for asymmetric warfare.
Most people who see the film will assume that Israel is to blame for all the deaths. But we know that nine children were killed by the 680 terrorist rockets that fell inside the Gaza Strip. We also know that Hamas’ military positions were located within the civilian population. Yahya al-Sinwar, the head of the Hamas political bureau in the Gaza Strip, admitted as much (al-Jazeera, 5 June 2021).
The film shows Israeli fighter jets being loaded and there are aerial shots of the devastation in Gaza. Then there is a day-by-day chronology of deaths of children age 17 and under, with clearly scripted interviews of their family and friends.
2: Specific important and deliberate omissions about the child casualties
Thanks to invaluable Open Source research by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center there is substantial material to fill in the gaps left by the film. I also used this link to correct the spelling of the names (which I wrote down in the dark cinema). I follow the same chronological approach as the film
Mohammad Saber Ibrahim Suleiman (age 15 or 16) died on 10 May in an IDF airstrike east of Jabalia. He was a Hamas member. A video shows him wearing the Hamas military wing’s uniform during weapons training. In other photos he is seen holding a rifle (@DigFind_ Twitter account, June 1, 2021).Despite his youth, he was apparently an operative in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
The four al-Masri children (Rahaf 10, Yazan 2, Marwan 6, Ibrahim 11) were killed at Beit Hanoun by terrorist rockets that fell short – not by the IDF. The same applies to Hussein Muneer Hussein Hamad, age 11, and to Ibrahim Hassanian age 16.
On 11 May Lina Iyad Fathi Sharir, age 15, died with her parents. Her sister Mana Iyad Fathi Sharir, age 2, was also hit and died on 18 May. The film fails to reveal that they were hit in a strike at their father Iyad Fathi Feyeq Sharir – the Commander of Hamas’s anti-tank units in Gaza.
The film tells us that on 12 May Bashar Ahmad Samour, age 17, ‘was shot alone while going to turn off water’. We see his dead body; he died near the fence in the Khan Younis region. But we are not told that he was a Fatah operative.
On 13 May Khaled Imad Khaled Qanou, aged 17 died. His mother talks about him and his father is shown in tears. But we are not told that the Mujahedeen Brigades, the military wing of the Mujahedeen Movement in the Gaza Strip, issued a mourning notice for him, saying he was 20 years old and an operative in their ranks. (Telegram channel of the Mujahedeen Brigades, May 13, 2021)
On 13 May Ibrahim Mohammad Ibrahim al-Rantisi, age 6 or 7 months, died. His brother is shown eulogising him. But we are not told that Ra’ed Ibrahim Khamis Azara al-Rantisi (his father? Brother?) against whom the strike was aimed in the Al-Junya neighbourhood of Rafah was according to social media an operative in Hamas’ military wing (Twitter account of Abu Obeidaal-Filistini, May 14, 2021). The Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website called him a ‘Hamas shaheed’ (Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades website).
On 14 May the film informs us that three children from the al-Attar family died: Amira age 6, Islam age 8 and Mohammad Zain age 9 months. We see a sister eulogising and one of the dead children’s faces being touched. We are not told that they died on the street connecting the Al-Salatin and Al-Atatra neighbourhoods in Beit Lahia which was hit in an airstrike against Hamas tunnels – the tunnels used to enter Israel to murder and to hide armaments destined for use to kill Israelis.
On 15 May four children of the Hatab family died: Yamen (5), Bilal (9), Yousef (10 or 11) and Miriam (7). They died in the Al-Shati refugee camp. We are not told that they were the children of Hamas operative Alaa Abu Hatab. There are shots of children playing in the sea close to the shore.
Also on 15 May the film tells us that Osama (?Huseina) al-Hadidi, age 4, died and that she had a ‘brain condition’. We are told she ‘loved tomatoes.’ Three other children of the al-Hadidi family also died: Abdurrahman (7 or 8), Suheib (12) and Yahya (10). But we are NOT told that they also died in the strike against Hamas operative Alaa Abu Hatab (see above).
On 16 May we are told that 18 children were killed in attacks on Gaza City– (my observation: the highest child casualty number for any of the eleven days of the Operation).
We are told that 8 children of the Al-Qulaq family died (including Qusai age 6 months) (plus their mother and father) and 4 children of the al-Auf family including: Tala (age 12 or 13). What we are NOT told is that they died in strikes against terrorist tunnels that caused buildings on Al-Wahda Street to collapse.
We are told that Tawfeeq Ayman Tawfeeq Abu al-Auf (16 or 17) died. And that he was good at science and wanted to be a doctor. But not that he died in the same event. We see the children’s dead bodies.
Zain Riad Hasan Ashkuntna, age 2, also died in the same event. So did his sister Lana (6). We see their grandmother eulogising.
On 19 May the film describes the death of Nagham Iyad Abdulfattah Salha, aged 2 and Nina Al Adalyiya age 11. Kate Winslet says “A plane fired a missile at her”. Obviously a lie. Israel does not target innocent children! How can an actress lie like this? Do they not question the script that is given to them? Do they not do some Due Diligence?
This is the most heart-rending part of the film. Nina’s mother talks, there are beautiful photos of her and we see her mutilated dead body. Max Richter’s funeral music crescendos. We see close-ups of exquisite children and crying families laying out the clothes of the dead children on their beds. We see cakes given out to children, presumably at a funeral wake.
Finally the obscenity ends. The disingenuousness peaks with a famous quote (used by Churchill) on the screen:
At the going down of the sun, we will remember them‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon
Unbelievably we see the UNICEF logo in the closing credits. Did UNICEF fund the film? If so there are serious questions to be asked in Parliament.
There are also serious questions to be asked of the film’s narrator, the actress Kate Winslet. A reminder of one of her lines
If you do a film about the Holocaust, guaranteed an Oscar. I’ve been nominated four times, never won. Schindler’s bloody List? The Pianist? Oscars coming out of their arse.
Complaints to Moshe Greidinger email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan Shure correctly argues that this anti-Jewish terrorist propaganda is incendiary in the current climate of antisemitism: ‘Freedom of expression’ does not mean that this obscenity should be able to be shown in Picturehouse cinemas! ‘As the US Supreme Court decided more than a century ago – freedom of speech should not extend to shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre.’
CameraUK picks up some of the points in my blog above
Melanie Phillips: ‘Yes, those Gazan children were also victims — but victims above all of Hamas and the Palestinian Arab leadership. They indoctrinate their children in hysterical and murderous lies about Israel and the Jews, recruit them into terrorism and use them as human shields. Gaza’s children are the victims of systemic Palestinian Arab child abuse. If that wasn’t the case, those children who died in Gaza last year would still be alive.‘
David Rose in Jewish Chronicle: ‘An emotive documentary narrated by Kate Winslet about children killed in Gaza by Israeli air strikes which has been dubbed “propaganda” was made by a passionate Hamas supporter, the JC can reveal.
Eleven Days In May, which is out in British cinemas now, depicts the deaths of 60 Palestinian children in May last year with little context or acknowledgment of the complexities of the conflict.
Co-director Mohammed Sawwaf was presented with an award by Hamas leaders for his work “countering the Zionist narrative”.
On social media, he has celebrated the launching of rockets against civilian targets and effectively called for the destruction of the State of Israel, saying that the map of Palestine should extend “from the sea to the river”.’
‘……the film preys on the emotions of the viewers to make them side with those bent on pushing Israel and its residents, into the sea. As Eleven Days would have you believe, 60 children were killed in Gaza, and that is all you need to know.You don’t need to know, according to those who brought the film to fruition, that a terrorist father endangered his child’s safety by failing to remove him to a less dangerous location than by his side. You don’t need to know, say the producers, financers, and screeners of the film, that the “children,” who were murdered, were, in many cases, teens who received extensive training in the use of arms, and who were well educated to use those arms against Jews. You don’t even need to know the identity of the aggressor or the timeline, according to those who brought you Eleven Days in May. Because if you knew those things, you might not hate Israel. You might not hate the Jews enough. And that, after all, is the entire point of the film. ‘
David Collier ‘Raw Hamas propaganda has no place being shown anywhere on our shores. It should be dealt with the same way that an Al Qaeda or Al Shabaab propaganda movie would be. Picturehouse should take this movie off our screens and all those involved should apologise for allowing Hamas propaganda to be shown here in the first place.‘