A guide to walking through Waltz with Bashir


Just in case you thought that the Israeli film with the best shot ever of winning an Oscar was a piece of anti-Israel propaganda, one of its backers has put out a study guide to explain why it is not.

"Waltz With Bashir, which is up for an Academy Award for best foreign film, is Ari Folman’s exploration of his role as a soldier in the August 1982 massacre at the Sabra and Shatilah refugee camps.

While the film has garnered international praise for its artistry and narrative as Folman deals with his own personal demons in the battle in which anywhere between 328 and 3,200 Palestinians were killed, there have been whispers — especially among Israel’s backers — that it actually demonizes Israel unfairly.

The Foundation for Jewish Culture and Makom, however, have put together a study guide that tries to articulate the facts behind one of Israel’s dark moments.

Much of the guide, which is available for download here, is based on Israel’s own investigation into Sabra and Shatila, and gives the history of the battle and its aftermath.

The guide also includes conversation points and FAQs about the film and its subject.

The FJC, which gives grants to help produce films of Jewish interest — including $25,000 to help produce Waltz With Bashir and now this guide — was the only American backer of the film, which cost $1.3 million to make.

“Some people will see it and immediately assume that it is anti Israel. That is why we made this guide,” the president and CEO of the foundation, Elise Bernhardt, said “This is to address those people who they would see it and say it is anti-Israel, to say  to them ‘No, it is not. Look at the questions they are asking. Get in there and wrestle with it.’ It also addresses those people who say, ‘Oh. This is just more fuel for my anti-Zionist fire.’”

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