How Israeli Propaganda Creeps in your Daily Entertainment on Netflix: Fauda’s Dehumanization and Misinformation
Israeli cinema has always been weaponized against Palestinians and their struggle under the Israeli occupation for decades.
Alongside other mediums, Israeli cinema has always been weaponized against Palestinians and their struggle under the Israeli occupation for decades. The history of Israeli cinema provides vivid proof of how that struggle is overshadowed by the attempt to humanize Israelis in the narrative and to display settler colonialism as an “Arab-Israeli conflict”.
In most cases, Palestinians aren’t even given a voice to represent their side of the story, as Israelis don’t only dominate the cast and the narrative, but they also manage to convince a large audience that they are capable of presenting a so-called objective portrayal of the “conflict”, especially in Fauda’s case.
The previous claim doesn’t indicate that it’s become normal for Palestinian actors and actresses to partake in an Israeli propagandistic TV show, but it aims to stress how absurd it is for Israelis to proclaim that they can be honest enough to produce an unbiased narrative concerning the “conflict” while they try to conceal the existence of settler colonialism in the first place.
Being reviewed as an “objective narrative”, the Israeli series, Fauda, has recently achieved its success internationally after three whole seasons of feeding the audience with misinformation about the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian struggle, after having been aired on Netflix.
“Fauda” is an Israeli TV show that narrates the different stories of the Israeli “Mista’arvim”, an elite undercover force of Israelis, devoted to fighting “Palestinian extremism” as it appears to the viewers.
The employment of their personal lives, traumatic events, and their heroism is the indirect method that “Fauda” uses to humanize such a violent force and its aggression in the eyes of the internationals.
The Subconscious on the Screen
Lior Raz, the co-creator of Fauda and the protagonist of the show, in one of his recent interviews in an American talk show, appeared as a civil man in a suit, to reveal that he relied on his experience in the special force, the undercover unit, to produce his work except that in the unit he had to “fight for his life”.
This interview came after his announcement that he’s working on a new Israeli series called Hit & Run, that’s recently made its way to Netflix to humanize Israelis once again. Unironically, a man that served in a special force in the military, not long ago shared a post on his Instagram account during that last uprising demanding the “violence” to stop, addressing both sides in English, Arabic, and Hebrew.
While it’s plain ambivalence to ask the people you’ve been feeding hate speech against Palestinians to stop the violence once and for all, this kind of contradiction in Raz’s subconscious is a precise embodiment of a “Liberal Zionist” or a “Leftist Zionist” that pretends to be for co-existence but is still an extremist hiding in a civil look for the world to see his “morals” against violence, as tries to hide his loathe and arrogance as a settler.
The co-creator, that portrays a Palestinian freedom fighter as a “Terrorist” in his narrative, exposes the hatred he’s internalized as a settler and helps one understand that this is how the “State of Israel” was built, to begin with.
Hence, the average Zionist unarguably still promotes the same speech of hate and justifies the Israeli aggression and even settler colonialism, which negates the idea that his narrative is in any way unbiased, or does the Palestinians justice.
A “Moderate” Zionist Cinema
Fauda’s racist hate speech is dependent entirely on misinformation and the usual colonial arrogance and superiority as well. Season one puts the Mista’arvim ( the Undercover unit) in a confrontation with one of Hamas’s most “Radical” fighters, the Panther. In the season, one is once again introduced to the Israeli arrogance and sense of pride, that the Israeli security system can never be defeated although it has its weaknesses.
The contradictory notions Fauda presents about the pride of an Israeli undercover soldier and the sense of self-victimization work together to hit two birds with only one stone, meaning it helps portray that the “State of Israel” is undefeatable since its compass is pointed where it should be; fighting terrorism, but it also has many layers as it humanizes the Israeli characters in the eyes of the audience, who can see these soldiers who came from a civilized state to defend their country against the terror and the threats that encircle them.
What kind of Image does Fauda reflect of Palestinians?
All three seasons represent the Palestinian side as a net of terror, but the imagination of the creators goes far in season 2 when ISIS is added to the picture. One of the Palestinian fighters in that season, according to the writers, is no longer satisfied fighting for Hamas as he seeks more extremism.
Not to forget the numerous scenes in which the Palestinian resistance movement was associated with Al-Qaeda for Fauda to successfully demonize the armed struggle, Palestinians, and the inherent violence as a part of the Palestinian national identity.
Fauda also takes a clear stance against the Palestinian “extremism” while the Palestinians in Fauda don’t seem to have a real enemy to begin with, which is brought to the light in season three when the audience is shown a Facebook post by a “suicidal” Palestinian as a farewell before his attempt to stab an Israeli, while that Palestinian young man uses passive verbs to describe the Palestinian misery.
Thereby, Fauda offers an explicit endeavor to exonerate "Israel" and to blame Palestinians for their “extremism”. Once the damage is done, and the Palestinians are de-humanized in the eyes of the internationals, the viewers have the idea of “The State of Israel”, its values and morals planted in their heads.
No room is allowed for sympathizing with the Palestinian side while any kind of Israeli self-victimization is immediately denied. But again how delusional one must be to expect an unbiased Israeli narrative?
The unrealistic ground
The misinformation Fauda unleashes on its viewers doesn’t stop after demonizing the Palestinian society. The geopolitical aspect in Fauda is misleading enough to draw a different map and new borders to fit that narrative. The show doesn’t only hide the existence of the illegal settlements, but it also focuses on the idea that Palestine and “Israel '' are two neighboring states fighting for the sole purpose of national security.
Fauda uses this new misleading map to seize every opportunity possible to exonerate “The State of Israel” from its responsibility for the inhumane circumstances in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially Gaza. As the Mista’arvims prepare themselves for a new mission on the grounds of the besieged Gaza Strip in season 3, there’s no mention of the suffocating siege nor the only checkpoints that exist: all seem to be controlled by Hamas, the greatest Israeli nightmare. As for the historical background, Fauda intends to leave its viewers in the shadows since the only enemy for Israelis in the show is Palestinian “extremism”.
The serious question that’s been overlooked is “What’s the backstory?”, especially that Fauda leaves people hanging for an entire season. The background of the “conflict” is to be tackled in one vague discussion in season 2, when the terrorist of ISIS visits a Palestinian woman who tells him that before the first intifada was ignited, Palestinians and Israelis both lived peacefully and they even visited each other.
That's how idiotic it is to argue that a series like Fauda, doesn’t provide an honest background to its viewers, an objective point of view. Especially that what’s mentioned in this article is barely one parcel of the misinformation Fauda uses deliberately to insult the intelligence of its viewers.
What is Fauda specifically, and the contemporary Israeli cinema trying to accomplish through its propaganda?
In his critique of Zionist literature, Ghassan Kanafani explained how the Jewish struggle was politicized for the sake of the Zionist project and how it worked to convince Jews that they should circumvent such a colonial project in order to end their struggle.
That sense of self-victimization started there and is still being used by the same colonial project to justify its atrocities. As Ella Shohat wrote in her book Israeli Cinema, “Zionism invented, as it were, the Israeli nation partly through its literary and cinematic narrative”, but the contemporary Israeli cinema is no longer in a position to convince the world that "Israel" has the right to exist after having politicized Judaism, but it’s currently in a place where it needs to ongoingly white-wash itself and convince the world of how moral it is.
Through humanizing the Israeli enemy and war-criminal, Israeli cinema has served the expansionist colonial state of "Israel" well. The ramifications of the re-humanization of Israeli settlers at the expense of the Palestinian struggle have reaped their rewards after years of convincing the world including Arabs that Israelis are just human beings who have been fighting for their right to exist.
The recent wave of Normalization in the Arab world exposed a minority of Arabs who internalized this kind of propaganda as they don’t consider "Israel" an enemy or a threat anymore partly due to that kind of re-humanization. Being the spoiled brat and student of European colonialism, "Israel" was offered years of Orientalism and prejudicial stereotypes on a silver platter to secure its place in the Western Media and platforms like Netflix to erase the Palestinian cause off the map.
While the Israeli propaganda might’ve succeeded to brainwash some internationals and gaslight some Arabs, the desperate Israeli effort remains futile as it never succeeded to erase the collective memory of generations of Palestinians who know that the Israeli colonizer can never be befriended or humanized.
Simply, the real failure of the propagandistic Israeli cinematic narrative cannot go unnoticed as it never succeeded to dazzle Palestinians or to stop them from resisting such a venomous colonial project.