Jordan’s promising Institute of Cinematic Arts generates online controversy

King Abdullah and USC Dean Elizabeth M. Daley attend ceremony in New York Thanks to the blogosphere, I’ve found out about an amazing cinematic project that will be established in Jordan. It is the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (RSICA) based in Jordan’s Red Sea resort town of Aqaba. I first heard about this great project on Laith’s blog and it really made my day knowing that such a highly needed institute would be established in Jordan. Kudos to all those behind it.

However, the announcement of this project is already creating controversy in the blogosphere. The reason stems from a statement by veteran filmmaker Stephen Spielberg, who will be involved in the project:

When His Majesty the King approached me on the subject of a Jordan-based, world-class film school serving every country in the Middle East, including Israel, I immediately saw the importance and significance of such a venture for the people and the future of the region. I knew as a trustee of USC and a member of the school’s Board of Councilors that the university had the exact expertise he needed for this incredible initiative.
Source: [University of Southern California]

Some were not happy about having Israelis involved in the project. One anonymous commentator on Ameen’s blog said:

I read what blogger Laith Majali posted about the film school and it said the school is also open to Israelis. Imagine, sitting next you will be an Israeli who is an IDF reservists and who may have killed or maimed an Arab few kilometers away from the film school. And then we in Jordan will help him make films about evil and terrorist Arabs. This is like Israeli film schools admitting skinheads and neo-nazis. Will we go along with anything if the price is right?

Another commentator on Laith’s blog said:

"… world-class film school serving every country in the Middle East, including Israel" The New Middle East? You can count me out.

Another commentator on Laith’s blog going by the name of Shlomo said:

Thank you. I can’t [wait] to learn filmmaking in Jordan to make films about terrorist Arabs.

Regardless of the controversy, I see this project as the materialization of the dreams of so many aspiring Jordanian and Arab movie makers. I am excited.

34 thoughts on “Jordan’s promising Institute of Cinematic Arts generates online controversy”

  1. Very disappointing. These people do not realize, that Arab-Israelis, might be the ones concerned in that case, as many of them already attend Jordan’s universities.

    I don’t think that a Jewish Israeli, would risk his life to come to Jordan, people would stone the guy to death.

  2. Less than 5 comments that are posted on two tightly coupled blogs hardly constitute a controversy. Let alone a controversy worth blogging about.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  3. I don’t get it. Whith the blood of Lebanese and Palestinian women and children and innocents on their hands, we will welcome Israeli murderers to study in Jordan. Shameful.

  4. “I don’t get it. Whith the blood of Lebanese and Palestinian women and children and innocents on their hands, we will welcome Israeli murderers to study in Jordan. Shameful”.

    I can understand why you’d feel this way but with that said, when does the hate end? And wouldn’t a film school maybe be a start.

    If Israelis and Arabs are never willing to sit down together, even in a creative environment like a film school then how will there ever be peace?

  5. “when does the hate end?”

    That’s a question you aske when you wish to pretend that this is a complex argument between two equally powerful adversaries. But Samer this is not about irrational hate, this is about 3.5 million non-jews who are rotting in refugee camps because jews think they are lesser humans and are not worthy of a land those expelled few years ago called home. Please do not play this grossly insensative Western game and pretend that you don’t understand the root of the conflict and that this is some sort of Arab-Hates-jew and nothing more.

    How come its Arabs who are the ones with low self esteem and often lacking in dignity when jews are the ones who know what they want and control the game. When was the last time Jews invited Skinheads or KKK for dialoug and sat down and made films together? NEVER. You know why? becuse jews have dignity and we don’t. And what study did you rely on to arrive at the conclusion that a film school will bring peace and understading? Whatever happened to returning land? whatever happened to ending the misery of refugees? Just make films and the refugees would go home? Make a nother film and the occupation will end? Are we being naive? Or are we jumping through hoops to rationalize something that is evil and sinister and utterly selfish. How will a film school in Jordan attended by Israeli soldiers will end the occupation? Do you know of any precedent in history where Neo-Nazis and Jews made films and then there was love? I mean why should the zionists give anything if there is ZERO pressure? If they can waltz in the Arab world and make business deals and go to school with us WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD THEY WANT TO GIVE ANYTHING UP? I want one historical precdent where a supremacist ideology, be it the facists, nazis, serb, or any ethnic cleansing bastrds who ever gave anything up because they felt loved? if any, your gesture of kindess would illiminate any need on their part to give anything up. And then what will we do with the refugees? After all, we talk all the time about Jordan not being the alternative homeland for the refugees and then with our naivate we show the israelis that we love them and they need not worry about the refugees. This is not how you make peace and end hate.

  6. No Thanks,
    Thanks for your honest answer. Re: refugees returning home, where is home? Meaning do you believe in the one state solution or two separate states? Do you believe that Israel should return to pre 1967 borders? Or do you belive that all Jews need to leave Israel?

    What’s your solution?

    And yes, I would sit down and try to dialogue with members of the KKK as much as I hate them. But you’re right, I wouldn’t want to attend a film school with them.

  7. option 1 : one state solution. a secular democracy and a south-africa type solution and a truth and reconciliation committee. but i think this is science fiction since I am afraid the zionists are far more evil than white poeple ever were or could ever be. we see it everyday.

  8. “And yes, I would sit down and try to dialogue with members of the KKK as much as I hate them.”

    Really? BS. why don’t you put in a call to Seeds for Peace and ask them to organize the next bootcamp between jews and neo-nazis, skinheads, and KKK. You should find so much in common with them, except that you succeded where they had failed.

    “But you’re right, I wouldn’t want to attend a film school with them.”

    And I would never want to be in the same room with a racial supremacist or a zionist. and the very few times I had to engage in pleasentries it was a reflex and not premeditated. but after reflecting on it, I almost hurled. since everytime I shock hands with a zionist, i knew i was being exploited for a photo op. because he improved his image as the loving peacemaker who is willing to touch an Arab and I did not move closer to jerusalem by 1 cm.

  9. ” this is science fiction since I am afraid the zionists are far more evil than white poeple ever were or could ever be. we see it everyday”.

    Well now, “white people” have done some very evil things. I consider the Nazis to be “white” people” and they wiped out a good chunk of my family in Europe. White people also slaughtered Native Amercians in this country. They killed Blacks in this Country. They had slaves. So I guess our perceptions depend on what our life experiences are.

  10. “And I would never want to be in the same room with a racial supremacist or a zionist. and the very few times I had to engage in pleasentries it was a reflex and not premeditated. but after reflecting on it, I almost hurled. since everytime I shock hands with a zionist, i knew i was being exploited for a photo op. because he improved his image as the loving peacemaker who is willing to touch an Arab and I did not move closer to jerusalem by 1 cm”

    No Thanks, You know what. Forget answering my last post.Or this one. You’re way to hostile to try to engage in any sort of dialogue. I’m sorry for trying.

  11. “You’re way to hostile to try to engage in any sort of dialogue.”

    after 10 years of dialoug and I am all dialouged out my supremacist friend. you are all too dishonest for any sort of dialoug. why do you think the palestinains gave up and voted for hamas. they know after giving Oslo a shot that nothing will make any difference. And the proof came in your FM’s speech to the UN: No to withdrawal to 1967, no to non-jewish right of return. So what is left? Apartheid. go screw yourself and your dialoug.

  12. Natasha, I apologize for turing this into a flame war.

    No Thanks, I’m sorry I responded to you with my last comment. While you haven’t been exactly pleasant towards me, I see that you’re just trying to tell the truth about your situation and I wasn’t really hearing you.

    I can’t know what it’s like for you because I’m not living in your shoes. It sounds like you have a lot of reasons to feel angry, hopeless and helpless. And I’m sorry about that.

  13. Soemhow we get to believe that Aqaba is a different country that is not part of Jordan. We once thought of making a casino in it, now this project which can be of great value but I’m nor pro- doing anything which is against the will of more than 90% of Jordanians.

  14. Hareega, we are all for a film school in Jordan but why does it have to come with bloody Israeli soldiers. Why does everyone want to shove the murderous israelis down our throat anytime they want to help Jordan. Why can’t the west use financial pressure to stop the bloody israelis instead of using it to make their victims bend over. sick sick sick.

  15. Natasha,
    I am that same American-Israeli “outsider” who commented on your Starbucks blog not too long ago. I am a frequent visitor to jordanplanet.net and an enthusiast of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Wadi Rum and Petra). I served in the Israeli elite Special Forces (Givati) before attending Georgetown. I was born in Oceanside, NY and at age 18 I moved to Israel to spend my most cherished years in one of the toughest and most rigorous armies of the world- and I am everlastingly proud of it. In the West Bank (Palestinians) I knew mainly three types of people-one type of extreme, xenophobic, and acutely religious community who by all means isolated themselves from the “infidel” Israeli and fought against him, another type of depraved, corrupt, and disloyal community who by all means cooperated with the “infidel” Israeli for material gains (they are good assets and a very large percentage), and finally a type of bright-eyed, bushy tailed, sophisticated, learned, tri-lingual community who, although angry at the “infidel” Israeli, befriended him for very complex and yet ridiculous causes. They saw themselves more sophisticated than their parents or their mainstream culture. They in return refused the archetypal Arabic culture and turned into refined, innovative, up-to-the-minute, and free life style. Secular Israelis seemed to provide them with those needs. Another reason why they accepted Israel is that, as a result of their generational insubordination, they wanted to publicize their rebellion just to piss-off their Arab counterparts. While secular Israelis allocate good relationships with this type, they still can be loyal to their religion, their culture, and their country-unlike the third type (Arabs). During my recent service in Lebanon, this argument was in fact correct. They-the third type-are not loyal to us. They were not loyal to their birth-right in the first place-so how can we expect them to stand up for our cause? This third type is undeniably unconstructive, just like the other two. By your comparison of the film controversy in Jordan and your last comment that sounded judgmental and meant to unease the average Jordanian blogger-the mainstream, it sounded as scary as the third type. How can I expect someone to be an ally to the Jewish identity while he/she is above the local mainstream? A large portion of bloggers here fall into the third type while a small percentage follows the first one. Finally, please allow to say that King Hussein-G-D bless his soul, was different and an ideal- a friend and a devout Arab. Can you please follow his example?

  16. Outsider, how many lebanese and palestinian kids have you butchered? you sick supremacist jew. here you are conducting nazi-like experemints treating your victims as some sort os lab rats and you are some sort of a scientist doing social experemints. You are capable of being worse than Nazis, except that the Europeans would not allow you to go that far.

  17. “I moved to Israel to spend my most cherished years in one of the toughest and most rigorous armies of the world”

    HA HA HA HA! a tiny country called Lebanon just kicked your Hebrew a*s and their boots are still stuck there, as a reminder. Funny you call the IDF tough and rigorous. Anyone can kill and maime civilians and that’s your specialty. You were at your best in Lebanon. Remind me never to recommend Georgetown U to anyone since it produces criminals like you. You are a terrorist militia since the definition of terrorism is to kill civilians for political ends. Yes dude, don’t flatter yourself. Tough my a*s. Shooting at civilians with Ak47s in Gaza is cowerdly. You are such cowards. I watched the AlJazeer special on your invasion of Lebanon. Were you one of those elite unites who were crying like children when the resistance fighters surrounded you? count your blessing coward. you could have been compost in Lebanon.

  18. I am a member of the South Lebenon Army. Remember us Outsider? We fought and sacrificed for Israel and you let us down. You dumbed us in an isolated village and treated us like lepards. The fact is no matter what Arabs do for you, we are just useful idiots. Many members of the SLA returned to Lebanon and accepted punishment than to stay in Israel. Lessons learned: to all Arab traitors, you will be alone and you will face an ignanomous, miserable end.

  19. Outsider: Here is an example of your brevery and humanity.

    BBC: ‘Million bomblets’ in S Lebanon

    Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 16:09 GMT 17:09 UK

    Explosives expert prepares to detonate cluster bombs in Majdal Sellem, south Lebanon
    There are three times more live devices than previously thought

    Up to a million cluster bomblets discharged by Israel in its conflict with Hezbollah remain unexploded in southern Lebanon, the UN has said.

    The UN’s mine disposal agency says about 40% of the cluster bombs fired or dropped by Israel failed to detonate – three times the UN’s previous estimate.

    It says the problem could delay the return home of about 200,000 displaced people by up to two years.

    The devices have killed 14 people in south Lebanon since the August truce.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5382192.stm

  20. I do not wish to argue and inflame our discussion. In sum, my point was that we, as Jews, want peace. But we need peace with Arabs who are devout to their religion and culture. After the sad experience, making peace with those who associate themselves with America, Europe, or Russia is counterfeit-not real. We need Arab friends with sturdy identity so peace is gifted and perpetual. I can’t wait to shake hands with new friends.
    Anti-Zionazi-we don’t use Ak-47s no more. We don’t live in 1948. Update your info.

  21. Duh! I meant that you use your F16s and Merkavas and Apaches to kill Gazans defending their homeland with Ak47s

    We are sick and tired of your talk-peace-but-shoot-women-and-children style of dealing with Arabs. The fact is you are a sophisticated supremacist. Unlike the KKK and Skinheads, you learned the value of speaking peace while achiving your objectives by any means necessary.

  22. And just to be fair to Outsider and to prove my point to others here are two questions to Outsider. I can look in my crystal ball and predict the answer (since I have been in these debates for over a decade until I got sick of debating)

    QUESION I:

    Outsider, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says in Article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

    Outsider, do you accept that Jewish rights do not supercede non-jewish rights and as such non-jews who have been expelled have the same right of return as jews?

    QUESTION II:

    Outsider, do you accept Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that stipulate:

    “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.”

    If so, what aspect of the UDHR gives you the right to prevent expelled non-jews from returning?

    Not from my decades of expereince with dialouging with supremacist jews, Outsider will now engage in racist acrobatics to rationalize what is obviously an immoral act. Then we will be locked in a debate for another 100 years. What Outsider is really doing is waiting for someone to agree with him. This person will be then called a moderate, embraced, and then nothing will move forward.

  23. WHERE ARE YOU OUTSIDER? YOU DID NOT ANSWER MY QUESTIONS. CAT EAT YOUR TOUNG? OR DID YOU JUST WANT TO SHAKE HANDS AND HUG AND CALL THAT PEACE? Screw you and all Zionazis dude. Friggin supremacists.

  24. hey Outsider. you describe paletinians as “xenophobic” . i think this is funny. do you know of any invaded people who are friendly to the invaders?

  25. I agree with Outsider 100%. When we are going to be a democratic nation, recognized for its positive role in the world? What the Jews did to Israel, what the Japanese did to Japan…etc is outstanding! What did we do except filling the world with hate like anti-Zionazi.
    Israel, 2 days ago, sentenced an Israeli settler who killed 4 Palestinians four consecutive life terms. Nasrallah and Hizballah are calling to release a killer, Samir Quntar who killed childern (whether Jews or Arabs-doesn’t matter). They glorified his crimes. See the difference?
    Learn something anti-Zionazi, remote-control and Bob.

  26. Judging by the responses here, it doesn’t seem like this film institute is such a good idea. I mean the part about letting Israelis attend. Which I gather is the point of it all. To bring Arabs and Israelis together.

    Perhaps then Mr Spielberg should pull out of this project as his involvement must also certainly be offending all of you. In fact any American who is involved should also bow out as some of you seem to hate us as much as the Israelis. Why be involved in a project with people who hate you?

    Although, sadly I stll think this might have worked.

  27. “Israel, 2 days ago, sentenced an Israeli settler who killed 4 Palestinians four consecutive life terms. ”

    And whatever happened to the hundreds of non-jews murdered by jews just in this intifada alone? the settler’s only crime is that he butchered non-jews without wearing an IDF uniform. Had he waited for his tour of duty, he could have butchered a 14 year old girl and gotten away with it or killed hundreds of lebanese women anc children.

    Check this link about murdered non-jewish civilians and tell me how many of the jewish terrorists who killed them got punished? You like to fish for rare positive occasions to generalize about israel. The norm is daily murder of non-jews by jews that goes unpinished.

    http://www.btselem.org/English/Statistics/Casualties.asp

    And by the way, don’t flatter yourself about Israel’s accomplishments. the Nazis had cultural and technilogical accomplishments too. The were supremacists too.

  28. Hey Zionazi, who will seek justice for the murdered brothers?

    Palestinians: Israeli strike kills two teen brothers in northern Gaza

    By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, and Reuters

    An Israel Defense Forces strike in the northern Gaza Strip killed two teen brothers on Friday, Palestinian security services and witnesses said.

    The Israel Defense Forces said it had targeted suspects involved in firing rockets into Israel.

    Witnesses said the two were killed in Beit Hanun as they were riding bicycles in the street. Palestinian reports said the attack came from Israeli aircraft but the IDF later said ground troops were involved in the strike….

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/769071.html

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