HBO series ringing alarm bells for depiction of Israeli society
August 16, 2019
(JNS)—Media watchdog organization CAMERA is raising questions about an upcoming HBO series, “Our Boys,” about the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir by a Jewish gang in 2014. “When HBO released the trailer for the series, several news publications promoted the show as a story about the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas operatives just prior to the 2014 Gaza war,” said Andrea Levin, CAMERA’s executive director. “However, the trailer spends less than a minute on the killing of the Israeli boys.”
Levin went on to say that “their murder is depicted with hardly any pathos and seems simply to be the inciting incident for the film’s central drama—finding the Jewish perpetrators of the appalling murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir.”
According to CAMERA film reviewer Ricki Hollander, “Much of the trailer is devoted to scenes of bloodthirsty Israeli Jews screaming for revenge, and these scenes of revenge-bent Israelis are juxtaposed with sympathetic images of Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s heartbroken father. The trailer includes no sympathetic scenes of the Israeli parents whose children were murdered even though the killings were a national trauma.”
At one point in the trailer, Israel’s security and judicial system, which in reality includes Arab officials, is presented as racist.
“When the victim is a Jew, you’re champions,” Muhammad’s father yells at an Israeli security official. “But when it’s an Arab, you don’t have a clue!”
“If the trailer accurately reflects the series, I’m concerned that audiences will be misled about the actual tragedy,” said Hollander. “The trailer, for example, suggests that Abu Khdeir’s murder was fomented by some widespread call for revenge by Israelis. It includes no hint that in reality Israelis across the political spectrum were horrified by the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a crime condemned by Israel’s entire leadership and society, from secular to ultra-Orthodox, and from far-left to far-right.”
That the trailer suggests an equivalence between the murders of the Israeli teenagers and the Palestinian boy is also serious cause for concern, according to Hollander.
“In contrast to the blanket condemnation of the Palestinian boy’s murder,” said Hollander, “murders of Israeli Jews are encouraged and incentivized not only by Hamas—just a few days ago, a senior Hamas official, Fathi Hammad, made headlines for urging Palestinians to kill Jews around the world, but by the Palestinian Authority, which glorifies terrorists, naming streets and schools after them and subsidizing the families of convicted Palestinian terrorists.”
“It’s hard, obviously, to judge a series by a brief trailer,” said Levin, “but if the teaser accurately forecasts what’s to come, there will be valid concerns about how the tragic events of 2014 are depicted. Hopefully, the series will not replicate the problems of the trailer.”