Thursday, September 10, 2009

I love listening to Q

Jian Ghomeshi is such a great interviewer. Did you hear him keep his cool with Billy Bob? Be sure to listen to Q, Ghomeshi's radio show on CBC tomorrow morning as he's interviewing Naomi Klein live. She'll be talking about why we should think critically about some of the practices of this year's TIFF, or Toronto International Film Festival. Klein was one of the drafters of an Open Letter to TIFF, no Celebration of Occupation, an excerpt which I posted below. If you miss Q on the radio, you can listen to the podcast, which will be posted online after the show.

The emphasis on 'diversity' in City to City is empty given the absence of Palestinian filmmakers in the program. Furthermore, what this description does not say is that Tel Aviv is built on destroyed Palestinian villages, and that the city of Jaffa, Palestine’s main cultural hub until 1948, was annexed to Tel Aviv after the mass exiling of the Palestinian population. This program ignores the suffering of thousands of former residents and descendants of the Tel Aviv/Jaffa area who currently live in refugee camps in the Occupied Territories or who have been dispersed to other countries, including Canada. Looking at modern, sophisticated Tel Aviv without also considering the city’s past and the realities of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip, would be like rhapsodizing about the beauty and elegant lifestyles in white-only Cape Town or Johannesburg during apartheid without acknowledging the corresponding black townships of Khayelitsha and Soweto.

We do not protest the individual Israeli filmmakers included in City to City, nor do we in any way suggest that Israeli films should be unwelcome at TIFF. However, especially in the wake of this year’s brutal assault on Gaza, we object to the use of such an important international festival in staging a propaganda campaign on behalf of what South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann have all characterized as an apartheid regime."


The King Of Music said...

What a jerk that Jian Ghomeshi is - usually his smarmy snarky style just irritates, but today he went above and beyond. Hasn't anybody noticed how he operates? he kept interrupting Naimi Klein and rushing her along, but then he let that hate monger go on and on, very supportive of him. Where do they get thise pro-Israel guys, from central casting? "Get me a blowhard bully with no regard for the truth, who slanders and lies and defames." Man, that makes the case for Israel, doesn't it? He basically, "Nice to talk to you again, my dear friend,got your back." Disgusting, I hope it opened your eyes a bit. As for Billy Bob, that was just a case of two opportunistic creeps trying to get a little publicity off each other. Billy Bob should have realized that he wasn't going to get any milage off that because Ghomeshi is a big fish in a small pond, it was only going to work to his advantage to get his hooks into Billy Bob.

northshorewoman said...

King of Music, no, I don't think he is a jerk, nor did I feel the interview was pro-Israel. I think he, like any other person on public media in Canada, has to walk a fine line when it comes to talking about Israel. Who knows, maybe there was pressure to bring in a "balanced" approach, that oh-so-liberal Canadian style excuse for fearing to tread in unequal power relations. Also, Ghomeishi was raising questions and bringing in "pro-Israel/Tel Aviv" style questions because many folks would have those questions. I don't think it was unfair of him to ask Naomi Klein to address those; I thought it was smart. I was, however, surprised of his choice of guest for the pro-TIFF, pro-Israel propaganda side. The he picked, or one of his staff found, such an ignorant, reactionary bully (a former film maker whose films have screened at TIFF!) rather than an intelligent person who might actually speak to the issues so real dialogue on a difficult topic could actually happen, well, that did surprise me. But I thought it surprised Ghomeshi, too, as it seemed to me that he was hurrying to cut him off at the end, having realized what a raging Zionist he was. That the Israeli Canadian film maker from Tel Aviv who he had on the line is free to travel back and forth to the stolen land of Palestine now called Israel from Canada while many Palestinians cannot, including film makers, would've been a good question to explore.

I thought Naomi Klein held her ground well and was able to say in a short time quite a few important things. Either way, I am sure Ghomeishi will get dissed on by "both sides", with some accusing him of being too biased on the pro-Zionist side and some accusing him of being biased towards the pro-Palestinian perspective. I will have to go and read the Q blog when I get a minute to see what's been posted.

I guess we all interpret things differently. His "smarmy snarky style" to you is "smart, honest and engaging" to me.

northshorewoman said...

I visited the Q blog and left a comment, which I have pasted here.

"I was honestly really surprised that your show picked such a biased bully to defend the Israeli propaganda side. I wasn't expecting that on Q. It would've been more helpful to have had a real dialogue on this complex issue if someone who actually matched Naomi Klein's critical intelligence had debated the issue with her. That Israeli Canadian Simcha Jacobovici is free to travel back and forth between Israel and Canada, yet many Palestinian filmmakers can not, is one of the key questions underlying this critique of celebrating Tel Aviv that might have been explored. Perhaps having a Palestinian filmmaker on Q at some later date to talk about the politics of film making and screening and "world" festivals, might make for an informative show."

Posted by: northshorewoman | September 11, 2009 01:49 PM

Anonymous said...

I agree with The King of Music: can't stand Ghomeshi. I actually enjoyed Billy Bob being a prick on his show. Served smarty pants right. I haven't had a chance to listen to this interview with Naomi Klein but the last time I heard her interviewed by Ghomeshi helped clarify what I don't like about him. He accused Klein of being a bit sloganistic with her terminology "Shock Doctrine" to which she humbly replied that she tried to back it up with with 400 pages of supportive material. Gomeshi stumbled over his reply to her. Love Klein. CBC radio would be better served by someone less concerned with trying to be trendy and cool, and instead had some journalistic integrity if they are going to interview an occasional heavy weight. Or maybe I'm just expecting too much of CBC radio which is rapidly heading to the fluff realm. By the way, I enjoy your writings northshorewoman. You are astute and thorough. Keep up the great work!