Zionist and Palestinian Honor and Universal Dignity in Israeli Cinema

This article offers a film analysis of Israeli films which, it claims, embrace or critique Israel’s Zionist and Palestinian perceptions of honor, as compared with universal human dignity. The article groups together and examines six acclaimed Israeli feature films that, it argues, present and comment on Zionist and Palestinian perceptions of honor, as well as human dignity. The Israeli-Zionist Kazablan (1973) and the Israeli-Palestinian Wedding in Galilee (1987) each construct an ideal version of Zionist and Palestinian honor codes and mentalities, respectively. More critical and recent films, James’ Journey to Jerusalem (2003), Attash (2004) and Ajami (2009), suggest that these happy ideals conceal monstrous shadow images that undermine the reverence and promotion of human dignity. Finally, Bethlehem (2013) is read as portraying both Zionist and Palestinian mentalities concerning honor as macho, adolescent, insensitive and hurtful. According to this reading, Bethlehem demonstrates how both honor codes preclude the adherence to and cherishing of universal human dignity, locking the two nations in an eternal blood feud.