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Unmasking Rising Global Antisemitism: CISA's Screening of Gloria Greenfield's Unmasked:Judeophobia and the Threat to Civilization

by Rhonda Spivak, January 23, 2012

When filmmaker Gloria Greenfield was making her documentary Unmasked she asked the archives department of Aljazeera for footage to use for the film but they refused.

The film, which interviews leading thinkers on the subject of antisemitism does not contain any interviews with moderate Muslim scholars.

"I did try to interview moderate Muslim scholars. One of the scholars who lives in Germany received threats to his life from Islamists and then declined," Greenfield told a hundred or so people at the Berney Theatre on January 5.

Dr. Catherine Chatterley, one of the leading scholars in Greenfield's film, moderated the discussion after the screening, which was sponsored by the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism [CISA].

Another courageous Muslim said it was "very dangerous" for him to appear in the film. Greenfield said that there are "courageous Muslim voices" who are moderate, but this is not enough, since these moderate voices are "silenced" by the radical Islamists.

 The film opens with a powerful clip from a recent Ottawa speech of Noble Peace prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who is the Honorary Chairman of CISA, in which he says, “Since 1945, I was not so afraid as I am now. I am afraid because antisemitism, which I had thought belonged to the past, has somehow survived. I was convinced in ’45 that antisemitism had died with its Jewish victims at Auschwitz and Treblinka, but I see, no, the Jews perished, but antisemitism in some parts of the world is flourishing.”

Canada's former Minister of Justice, MP Irwin Cotler, analyzes this resurgence by saying, “What we’re witnessing is an ascribing to Israel of the two great evils of the 20th century, Apartheid and Nazism.”

It was Cotler who first suggested to Greenfield that she make a film about antisemitism following her previous film, The Case for Israel.

The film explores not only Christian antisemitism, but antisemitism in the Arab world, and Greenfield noted afterward that one of the things she had learned in the process of making the film was that the Nazi regime's propaganda was broadcast in Arabic during the war. “Even after Germany was defeated in 1947 the Mufti said that the Arabs would fight on to finish the Nazi’s work.”

In 1948, when a tiny nation of 600,000 people defeated seven invading Arab armies, the Arab world had to find a way to explain this, which it did by saying there was "a world Jewish conspiracy."

The film also deals with several infamous incidents of violence against French Jews, who make up the largest Jewish community remaining in Europe. The kidnapping, torture and killing of Ilan Halimi [in a Paris apartment] in 2006 by a gang who called his parents and readfrom the Koran while he was being tortured was horrific, and had nothing to do with Israel.

The film covers statements by the Iranian President Ahmadinejad saying that Israel must be wiped off the map. In the film, Alvin H. Rosenfeld, the director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism in Indiana, says, “One of the lessons of the Holocaust is that we have to be literalists. When we hear somebody say, ‘Kill the Jews,’ we have to realize, they probably mean it.”

The film ends on a high note with a quote from Rabbi Jonathon Sacks who refers to the rebirth of the State of Israel as "the power of faith to let possibility defeat probability."

At several points in her talk after the film, Greenfield warned, "What is happening in Europe is the possible future for North America if we don't deal with it." The goal is to keep antisemitismat "a manageable level", and concluded, "We will always have brushfires but the important thing is not to let it devour the huge forest."

One of the points raised in the discussion after the film's screening was whether Arabs innocently believe that Jews are a religion (Judaism) but not a people or a nation (meaning they are not entitled to a state). Greenfield clearly does not think that this distinction is an innocent one, noting that Arabs are all too eager to say Jews are not a people, and yet, they are quick to refer to the "Jewish lobby."

In answer to a question from the Winnipeg Jewish Review as to President Obama's approach vis-a-vis the Arab world in his Cairo Speech and his attempt to reconcile with Iran, Greenfield responded, "Some people say that his [Obama's] strategy of appeasing the Islamic world has backfired . . . I think there's something to be said for what others have been saying about this."

She also referred to Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper as "a shining light" when it comes to issues in the Middle East. 

After the screening, Gloria Greenfield and Doc Emet Productions generously donated 20 autographed copies of Unmasked: Judeophobia and the Threat to Civilization to support the work of CISA. Gloria asked that they be given to the first 20 donors who make an online donation of $180 or more to the Institute:

CISA is a registered charity and all donations will receive a tax receipt. Go to

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.