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About as subtle as its subtitle, Gloria Z. Greenfield’s documentary attempts to be both a comprehensive exploration of anti-Semitism throughout the ages and a forceful alarm about its modern-day threat. Not fully successful on either level, Unmasked Judeophobia: The Threat to Civilization does convey an important message, albeit one that is often undercut by the unmeasured manner in which it is presented.
Using the titular term because it supposedly better conveys the “intellectualized and ideological hatred of Jews,” the filmmaker, whose previous effort was The Case for Israel—Democracy’s Outpost, brings out an army of talking heads—academics, politicians, journalists, rabbis and such well-known figures as Elie Wiesel and the ubiquitous Alan Dershowitz—to vividly describe the dire state of affairs for Jews throughout the world and for Israel in particular.
The film is more interesting for its extensive historical context, including an examination of the little-known association between Islamic extremists and the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. It’s on less revelatory ground when it delves into the well-documented current state of anti-Semitism, including the rise of violence against Jews in France and other countries and such hatred-spouting figures as Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, among too many others.
Eventually, the sheer overload of information and commentary becomes less illuminating than repetitive, with the film’s unabashed pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian stance giving it the feel of an unbalanced polemic. The facts are disturbing enough without having to present them with the sort of hysterical shrillness that only works to the film’s detriment.
Opens Oct. 19 (Doc Emet Productions)
Director/screenwriter/producer: Gloria Z. Greenfield
Executive producer: George Violin
Director of photography: Richard Chisolm
Editor: David Grossbach
Composer: Sharon Farber
Not rated, 81 min
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