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June 10, 2016

CAMERA Waiting for Response to Letter to Mart Green About Little Town of Bethlehem


This is a screenshot of a plane shown in the 2010 movie Little Town of Bethlehem directed by Jim Hanon and produced by Mart Green, who currently serves as chief strategy officer for Hobby Lobby. The film, which is about the Arab-Israeli conflict, showed footage of this plane as if it were an Israeli fighter. The name on the fuselage, which can be seen clearly, is that of an Australian pilot. In sum, the film passed off footage of an Australian fighter as if it were an Israeli plane. The use of footage in this manner is a clear violation of the norms of documentary making.

CAMERA is waiting for a response to a letter sent to Mart Green, producer of the 2010 movie Little Town of Bethlehem.

On June 1, 2016, CAMERA sent a letter to Mart Green who currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer for Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Copies of the letter were also sent to Mart Green’s father David Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby and Mart Green’s brother, Steve Green, who serves as President of the company, which has 700 stores throughout the United States.

Another copy of the letter was sent to Jim Hanon, the movie’s director.

In the letter, CAMERA asks Mart Green to embark on a campaign to unwind the damage done to Israel’s reputation (and to the reputation of American Jews who support the Jewish state) by the misinformation broadcast in the movie.

“The movie’s propagandistic treatment of the Arab-Israeli conflict incited hostility and unwarranted contempt toward Israel and its Jewish supporters in the minds of thousands of viewers,�? the letter stated.

CAMERA asked Mart Green to publish and distribute a fact sheet that would be sent to officials at the 400 venues where the movie was shown. CAMERA also asked that Mart Green issue a press release drawing attention to his efforts to correct the record.

Accompanying the letter was a 20-page analysis of the factual misstatements and misinformation broadcast in the movie. Some, but not all of CAMERA’s complaints about the movie can be seen in this article published in November 2015.

One problem described in the letter (but not the article) is how the movie misleads its viewers by passing off footage of an Australian jet as an Israeli fighter plane.

At various points throughout the film, LTOB shows footage of a jet fighter doing aerial maneuvers while Yonatan Shapira, who is featured at length in the film, speaks about serving in Israel’s air force. Viewers are led to believe that the plane in being shown is an Israeli fighter jet.

It is not.

A close examination of the footage in question reveals that the plane in question has the name of an Australian fighter pilot whose name and rank and story can be readily found on the Internet. (A screenshot of the stenciling on the fuselage, with the pilot's name can be clearly seen in the image at the top of this entry).

This information can only be obtained by looking at the film on a frame-by-frame basis, as CAMERA has done. Viewers who see the film in a public setting simply will not be able to do this.

This is only one of the many problems in the list sent to Mart Green.

In the letter, CAMERA also asked Mart Green if the Green family was involved in the production of another anti-Israel film, With God on Our Side produced by Porter Speakman, Jr. Despite repeated requests for information about the funders of this film, Speakman has not revealed their identities. “Individuals and organizations who felt it was an important topic to address donated toward this project,�? Speakman wrote in an email to CAMERA in July 2012.

Earlier today, CAMERA contacted LTOB's director Jim Hanon and asked if he would be issuing a public statement in response to the letter. (No.)

While speaking with CAMERA, Hanon said that he produced Little Town of Bethlehem to allow people with a particular perspective a chance to tell their stories. He “was not offering it up as a historical document,�? Hanon said.

When told that he was not merely offering up different perspectives, but misinformation about the Arab-Israeli conflict, Hanon stated that the sources in the film would consider the information presented in the letter to the Greens as misinformation and that giving them a chance to tell their story in a public forum “is not harmful.�?

Watch this space for more information.

Posted by dvz at June 10, 2016 01:42 PM


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