Filmmaker to present U with French views of Middle East conflict

There has been a resurgence of violent acts of anti-Semitism in France.

Jerret Raffety

Students will have the opportunity to debate the French portrayal of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Science Classroom Building today.

Jacques Tarnero, a French filmmaker, media critic, author and historian, will present a film and speak at the event, said Tessa Eagan, informational representative for the College of Liberal Arts.

Tarnero’s film, “Decryptage,” will be screened at 3:30 p.m. today and he will lecture afterward, Eagan said.

The event is part of the yearlong series, “The French Middle East: Fallout from the Arab-Israeli Conflict in France,” she said.

The lecture and film are being presented because they examine perceptions of the Middle East conflict in France and the French media’s depiction of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, said Daniel Brewer, chairman of the French and Italian department at the University.

“It’s very important to think about the ways in which our ideas about history are shaped by the media,” Brewer said.

By looking at France, people can gain a better understanding of the conflict, said Bruno Chaouat, a professor with the French and Italian department and an organizer for the event.

“The country has the largest Muslim and Jewish communities in Europe, and what is happening there is a re-enactment of the Middle East conflict,” he said.

There has been a resurgence of anti-Semitism in France, resulting in ongoing acts of physical assault, arson, vandalism and social intimidation, Chaouat said.

“The viewpoints expressed will provoke debates, and even hostility and empathy, but we are doing our best to keep the presentation as balanced, equitable and contrasting as possible,” he said.

The event is also being presented because it touches on Holocaust denial in France, said Stephen Feinstein, director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at the University.

Some of Tarnero’s earlier films were directly inspired by denial of the Holocaust, such as books by French author Robert Faurisson, written in the 1970s, Feinstein said.

“There will always be an attempt to cover up genocide, because the last part of any criminal act is denial,” Feinstein said.

The series is organized by the University’s French and Italian department and co-sponsored by the CLA Scholarly Events Fund; the German, Scandinavian and Dutch department; the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies; the Center for Jewish Studies and other community groups and colleges in Minnesota, Eagan said.