The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is petitioning Netflix to cancel its show Fauda, Arabic for "chaos." The show serves as an "anti-Arab racist, Israeli propaganda tool that glorifies the Israeli military's war crimes against the Palestinian people," the group's March 29 statement reads.
The show features an undercover Israeli unit that embeds itself within West Bank society in an effort to find terror suspects. One plotline features Hamas members planning to release sarin — a poisonous chemical — in a synagogue in an attempt to get Israel to react with war crimes, which would then push its Arab neighbors into action.
The show's second season was released in May. According to Lior Raz, a former IDF member who co-created the show and stars in it, he and journalist Avi Issacharoff "wanted to create a show that could humanize the ongoing conflict based on our experience in the IDF." Raz says that when they started the show in 2014 and yet another conflict with Gaza broke out, "officials came to us, asking us to keep production going."
Palestinian activists groups say it does the opposite: while dehumanizing Arabs, the show whitewashes the acts of Israel's secret military wing and counter-terror units, which have engaged in targeted assassinations, extrajudicial executions and the brutalization of unarmed demonstrators, the PACBI highlighted. "By sanitizing and normalizing these crimes, Fauda is directly complicit in promoting and justifying these grave human rights violations," the group said.
— Fauda Netflix (@FaudaNetflix) June 11, 2018
"The Palestinian issue is very complicated — it's not black and white," Hisham Suleiman, an Arab-Israeli actor who plays the main Hamas villain, told the BBC about the show, which bills itself as being about a conflict which is "ancient."
— PACBI (@PACBI) April 10, 2018
PACBI noted that in February, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted a party bringing together Israeli celebrities — including those acting in Fauda — with counter-terror soldiers. The crew lauded the soldiers as "protectors of life," according to PACBI.
In 2015, Sputnik News spoke with Don Karl, an artist who gained notoriety after he was hired to paint Arabic graffiti on the set of the US television political thriller Homeland. When he got on the job, he painted "Homeland is racist." Telling Sputnik that the show doesn't have a "clear idea of the culture they are filming a series about," it promotes the idea that all Muslims, Arabs and Pakistanis are terrorists.
Karl added that many shows are filmed without thought and built on stereotypes and that series like Homeland follow the beat of the news and reflect a country's political interests in the form of fiction.