Jonas Amir Kadah
Happiness never decreases from being shared.

In total defense of Fauda

Caption from the intro of the TV hit series Fauda. (with permission from Solo Intros - Youtube)

Fauda season 3 has been released on Israeli TV, while the rest of the world awaits the sought after release on Netflix – some people call it pinkwashing and unfair. It’s the complete opposite.

For those of you who don’t know what Fauda is – let me put it simply. It’s a TV-series broadcasted on Israeli TV and Netflix – I’m sure some other networks picked it up as well. It mainly depicts some sort of reality of two extremes – an Israeli Mista’aravim unit and militant Hamas members. Mista’aravim are basically plain-clothes soldiers trained to blend in to the arab population on the West Bank (and probably Gaza), while Hamas is a terror organization and in the same time being the rulers of Gaza with some support in the West Bank.

The Israelis try to catch or kill what is portrayed as bad guys, while Hamas try to resist by kidnapping, bombing or any other means. What’s most interesting though is the scenes behind the scenes – how it plays out between the Palestinian Administrations own security organization and mainly captain Ayoub from Israel. The game behind the scenes are intriguing, interesting and displays the double standards from both sides.

Pinkwashing is a wider term which means “to divert or distract attention from real world issues”. There are countless ways of pinkwashing; by depicting the United Arab Emirates free, or to distract North Korea by calling the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea “Democratic”. A prime example though is the Sweden Democrat’s Björn Söder who is hosting a Holocaust memorial event. The Sweden Democrat’s were nazi’s back in the days, now they are racists. Björn Söder was with them all the way – so from Hitler Heiling to hosting Holocaust memorials is like the epi-center of pinkwashing.

Swedish politician Björn Söder dressed in an inaccurate folk dress, member of an openly racist party. (WIKIMEDIA 2014).

So why do some people call Fauda pinkwashing?

Mainly because they think it’s the Israeli government approved narrative of the never-ending conflict that suppresses the Palestinian people. While I might buy that for a second – because there is a suppression of people going on we cannot longer ignore, Fauda has absolutely zero to do with it. It’s directed by independent directors, it’s funded by independent cultural institutions and TV-networks, it employs both Jews and Arabs.

It portrays Israeli racism and dismay of the Palestinian Arabs as well as Israeli Arabs, while in the meantime it displays the general Palestinian Arab narrative of Israel which we all can agree is nothing beautiful. But it also displays scenes of love, relationships, drama and the life of the people depicted. It depicts the suffering of the Palestinians, Israeli interrogation methods, Israeli black-mailing and Israels lack of respect of international law in the Palestinian territories. And the penal system.

Fauda is nothing less than a very accurate fictional story about how those two extremes meets and the suffering of the persons caught in the cross-fire, be it by terror bombing or by torturing people. Be it by singing a song, having a barbeque or attending a wedding. Be it by telling that Hamas isn’t friends of ISIS, that the Palestinian Administration is not friends of Hamas or that love can occure in the most unexpected places. And finally be it by just extremely good acting performance from all of the actors in this super hit TV show.

While Lior Raz performance as Doron Kavilio in the first season could be a bit less boxy, it’s still brilliant. I mostly admire the depth of Shadi Mar’i as Walid al Abed, what a talent. After watching other movies and series with him acting, he really took the prize in acting as a brainwashed kid who desperately wanted to become someone prominent in the Palestinian resistance. A really big shout-out to Itzik Cohen as captain Ayoub/Gabi – I don’t know what it is about that him but his facial expressions when concerned, angry, happy, sad or when switching between his roles within his role is truely amazing.

Lior Raz starring as Doron Kavilio, falling in love with Laëtita Eido starring as Dr. Shirin El-Abed – the cousin of Walid El-Abed. (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, 2018).

Yes, I’m starstruck. I’ve longed for some high quality Israeli movie or TV-series making and now it’s happening. And it seems that the world is watching. Just as they did with the HBO mini-series “Our Boys”. A series that the far right-wing establishment of Israel condemned as anti-semitic, false and unfair even before watching more than two episodes. I think Our Boys is a brave step for Israeli film industry and a brave step towards showing what actually happened during these extremely sad days of 2014.

I don’t buy the arguments of criticism at all of neither series. Those who critisize Fauda definetely need’s better arguments than pinkwashing. Let’s compare it to any American war movie about Iraq or Afghanistan. How much consideration do they take into depicting the local people there? Zero.

Those who critisize Our Boys should take a good look at themselves first – what happened actually happened. There are countless testimonies, media material and interviews about it. Some might argue that it didn’t show enough or anything of the kidnapping of the Israeli boys. But the series is about Our Boys, our future and the struggle of an East-Jerusalemite father who seeks equal justice as his neighbours received.

At the end of the day most movie- or TV-making is culture. Just like music or litterature. My conclusion is therefore that the Israeli media industry has come a far way of doing hit series without hiding much. Perhaps they could display the suffering of house demolitions and administrative detention (which they already did in Our Boys). Perhaps some things could be better. Some things could be worse. But please keep going, and please keep it as exciting and nail-biting as ever. The argument that Fauda exploits the people of Gaza can in my honest opinion watch the movie American Sniper and see how it depicts the so-called bad guys.

Oh, before I quit. There is a German mini-series of three episodes called Unsere Mutter, Unsere Väter. Watch it. 

About the Author
Jonas is a fierce critiqeuer of everything unjust. He is well-educated, well-travelled and believes firmly in pragmatism and progressiveness rather than religion and outdated conservatism. He dares to challenge anyone or anything and is super-tired of racial slurs and internet trolls. Jonas loves travelling, languages, cultures and wine. Also Whisky. His favorite destination can be a Berlin club or the Italian district of Vaipolicella. He labels himself as liberal and if not agnostic, then atheist.
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