Pallywood, a portmanteau of "Palestinian" and "Hollywood", is a coinage that has been used by a number of bloggers, news analysts, and pro-Israel media watchdog advocates to describe what they regard as "media manipulation, distortion and outright fraud by the Palestinians and other Arabs ... designed to win the public relations war against Israel." The incidents of the Muhammad al-Durrah tapes and the 2006 Lebanon War photographs controversies (dubbed "Hizbollywood" or "Hezbollywood")[1] have been cited as examples.[2]

The term has been publicized in part by Boston University professor Richard Landes, as a result of an online documentary video he produced called Pallywood: According to Palestinian Sources, alleging specific instances of media manipulation.[3]

Richard Landes' video

File:Pallywood cover.jpg

In 2005, Professor Richard Landes of Boston University produced an 18-minute online documentary video called Pallywood: According to Palestinian Sources.[5] Landes and other pro-Israel advocates argue that the Israeli government is insufficiently robust in countering Palestinian accounts of events in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.[2]

In his video, Landes shows Arab-Israeli conflict-related footage that was taken mostly by freelance Palestinian video journalists. He argues that systematic media manipulation (which he dubs "Pallywood") dates back to at least the 1982 Lebanon War, and argues that broadcasters are too uncritical of the veracity of Palestinian freelance footage.[6]

He focuses in particular on the case of Muhammad al-Durrah, a 12-year-old Palestinian who was widely reported to have been killed by Israeli gunfire in the Gaza Strip on September 30, 2000 at the beginning of the Second Intifada. The shooting was filmed by a Palestinian freelance cameraman and aired on the France 2 television channel with narration by the veteran French-Israeli journalist Charles Enderlin, who was not present at the incident. It made worldwide headlines and the conduct of the Israel Defence Forces was heavily criticized internationally, severely damaging Israel's public standing on the world stage.[2]

Landes questions the authenticity of the footage and disputes whether al-Durrah was killed at all, arguing that the entire incident was staged by the Palestinians.[7] He asserts that the incident shows that "Palestinian cameramen, especially when there are no Westerners around, engage in the systematic staging of action scenes."[5]

Wider use of the term

Journalist Ruthie Blum, writing in the Jerusalem Post, describes "Pallywood" as a term coined by Richard Landes to refer to "productions staged by the Palestinians, in front of (and often with cooperation from) Western camera crews, for the purpose of promoting anti-Israel propaganda by disguising it as news." Landes himself describes Pallywood as "a term I coined... to describe staged material disguised as news." Besides al-Durrah, Landes cites the Gaza beach blast and Hamas's alleged exploitation of electricity shortages during the 2007–2008 Israel-Gaza conflict, as incidents of Pallywood. According to Blum, Landes's "pretty harsh claims" have earned him a "reputation in certain circles as a right-wing conspiracy theorist." [8]

Dr. Anat Berko, a Research Fellow with the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, and Dr. Edna Erez, head of the Criminal Justice department of the University of Illinois at Chicago, assert that "the phenomenon of manufacturing documentation about the conflict has been referred to as "Pallywood" (Palestinian Authority Hollywood)."[9]

Similar allegations have been made by other media analysts, particularly after assertions of media manipulation (dubbed "Hizbollywood")[1] were made during the 2006 Lebanon War. [3][10][11][12][13] The Mackenzie Institute, a Canadian defense and security think tank,[14] has argued that given "a long history of posing for the cameras... the cynical 'Pallywood' nickname from once-deceived journalists for [Palestinian Authority] news services becomes understandable."[15]

The term has been applied beyond the Muhammad al-Durrah case in a number of publications,[16][17] and by conservative commentators such as David Frum,[18] Michelle Malkin[19] and Melanie Phillips.[20] Canadian columnist Paul Schneidereit has written, "[...] we've seen cases where the bodies of Palestinian martyrs carried on stretchers are inadvertently dropped, then, of their own volition, climb back on again. We’ve seen reports of massacres, as in Jenin in 2002, that turned out, after independent investigation, to have been greatly exaggerated. Needless to say, such episodes don’t instil an abiding trust in subsequent Palestinian claims, at least until they’re verified."[21]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 'Im Zweifel für den Zweifel,' Der Tagesspiegel 2006-08-09]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 'Caught in the Mohammad al-Dura crossfire, by Calev Ben-David, The Jerusalem Post, October 12, 2007:
    : But pro-Israel media-watchdog advocates have gone further, arguing that the footage is a prime example of what has been dubbed "Pallywood" - media manipulation, distortion and outright fraud by the Palestinians (and other Arabs, such as the Reuters photographer caught faking photos during the Second Lebanon War), designed to win the public relations war against Israel.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cambanis, Thanassis. "Some Shunning The Palestinian Hard Stance" The Boston Globe, September 6, 2005
  4. Landes, Richard. Pallywood, According to Palestinian Sources (Windows Media Video), (youtube mirror)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Carvajal, Doreen. "The mysteries and passions of an iconic video frame", International Herald Tribune, Monday, February 7, 2005.
  6. Landes, Richard. "Pallywood: History",
  7. "Al-Durah: What happened?",
  8. One on One: Framing the debate | Jerusalem Post
  9. Berko, Anat and Erez, Edna, "Martyrs of murderers? Victims or victimizers? The voices of would-be Palestinian female suicide bombers", in Cindy D. Ness (ed), Female Terrorism and Militancy: Agency, Utility, and Organization, p. 164. Routledge, 2008. ISBN 0415773474
  10. Zerbisias, Antonia. "And Now It's Reutersgate". Toronto Star, August 9, 2006.
  11. Gelernter, David. "When pictures lie", Jewish World Review, 2003.
  12. Photo of Palestinian Boy Kindles Debate in France, The New York Times, February 7, 2005.
  13. Frum, David. From Gaza, tragedy and propaganda. National Post, June 17, 2006.
  14. Michael Doxtater, "How the Mohawks look at history", Globe and Mail, 11 July 1991, A17; "Mail bombs spark public warning", Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 20 July 1995, A3; Geoff Baker, "Who's behind mail-bomb plot?", Toronto Star, 30 July 1995, A2; "Tamils protest paper's story", Toronto Star, 13 February 2000, p. 1; Rob Faulkner, "Institute offers anti-terrorism tip sheet", Hamilton Spectator, 10 August 2005, A6.
  15. Lies, Damned Lies and Footage, The Mackenzie Institute, Newsletter July, 06.
  16. FrontPage Magazine
  17. American Thinker: The Fog of Peace
  18. FrontPage Magazine
  19. Michelle Malkin » Questioning a NYTimes reporter; challenging CBS News & ASNE
  20. Official homepage
  21. Canadian journalist Paul Schneidereit writing in the Halifax, Nova Scotia, The Chronicle Herald, Nov 27, 2007

Further reading

External links

cs:Pallywood da:Pallywoodno:Pallywood

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