Co-director Richard Symons reflects on the second Price of Kings screening of our film on the life of Israeli President Shimon Peres at The Jerusalem Film Festival 2012:
A ragged night's sleep. Wanted to get my thoughts down whilst the shock's still in place. Not from the Peres screening or Q&A but from the dinner conversation afterwards.
The Q&A saw a passionately divided audience, some objecting to critics who queried Peres's motivation as President in an extraordinary manner - dismissive and dogmatic to the point of deliberate rudeness as opposed to engaging in debate . Others apologised for the former's behaviour - saying they were ashamed.
Dinner afterwards was with Ruth Dayan (ex-wife of General Moshe Dayan) and friends, one of whose son had been on a peace rally in Tel Aviv where he was arrested, beaten up and subsequently had to chose between prosecuting/making a stink over it or accepting the police denial.
This was a mother from a diplomatic family, with connections extending not only into politicians but also some of the most influential and powerful in the Jewish diaspora - all of whom wanted her to speak out. Her son, a 28 year old Harvard graduate with political ambitions also wanted to go the route of prosecution/making a stink. It was clear the parents believed the son's version of events and that whoever had laid into him in the back of a Police van, with his hands tied, had seriously over-stepped the mark.
I tried to imagine my own parents' reaction.
Never politically conscious growing up I'd still managed to "engage" with the UK police on more than one occasion with… let's call it youthful exuberance - the last, aged 27, led to an undeserved overnight stay in the cells. Nothing as severe as being beaten up but two weeks later the head of the South Thames Valley Police was personally apologising over tea.
Somewhere along the line, the Harvard graduate's mother, with all her connections, despite her son's arguments, decided not to go after the Police responsible. Unimaginable. Somehow her family had taken the beating as acceptable. The best she could offer in hindsight more was a rueful, "perhaps we should have done something".
Any country's judiciary is it's last line of defence against an over-zealous bureaucracy/government. But it's useless without the public dragging civil servants in front of it. Doubly so when the bureaucracy believe they won't be brought to account.
Impossible to know how representative this is but it was pretty much dwarfed by the elephant in the room - if a well-connected Israeli mother had felt "defeated" (her own words) when balancing the rule of law against her son taking an illegal beating for exercising his right to free speech, where does that leave Palestinian mothers?