If ever there was a troubled subject that could be opened up by Louis Theroux’s brilliant brand of Gonzo journalism, then it is the acrimonious dispute between Jewish settlers and the Palestinian people of the West Bank.
Obviously acrimonious doesn’t quite cover it, but there’s enough web space devoted to that subject to stop a squadron of Israeli tanks. Louis’ disarming style of reporting might be cleverly confrontational, but as always his goal is to get to the real stories behind all the religious fanaticism – and he’s good at it.
Anyone who has any interest in the incendiary subject matter will be prepared for the spoutings of the Ultra-Zionists mentioned in the title. Some of them are rather sombre, but you can tell that even the most reasonable among them (or those conscious enough to understand the power of a television camera) are quietly steeled by a cold and unshakable determination that God has chosen their people.
Of course others work themselves into a frenzy as they talk to Theroux and they seem all the more crazier standing next to Louis as he works his trademark affability to great effect. As questioning methods go, it’s pretty impressive. Not quite as impressive as the arm on some of the Palestinian kids though, one lad picks out Israeli soldiers with ease from at least 50 metres…
As the programme progresses, there are a couple of themes that keep coming up. First of all, there are a staggering amount of American accents to be heard amongst the Zionists that Louis encounters, from both the residents and tourists alike.
The intertwining of Jewish and American culture is famous (just ask Mel Gibson’s local bartender) but we see groups of American tourists arriving in trouble hotspots by the bus-load. The pilgrims claim their presence is ideological and not political.
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