Published on Dec 11, 2012
Produced by Write On For Israel/San Francisco teen participants
As Bay Area high school students, we encounter people who hold many preconceived notions of Israel. Some of our teachers openly condemn Israel for being an apartheid state and engaging in other monstrosities; fellow students speak of Israelis as murderers; and many peers refuse even to acknowledge Israel’s legitimacy as a state.
Therefore, my WOFI team chose to make our documentary about Israel’s public image and about how it is being demonized by falsified media in “Pallywood,” a widespread effort to present the Palestinians as hapless victims of Israeli aggression. While filming, we met people who gave us a great deal of insight into the topic and opened our minds to the dangers.
Today, most people trust the media to always tell the truth, even when it lies. Anti-Israel forces use the international media as a powerful channel to spread disinformation. By exposing the lies of Pallywood we want to put a spotlight on their malicious efforts. Our goal is to reveal the damage that’s been done to Israel’s image by Pallywood and show Israel in a brighter light—because we feel that we must do our part to protect the only real democracy in the Middle East.
Disillusioned Obama Supporter In Romney Ad Is Actually GOP Staffer
Republicans debuted a new ad Thursday in which a frustrated former Obama supporter expresses her disappointment with the president.
The only problem: The woman in the video is actually an RNC staffer.
Xavier Alvarez will soon have something to brag about, assuming anyone believes him. On Wednesday, he will join the small number of citizens who have appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has secured this distinction, however, not by what he achieved in his life but what he falsely claimed to have achieved.
Alvarez, you see, is a liar. Upon that much, everyone agrees. What has perplexed judges is whether his lies are protected by the First Amendment.
In the annals of deceit, Alvarez is something of a standout. After his election to a water board in California, he introduced himself at a public meeting as “a retired Marine of 25 years,” a repeatedly wounded warrior and a Medal of Honor recipient. He also told people that he was once a professional hockey player with the Detroit Red Wings and was secretly married to a Mexican starlet. A few people thought it curious that a former hockey star and war hero ended up on the Three Valleys Municipal Water District board in Claremont, Calif., so far from his starlet wife. It seemed like virtually everything he said about himself after “I am Xavier Alvarez” wasn’t true. He was found out, publicly ridiculed and hounded out of office.
Normally, that would be the end of it. However, for local prosecutors, it was not enough to expose Alvarez as a fraud — they decided to make him one of the first people prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005. Signed into law by President George W. Bush, the act makes it a crime to falsely claim “to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States.” Across the country, a number of rather pathetic individuals are being prosecuted for parading around in uniforms and pretending to be heroes.
The problem with the law they may have broken is not just that it is unnecessary, but that it can be dangerous to criminalize lies. After all, with the power to punish a lie comes the power to define the truth — a risky occupation for any government.
After Alvarez was convicted, he challenged the constitutionality of the law, claiming that it violated his First Amendment rights. The federal court of appeals in San Francisco ruled in his favor in two separate opinions. Now the case will go to the Supreme Court, where the Obama administration will argue that the First Amendment does not protect lies as it does true statements.
Under this logic, Congress would be able to criminalize statements solely because they are lies, alleging some type of amorphous social harm. The government would become the truth police, determining when fibs become felonies.