Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Pierre Rehov, a French journalist, novelist and filmmaker. Visit his new site at ForbiddenTerritories.com.
FP: Pierre Rehov, welcome back to Frontpage Interview.
Tell us about your new venture, “Forbidden Territories.”
Rehov: Thank you Jamie, great to be back.
Like every person concerned about the situation in the Middle East, I begin my days by surfing the net, trying to get the latest news. I jump from the Jerusalem Post to Haaretz, from Memri.org to PMW, from Frontpage Magazine to Jihad Watch, then I read a few blogs, I watch the news, and perhaps read one or two newspapers. When I am finished, I realize that I want to forward my favorite articles or news to some of my friends, and finally I send a few emails. Only then do I begin my day of work.
Lately, I realized that I was missing a site where all these things could be done at once. That’s how I came up with the idea of ForbiddenTerritories.com.
FP: Ok so what is it exactly?
Rehov: Forbidden Territories is a social network, allowing anyone to upload and share news, videos, information, points of view, as long as they are not anti-Israel.
Since Facebook appears to be sometimes so “neutral” in the wrong way – for instance, it took them almost three months to ban the 3rd intifada page, and they served as a good media to promote “a boat for Gaza” – I wanted to create a new space of communication (and freedom) where we could all interconnect and share the latest news.
“Forbidden Territories” is a tool allowing anyone who wants to communicate in favor of Israel. Within just a few days, Forbidden Territories received about 500 registrations (plus 300 for the French version). Each new member has invited at least 2 of his friends.
Also, and this is more personal, I have been filming for almost ten years in the Middle East. In addition to my films, I own hundreds of hours of dailies that no one has ever seen. Such as a Palestinian, in Kariout (below Eli, in Samaria) trying to make me believe that his house had been destroyed by the IDF, and showing me the rubbles – which happen to be material for his never built house. Forbidden Territories will allow me to put them online.
This network doesn’t aim to replace any existing site or blog, but to make the connection between those easier and more entertaining. Of course, as any project, this one will evolve. But in the right direction. Viral networks spread to neutral people. And “the ones who don’t know” are my ultimate target. I have been educating them with my films for many years. Now, I am trying to educate them even more. We cannot lose the battle against Muslim propaganda. Although they have all the money in the world, while we only have the truth on our side. Sometimes, it is not enough.
FP: Why did you choose the name “Forbidden Territories”?
Rehov: I used to go a lot to the so-called Palestinian Territories. Israel uses a legal term to call them: “Disputed Territories.” Arab propaganda calls them “Occupied Territories.” And the main reason why most media are so biased – beside personal anti-Semitic feelings or extreme leftwing ideas – is because they are to them “Forbidden Territories.” I have very often described how it works, from my personal experience. Israel is a democracy, with freedom of speech. Journalists can say whatever they want, and almost go anywhere, as long as it doesn’t threaten national security. But they have no guarantee for their security when they work in the Palestinian Territories. There, they suffer the same kind of pressures as, let’s say, in North Korea. Most journalists, actually, don’t even go there. They hire a Palestinian crew, and stay at the American Colony, a hotel in East Jerusalem, waiting for whatever news their “neutral” Palestinians would bring back. That’s the kind of stories that we end up watching on television or read in the New York Times. So I thought that “Forbidden Territories” was an accurate name for my social network.
FP: Did you yourself have this kind of experience you describe above?
Rehov: Very often. In order to work in the Forbidden Territories, you must hire a “fixer.” Of course, all fixers work for the PLO or the Hamas. They receive orders. And the whole propaganda is very well organized, thanks to Arafat who was a master in communication, trained, if you remember, by the KGB. I remember once having been offered a scoop, the death of a kid killed by Israel, which could be organized for 10,000 U.S. dollars.
FP: So how can people join the site?
Rehov: Everyone can register. Once you are a member, you can upload an article, open your own blog, read everybody else’s blogs, comments, as long as you respect copyright laws. There you can also get in real time the latest main lines from Homeland Security, Frontpage Magazine, Memri.org, etc. I uploaded some of my clips, including a couple of scoops. It is 100% free.
FP: Are you concerned that anti-Israel surfers may invade or spam Forbidden Territories ?
Rehov: Concerned? No. Careful? Yes. I can ban anyone at anytime. A lot of members have already offer to help me manage the site for free. At a certain point, I am sure that I will need a few of them.
FP: What is your overall objective with this?
Rehov: As a film-maker, I always stick to the facts. Dates and numbers never lie. History can be rewritten depending on each individual’s point of views. But there are essential facts which cannot be changed. Such as: in Jenin, 53 Arabs died, and 23 Israeli soldiers died. By definition, this is not a massacre. The whole Arab propaganda is so well organized that even someone like Judge Goldstone was deceived. I did not respect what he did at first, but he was at least brave enough to admit his deception later. I will make sure that Forbidden Territories doesn’t become just another pro-Israel propaganda tool. Too many exist which are not so well made, and not taken seriously. With this site, I open a new space to everyone, and they are welcome as long as they don’t fill it up with slogans and national hymns.
I wish for Forbidden Territories to become viral. I want to create a community of hundreds of thousands. To give us a voice. Again, I am not trying to replace any existing organization or site. I would like to open a door to allow our members to jump more easily from one addictive site to another. I am just trying to help.
FP: Pierre Rehov, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. We encourage our readers to visit ForbiddenTerritories.com.
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