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Middle East scholar Joel Gilbert outlines the history of Islam and its interactions with the West and with other religions in a detailed study of the conflict between Islam and others. He deconstructs the conflicts past and present, and puts forward the proposition that the lack of understanding of Islam (and the misunderstandings of Islamic revolt) by the rest of the world is edging us closer and closer to a terrible war - perhaps before the end of 2008 - led by Iran attacking Israel. Islam will never accept a Jewish state and peace means different things to Muslims and non-Muslims.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This film was brought to my attention via an email from an energetic publicist intent on gaining as much exposure for his client's work as possible. It is not being distributed through normal commercial channels, but by the filmmaker himself. I wonder why this is, considering the film deals in great depth and with surprising clarity about the most important socio-political topic in the world today. One reason might be that despite its engaging editorial content, the film's production is not as impressive in terms of the use of graphics, archival footage and other visual aids. Perhaps due to budget limitations, some illustrations are re-used and the historical material is simplistic. On the other hand, the music by Highway 61 Revisited (Wayne Peet, Scarlet Rivera and Bruce Langhorne) is excellent. (In another life, Joel Gilbert has made three films about Bob Dylan's career.)

Cinematic qualities aside, the film packs quite a punch in its exhaustive yet impressively concise overview of Islam and its place in the world - today and yesterday.

The subject is not only topical but for all the media coverage that radical Islam attracts, it shows up just how shallow that coverage has been and continues to be. Gilbert knocks over the wall of ignorance about Islam with an orderly and detailed examination of the birth and evolution of Islam. This is far more fascinating and valuable than a hundred thundering editorials about terrorists. By providing this window into the religious and cultural traditions, we are better able to understand Islam. This is surely the first step in managing the conflict that exists between Muslims and non-Muslims.

The downside of all this understanding, however, is a profound sense of dismay at the irreconcilability of the differences between the two worlds. Instructive and dense with valuable information that comes from Gilbert's extensive studies, Farewell Israel is essential viewing for world leaders, politicians, extremists, Christians, Jews and anyone with an interest in the state of mankind.

Published January 10, 2008

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(US, 2007)

CAST: Documentary

NARRATION: Lance Lewman

PRODUCER: Joel Gilbert

DIRECTOR: Joel Gilbert

SCRIPT: Joel Gilbert

MUSIC: Highway 61 Revisited (Wayne Peet, Scarlet Rivera and Bruce Langhorne)

RUNNING TIME: 145 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Highway 61 Entertainment www.farewellisrael.com (All-region DVD sold online: US$14.95 + US$8 shipping outside US)

DVD RELEASE: November 2007

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