Issues pertaining to the Arab-Israeli conflict make headlines around the world on an almost daily basis, but American film producer Max Federman feels that there is a sore lack of positive stories about Israeli society in the media. He set about to change this, with a documentary called 'Working Together' that shines a light on Muslim Arabs who love their lives in Israel, delving into matters of employment and business opportunities, education, women's rights, security, health care, and freedom of religion and expression.
"This project is foremost about giving a voice to a narrative that is typically overlooked by the mass media," Federman tells The Jerusalem Post. "It's not about a political agenda or lofty ideals of peace; but rather about simply presenting the views of individuals who see the value of showing the world the day-to-day realities of coexistence in Israel."
"It's to give a point of view directly from an underrepresented people whose view is not shared with the world," he elaborates, adding that while people expect a US Jew to paint a positive picture of Israel, they don't expect it from an Israeli-Arab.
The trigger for the making of this film was Federman's experiences and observations of harassment of Jewish students for their support of Israel, on college campuses in the US. "The BDS and anti-Israel movement on college campuses are for many students, their first kind of view of any media from Israel other than what they've seen on the news," he notes. "A lot of people are seeing only the most extreme and divisive examples of what goes on over there."
He finds irony in boycotts by BDS activists of Israeli produce, saying "people working at these places that they're looking to boycott are the very people that this movement says they are trying to help." He adds that it is important to show who is really affected by these boycotts.
Federman launched a Kickstarter campaign
--of which eight days remain-- to raise funds for the project. He notes that it's important to him to fund the film through crowd-sourcing to avoid accusations of affiliation with any particular organization. "I'd rather have it funded by people who have been to Israel, who've seen the truth about this place, and want others to get a chance to see this for themselves." Federman hopes to release the movie in spring.