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Jonathan Glazer’s “dream” house in Gaza’s rubble?

As an Israeli real estate company proposes building "dream" beach houses in Gaza, DMovies' editor Victor Fraga draws an inevitable comparison to the residence of German SS Officer Rudolf Hoess portrayed in Jonathan Glazer's The Zone of Interest

There are times when reality is more unbelievable than cinema.

The image above might look like grotesque anti-Zionist propaganda. It’s not. It was posted on the Instagram of Israeli real estate company Harey Zahav. It advertises “dream” beach houses in Gaza. I repeat: this is a real image created by a real real estate firm. With the “dream” houses juxtaposed against the rubble. Exactly like that. According to @JewishVoiceForPeace, the advert says “A house on the beach is not a dream! We have begun clearing rubble and fending off squatters”.

The irony is that just two days ago I picked Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest as my movie of the year (you can see the full list by clicking here). In fact, The British-American-Polish co-production is amongst the top 10 films of my life. The Zone of Interest depicts how German SS Officer Rudolf Hoess and his wife Hedwig (played to disturbing perfection by Sandra Hueller) banalised horror by inhabiting what Hedwig emphatically describes as her “dream” house directly next to Auschwitz (pictured below). They live their lives as a normal loving family just as millions are tortured and burned within a stone’s throw.

For a long time I avoided using the inverted Holocaust argument (comparing Israel to Nazis). But now the horror is just so shocking, and the similarities just so great, that the comparison comes out naturally. Gaza is the concentration camp. And the illegal settlers are the Hoesses. It is no coincidence that both the Israeli advert and the characters in Jonathan Glazer’s film describe the grotesque residence as “a dream house”.

The real estate company has since dismissed the post as a “joke”. This naturally begs the question: what sick mind could come up with a “joke” such as this? According to @JewishVoiceForPeace, the firm Harey Zahav has a history of building illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. This would be sickening enough as a joke. Sadly, this reeks of sick reality.

This is the utter and devastating evidence of our failure as human beings to learn from the mistakes of the past, and also of our to ability to inflict suffering upon others without hesitation and despite having recently been in the shoes of the oppressed. This is a tragedy on many levels: political, social, human and moral.

By Victor Fraga - 21-12-2023

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

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