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Hollywood Mission: America the New Israel

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This article centres on the fact that American politicians tend to introduce America as “the New Israel.” By adherence to the religious beliefs, they identify themselves as the chosen nation. The substantial question is how the movies with so wide a range of popular viewers would reflect the new American religion. One of the ways to answer this question is to overview the movies that take up the parallel between America and Israel. If America is the new Israel, then an American film about Israel is probably a film that is (indirectly) about America as well. This article centres on two movies to go along with its proposal: the Technicolor The Ten Commandments (Demille, 1995) and the animated feature The Prince of Egypt (Chapman, 1998). The two movies compare America and Israel to pose the new American civil religion in the form of the old ones. Moreover, it bears on the historical importance of the equation between America and Israel. The movie — the modern media — has converted these themes to “Californication” values and effects. Hollywood mediates the new religion that, compared with the old religion, is quite individual and does not so much refer to the whole society.

Affiliations: 1: Department of American Studies, Birmingham University, UK


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