Using stock footage of American religious fundamentalists and political interviews against original interview footage with experts on international relations, The Great Challenge: Israel documents the role of the Israeli lobbies and their relationship with the US Congress.
The film provides background on the relationship between major religions including Christianity, Protestantism and Judaism and their complicated intertwining histories before introducing viewers to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the leading Israel lobby advocating for pro-Israel policies to Congress and one of the strongest foreign lobbies in general. Interview subjects imply that AIPAC and other pro-Israel forces use their influence to persuade the United States of their intertwined interests in order to bankroll their conflicts with other Middle Eastern countries such as Palestine and Iran.
In one stock interview AIPAC is referred to as not only the most powerful foreign lobby, but the “most corrupting” for their financial influence on American politics, and another interviewee describes an incident dating back to Harry Truman’s presidential campaign, in which he was bribed to recognize Israel as a state in order to win the election.
The film argues that many of these wars are “not America’s wars” and an ex-CIA agent places blame on the leaders of the Jewish-American community for influencing and corrupting US Congress by dragging Americans into foreign wars that we should not be involved in. One interviewee refers to Israel as America’s “bulldog in the Middle East”, with pre-recorded audio of Senator Chuck Hagel illustrating the attitude from the pro-Israel lobby that American politicians are expected to fully support the interests of Israel at all times.
Despite the typical pro-Israel support from the States, conflict arises when President Obama declines to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who it is suggested hates Obama, preferring to interact with Republican politicians. Political activist Juliette Scarnani explains that while the Western world celebrates freedom of speech, there is no such thing when it comes to Israel, citing an incident in which she dared discuss Palestine’s freedom and in turn had four Jewish radicals arrive at her home in riot gear.
In a pre-recorded interview with author Scott Ritter it is explained how Hezbollah and Lebanon are legitimate concerns for Israel, but should not be considered American problems as it was Israel that invaded Lebanon; and yet the expectation is for America to defend Israel regardless of Hezbollah not being a threat to the US itself.
The film continues to question whether Zionism is a propagator of racism with geopolitical author Mario Moncada likening the Zionist treatment of Palestinians to the very discriminations Jews faced from the Nazis, and leaves the audience questioning America’s role as an ally of Israel.