Skip to comments.Spielberg is no friend of Israel
Posted on 12/11/2005 12:41:55 PM PST by avile
It remains to be seen, literally, if Steven Spielberg has switched sides, from kosher ("Schindler's List"), to treyf. His movie, "Munich," will be opening in a few days and early word has it that he has indeed gone "Hollywood." This means that he's joined the trend to the Left, and that's the way to go if you want to do lunch in that town again.
If advance screenings prove accurate (the movie is set to open December 23), Spielberg has used the Olympic Massacre of 1972 to send a message that brings to mind the words of MGM tycoon Louis B. Mayer: "Movies are for entertainment. If you want to send a message, send a telegram."
E.T. Director Speaks Out
Spielberg: Israel entitled to strong response / Yitzhak Benhorin
Influential movie director tells Time Magazine ahead of release of upcoming movie about Munich Olympic massacre he is always in favor of Israel responding strongly when its threatened. However, a response to a response doesnt really solve anything Full Story
Regardless, Spielberg's message is that the bad guys who murdered 11 Israelis are not all that bad, and that the Israeli secret services that pursued the killers, the good guys, are not all that good. They're troubled by second thoughts. There isn't much difference, according to Spielberg's telegram, between killers and avengers.
Observers of our culture may conclude that Spielberg has bought an even bigger script than the one at hand, featuring moral equivalency as a sub-title.
No doubt Spielberg is serious, and that's the problem. People aren't buying popcorn as much as they used to and altogether box office numbers are down. People want to laugh, or cry. They don't want to be sold. I know this from experience. I still get questions about "Indecent Proposal." Why did I let Hollywood make those changes?
Well, when you sell a novel to Hollywood it's gone with the wind. Hemingway suggested that we (writers) throw our novels over the Hollywood border, grab the money and run. That's more or less what I did.
The interior voice of my novel - "what would you do for a million dollars would you sell your wife for a night?" - was the Arab-Israeli conflict, mostly on the side of Israel. For Paramount Pictures, that was too much of a message, so they made changes, and guess what, I agree.
What about Exodus?
Or rather, I agreed then, not so much now. For some time I've asked this question - would Leon Uris get "Exodus" to the screen in this climate? I keep coming up with the same answer. No! Things have changed and not only for movies but for books as well. Again, personal experience, as with my latest, "The Bathsheba Deadline," that's running as a serial on Amazon.com. Lucky for me that Amazon.com came along, the largest of them all put together.
But not so fast. The novel was turned down by a dozen New York publishers for being too pro USA and much too Jewish, too pro-Israel. One top publisher said it plainly, or half plainly: "I really got caught up in your novel; enjoyed it very much; powerful stuff. But I will not make an offer, and I think you know why."
Yes, I knew why and I know why.
Don't look at me. A thousand other writers of my persuasion have had similar brush-offs from New York and Hollywood. Tom Clancy writes a novel that features Arabs as the bad guys, but Hollywood, for reasons of sensitivity or box office, conveniently changes these villains to neo-Nazis. "The Sum of all Fears" may well have been titled "The Fear of all Sums."
French-Israeli filmmaker Pierre Rehov travels deep into jihad territory, exposes the universe that indulges and glorifies terrorism, and he's been getting some attention, but he is struggling to find a major distributor for his eye-opening documentaries.
Spielberg has no such problems, first because he's Spielberg, and second, in the case of "Munich," he's produced a baby that Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Redgrave and Oliver Stone could love - and these people can do lunch in Hollywood any time they want, and maybe that's what it's all about.
Telegrams should go back and forth
In Hollywood today, where David is Goliath and Goliath is David, you never want to be labeled a conservative or a fan of Israel. Hollywood is all about being trendy and Israel is not the trend. You won't get invited to the right parties and you won't win any Oscars if your heart bleeds for a nation that is always on the verge of being wiped off the map.
My problem? If Uris could not get "Exodus" funded in an atmosphere that still reeks of "Durban" (and where is the movie about all that, Steve?) then Spielberg should not be green-lighted for "Munich." Sure, Hollywood, go ahead, make your day. Show us their side of the story, but what about our side?
Where is the counterpoint? If you are trending toward political themes, yes, that is your right, but where is our Right, in which decidedly I mean the Right side of politics that has us walking with a target on our backs, meaning those of us who differ on moral equivalency and other trends?
Jews pioneered Hollywood. If, as our enemies say, we own Hollywood, well, here's the plot twist - we have lost Hollywood, and we have lost Spielberg. Spielberg is no friend of Israel. Spielberg is no friend of truth. His "Munich" may just as well have been scripted by George Galloway.
Yes, Hollywood, send a telegram, but, to communicate and to get the message fair and straight, telegrams should go back and forth.
Jack Engelhard is the author of the bestselling novel and movie "Indecent Proposal"
Saying what we already know is true:
Hollywood is far too open minded, tolerant and willing to look at every side to allow a conservative opinion in anything. Interesting how the people who live in the medium of freedom of speech deny it to everyone else.
Ping of interest
Spielberg has always been a leftist. But I hadn't known that he was also an apologist for Islamic terror. Bad news.
In Hollywood today, where David is Goliath and Goliath is David, you never want to be labeled a conservative or a fan of Israel. Hollywood is all about being trendy and Israel is not the trend.
Sad but true. On the other hand, the reverse side of the coin is the fact that those "stars" will have to pander to us. If we can't be bothered to pay to watch their movies, those lunches will be very frugal indeed.
He supported the war in Iraq.
I'm afraid I'm going to tend to disagree here (please don't flame me, everyone). We don't know for sure until the movie comes out, but I think it will take a serious look at terrorism and its causes, getting into the mindset without actually supporting it or being anti-Israel. But we'll see.
Someone needs to explain to me the adoration of Schindler's List.
And how making that movie ever made Spielberg "Kosher".
I wish people would go see the damned movie before deciding that they have a problem with it. This guy is relying on second-hand info, and that's a pretty dumb way to form an opinion about something as subjective as a movie.
If Jack Englehard is just figuring this out, the Hollywood is no friend of Israel, and neither is Spielberg, then I feel sorry for the guy.
A lot of Jews seem to believe that following either the social or religious aspects of their faith means laying your head upon the block for the barbarians to cut off. I dunno where this death-wish comes from. Can you see Moses worrying about Pharaoh's inner angst?
And... I dunno if Spielberg, who is uncommonly talented even measured against other talented artists, has pulled this off against usual experience... but movies about the inner angst and moral waffling of combatants usually are soporific. Cf. inter alia Oliver Stone's "Alexander the Gay," or the dreadful "The Thin Red Line," neither of which is capable of holding a normal person's interest.
Criminal Number 18F
When it comes to Israel, many seem to confuse who started it and who will finish it.
Thats true. I am curious about it. You got it right. We dont know for fure until we see it.
Review by someone who has seen the movie
"Dont think for a minute that Im saying this is a political movie. Munich is doggedly apolitical. Instead Tony Kushners script tries something that for Michael Moore would probably be unimaginable: its fair. Neither side is exactly squeaky clean, and whether their deeds are evil or not, often even the worst killers are motivated by the same things we all are. When under attack, they try to protect their wives and children. A dying assassin stops to say goodbye to her cat, before collapsing in a gut wrenching pool of blood. Some try to escape, some turn and sacrifice themselves to save their brethren. Every death in this movie hurts, not just the deaths of the good guys, but the apparently bad ones as well."
If the death of the bad guys hurts the viewer then the good guys are in fact not good guys.
Next a movie on how the 9/11 terrorist really suffered when the planes hit the buildings.
I doubt he'd even be able to get it published.
I'd like to find out that Spielberg does not believe in moral equivalency in the Middel East, and in fact I hadn't really been expecting to hear that he did. Let's hope the article is incorrect.
Wait-and-see is not a bad idea. ;)
Given the interviews of the director, the scriptwriter and Spielberg that I have read in the last few days, It is pretty obvious what their thoughts are on the subject; IE; Pro-palestinian, and while not necessarily pro-terror, they seem to think it is excusable.
I'll not be attending the movie to give it a 'fair review' as I might have had those three not given interviews. I doubt that they have forsaken their private views for the sake of making an an honest movie, any more than Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman and Dana Milbank give up their personal leftist views to report just the facts.
First, the title of the article is "Spielberg is no friend of Israel." That is correct even before this film. What has Spielberg ever said or done to support Israel. He has basically kept his mouth shut including through the latest round of Palestinian terror known as the Second Intifadah.
Spielberg's efforts to support Jewish causes are mostly related to the Holocaust.
Also Spielberg did not interview any of the Mossad guys or their families to make this film. Some have already contradicted the film's claims that Mossad agents had "regrets" for their missions. Zvi Zamir, former Mossad spy head, expressed anger about not being consulted.
Here is Spielberg's pre-film release statement:
Viewing Israels response to Munich through the eyes of the men who were sent to avenge that tragedy adds a human dimension to a horrific episode that we usually think about only in political or military terms. By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic standoff we find ourselves in today.
Add to this the choice of the known anti-Zionist Kushner as script writer, the choice of Malta for filming, and a pre-viewing negative assessment becomes logical if not certain.
As to Spielberg is no friend of Israel, why would anyone presume he would.
Makes me wonder if the English Kings of ages past, who employed Jesters to entertain their dinner guests allowed the clowns to influence the serfs politically?
Hollywood, by all means entertain me, but where did you get the idea that your opinions matter one tiny iota to me? Hmmm?
Well, I won't see it.
This is he Hollywood Left's 'Bridge to Far'
American's who are neither Liberal or Conservative may have this vague impression that Hollywood is very liberal, but since their primary sources of information always dismiss the idea, it has not really sunk in fully.
The Hollywood left is so confident of their propaganda ability and the gullibility of "fly over country", that they think this movie will be no exception. The critics and the media establishment will rave about it.
Fortunately for us the American public wont be fooled. If you poll that 90% of the country which are not hard left/moveon.org types, you will find no one has any doubt that the terrorists who killed the athletes were unredeemably evil. You will find no one who thinks the Israelis were wrong for hunting them down and killing them, when it became apparent the Europeans were not going to punish anyone.
Also, Fortunately fore us the public does not need to see this movie for it to discredit Hollywood and the media in general. The buzz at the water cooler, the talk over Christmas dinner, the consensus of normal people will be:
Can you believe that Spielberg made a movie taking the side of those terrorists who killed those Olympic athletes.
Yes its crazy, and he is Jewish.
I wonder what his mother thinks.
I saw something about it on the Today show, they were talking about how wonderful it was. Hmm, what planet are they on.
But watching the sneak previews and all the coming attractions... the article is true. It is anti-Israeli because it suggests that Wrath of God was worse than what the Palestinians did. The Palestinians were motivated by Israeli oppression...the Israelis were just vengeful.
Sneak previews never do a movie justice. I can't for the life of me understand why Spielberg would make an anti-Israeli movie when he is such a staunch Jew. He has such a deep feelings about his Jewish heritage as well as personal feelings about the Nazis/holocaust that have a subtle theme in so many of his movies. And, as I mentioned earlier, he supported the war in Iraq. It just CAN'T be.
Maybe, theoretically, the previews were cut to LOOK like it would be pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli to appeal to left-wing movie people who will make decisions come Oscar season. Maybe Spielberg was not involved with the trailer cutting. The trailer I saw for it did not seem anti-Israeli to me.
Being a staunch Jew does not necessarily make one-Pro Israel. A walk down any university library stack would prove this truth.
It just CAN'T be.
I wish it weren't... What happened at Munich was a seminal event in my life.
I may be wrong... to suggest that Speilberg was not involved in some aspect of his movie is rather silly. This man controls it all...from script to ads for awards.
I agree with you. Until I've seen it, the entire movie for myself, will I then be able to make a judgment about what Spielberg's motives might have been.
I guess I just haven't seen enough. And I wasn't sure how much control the director has over the ad campaigns (not necessarily silly, it probably varies from movie to movie).
It is silly to think that Spielberg doesn't control every aspect of his movie. That's what power in Hollywood allows you to do.
Maybe he was too busy to worry about cutting the trailers. He's got another Indiana Jones, probably his next movie.
Still, I'm not questioning your judgement, but...
It is entirely possible that the pro-Palestinian viewpoint of the movie was only in your own interpretation of what you saw. In a good movie made by a good director, the interpretations can become so various that it is overwhelming to consider them all (I'm looking at you, Donnie Darko). Sometimes our own notions get in the way of what we see before us.
I don't know enough about the movie to say anything conclusively. I mean, is there a character saying "What we do is wrong...we are oppressing the poor Palestinians..."?
Go, spend your money and watch the movie... then let me know how you view it...
I've seen enough to know that no matter how much I wanted to see this picture, I will not...
This is going to be very different from the book.
Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team
with an introduction by Richard Ben Cramer
Simon & Schuster, 2005
The book that inspired the Steven Spielberg film Munich
Vengeance is a true story that reads like a novel. It is the account of five ordinary Israelis, selected to vanish into "the cold" of espionage secrecy -- their mission to hunt down and kill the PLO terrorists responsible for the massacre of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
This is the account of that secret mission, as related by the leader of the group -- the first Mossad agent to come out of "deep cover" and tell the story of a heroic endeavor that was shrouded in silence and speculation for years. He reveals the long and dangerous operation whose success was bought at a terrible cost to the idealistic volunteer agents themselves.
"Avner" was the leader of that team, handpicked by Golda Meir to avenge the monstrous crime of Munich. He and his young companions, cut off from any direct contact with Israel, set out systematically to find and kill the central figures of the PLO's Munich operation, tracking them down wherever they lived.
The mechanics, the horror, the day-by-day suspense of what they did surpass by far anything John le Carré or Robert Ludlum could imagine, as they themselves were tracked in turn (and some killed) by PLO assassins, changing identities constantly, moving from country to country, devoting their young lives to the brutal task of vengeance.
Vengeance is a profoundly human document, a real-life espionage classic that plunges the reader into the shadow world of terrorism and political murder. But it goes far beyond that, to explore firsthand the feelings of disgust and doubt that gradually came to torment each member of the Israeli team, and that in the end inexorably changed their view of the mission -- and themselves.
Vengeance opens a window onto a secret world, a book that at the same time inspires and horrifies. For its subject is an act of revenge that goes to the very heart of the ancient biblical questions of good and evil.
You're welcome. I just assumed that since Spielberg supports the WOT, he would support Israel. Oh, well. I guess one does not necessarily go with the other.
In a bygone epoch, traveling minstrels (forerunners of today's touring rock/rap/pop morons), traveling drama troupes and theatre folk were widely disdained as a subculture not to be emulated, admired, nor held up as models of proper social behaviour,values, or political ideas.
That is one area where our modern western society ought to consider "regressing" somewhat.
I wasn't questioning your judgement, just suggesting that your interpretation might be different from someone else's...or that your judgement may be a little blocked by some notion or another. And yes, I am considerably cute.
Here is more background on the book this movie is based on.
George Jonas, author of Vengeance, (1984), provided the primary source of information regarding "Avner's" unit discussed in depth in the second case study. Avner is a former Mossad officer, selected as the team leader of an independent assassination team deployed by senior Mossad operations officer Mike Harari. After operating for approximately two years in the field and conducting nine successful assassinations of PLO terrorists, Avner officially left the Mossad on bitter terms in 1974. After two years of stressful field operations, Avner felt emotionally drained and extremely disappointed with the Mossad leadership. The Mossad had agreed to deposit a generous salary monthly into a Swiss bank account for Avner and each team member; upon completion of the assignment they would then be able to collect their funds. Avner's personal account reflected approximately $100,000 dollars when the team disbanded. Avner advised Harari that he intended to resign, withdraw his money, and move to New York. Harari recommended that Avner simply take a vacation, but remain within the Mossad. He advised Avner that he would not be required to go directly back to the field and had the option of a desk assignment. This did not appeal to Avner, as he was already very disillusioned with the Mossad leadership. He felt that they demanded absolute loyalty but did not return that loyalty. Mr. Jonas reported that to coerce him to stay, the Mossad blocked Avner's access to the Swiss bank account and threatened his family. Avner countered the threats and was recontacted by Harari soon after in an attempt to reconcile their disagreement. The threats stopped, and Avner's money was still denied, but a resolution was eventually negotiated. Mr. Jonas commented that Avner "felt grievously betrayed at the end of the mission." 1 Avner was never led to believe that continued service in the Mossad was a condition for him to retrieve his promised salary. Money was not the original motivating factor for Avner for he had fully accepted the mission prior to the promise of the Swiss account. Avner had more contacts with the Mossad, however, the details of these encounters are not available.
In an attempt to start a new life, Avner teamed with Jonas to publish the accounts of the operations he conducted as chief of one of the most successfully orchestrated covert operations in history. Obviously, the name "Avner" is a pseudonym used to protect his true identity. Avner never identified Mike Harari by name for he utilized the pseudonym 'Ephraim' to identity his Mossad contact in his personal accounts as provided to Mr. Jonas. Harari was identified through later publications and the assumption that Ephraim was Harari was drawn through collateral research.
George Jonas is an accomplished author and currently produces movies and television shows for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto, Canada. Jonas explained the circumstances in which Avner came to his attention. At the conclusion of his mission and subsequent dispute with the Mossad, Avner contacted a British publishing company about his story. The publishing company in turn sought out the services of Jonas, well known and respected for his investigative journalistic skills, primarily in the law enforcement arena. Avner and Jonas discussed the possibilities of producing a book and the parameters of confidentiality. The two conducted a series of interviews regarding the details of Avner's mission to assassinate the top PLO terrorist leaders in Europe. Jonas related that Avner's recall of "small details" was remarkable. It was his ability to provide minute details inherent in the operations which enhanced Jonas' assessment of Avner's credibility. After discussing the events of the operations, Jonas traveled to the assassination sites to verify the accounts. Avner provided specifics of operational events which never appeared in news coverage of the assassinations. Only the few involved would have known the intricate operational tactics and movements described in depth by Avner. He produced detailed information regarding the movements and signals of the support teams, the makes and models of vehicles used, the descriptions of the assassination sites, weapons, the specially designed ammunition, the types of explosive devices, and their process of cultivating intelligence sources. 2
Jonas maintains his confidentiality pact with Avner regarding "Avner's" true identity. Open source published materials have speculated as to his true identify and his current location and occupation. The alleged Avner was contacted by this writer for his comments regarding the accounts in Jonas' book as well as his missions as a team leader with the Mossad. Avner related that the Mossad recently released an official statement confirming that the events published in Jonas' book, Vengeance, are, in fact, true. Contractual and confidentiality agreements prohibit him from making any further statements and or publicly confirming or denying "Avner's" true identity. Avner stated that the events in Jonas book are accurate and include all the detail he is willing, or contractually able, to provide. 3
No kidding? A Hollywood lib not liking Israel? I'm surprised, no really.
If you think my judgement is blocked...then you are questioning my judgement...but that doesn't matter to me.
I wanted to see this film. I couldn't wait until it came out. When I saw all the coming attractions, etc., I realized that this movie was not what I thought it was going to be... I think that are rights and wrongs in this world. That not every thing is gray. Not everything is morally equivilent.
Now, I was wrong about My Dog Skip... I could be wrong about this...
I'm not suggesting that the movie is anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian... I'm suggesting that the movie is anti-Israel because it brings into question whether Israel was right or not in Wrath of God.
At Munich, Black September had clear motivation to take the hostages. They did so because Israel has the land. Whether that is reason enough to commit murder... that's up to the beholder. To me... never. You can't justify it. Never can. And when you try (rhetorical you) you lose the argument.
On the other hand, denied the chance to help during the crisis... denied justice because the Germans pretty much just let the terrorists go after the botched rescue attemept... the Israelis seek justice. Not veagence... justice.
To suggest in the movie that both sides are morally equivilent to me is wrong. Bringing it forward to 9/11... to say that our response to terror is equal to flying planes into office buildings is wrong.
That's my gripe with the movie. That's what I believe the message of the movie is... That a response to terror is just as bad as the original act of terrorism in the first place.
That's why I won't see the movie... even though I have seen almost everything that Spielberg has done.
I meant no offense with the "cute" posts.
I will ping you. It's about the anti-war movement. I'm making theories about them.
I read your homepage... sounds like you have a lot of talent...
Anyway...have a nice evening!