Skip to comments.Spielberg's Munich and me
Posted on 01/03/2006 3:59:45 PM PST by avile
Spielberg's Munich and me January 3rd, 2006
I had deep misgivings about seeing Spielbergs Munich. The tragedy was too close to my heart.
I was supposed to be with the 1972 Israeli Olympiads as a member of the Israeli womens basketball team. At the last minute, the International Olympic Committee decided against including a womens basketball event. (It did not become a regular event until the 1976 Olympics.)
I didnt go to Munich, but I spent years training with the athletes who did go. We developed a close camaraderie, as people do at training camps where tensions and hopes are high. I knew each one of them personally. They were my friends. I watched in horror as the massacre unfolded on TV. I, too, could have been slaughtered by the killers linked to Yasser Arafat.
Instead, I watched them slaughter my friends and saw how callously the world responded. The games went on even as my friends bodies were flown home draped not in medals but in burial shrouds.
I feared how Hollywood, even if it was Stephen Spielberg, would depict this tragedy but I finally went to see the film. Munich was worse than I had feared. It left me appalled and enraged. I felt violated. The film debased the memory of my friends. It exploited a horrifying atrocity. It slandered the brave Israeli volunteers who were ready to sacrifice their lives to seek justice and to risk orphaning their children in this dangerous but necessary assignment. Terrorists had to learn they could not murder Israelis abroad with impunity and that the perpetrators of this atrocity would not live to plot another one.
Americans, including Spielberg, have never had to live intimately with war and terrorism in a tiny country surrounded and outnumbered by intractable enemies. My Olympiad friends had. I had. I was born in Israel and have lived my whole life with Islamic terrorism. It began long before the so-called occupation, and has continued without cease. Its goal is to destroy Israel and expel or exterminate all Jews. Most young women like me did military service to defend our country in its never-ending war for survival. We accept this obligation with stoicism and without compromising our ethics or our humanity. That is what reality and our ideals demand of us.
But this film is not about reality or about presenting a truthful account of the aftermath of Munich. It is about Steven Spielberghis spin on history, his ego, and his arrogance in thinking that he has special wisdom and insights about how to bring peace. He may believe that the ends justify the means so he has license to twist the truth to promote peace. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Some in the mainstream liberal media are praising this movie lavishly and, unfortunately, many people with limited historical knowledge may accept readily Spielbergs twisted version of events and, worse, his political propagandizing (or morality).
Spielberg didnt search for the moral or factual truths. He didnt spend time in Israel or meet with both Jewish and Arab victims of Islamist terror. Instead, he used the fraudulent book Vengeance. Its author, George Jonas, was exposed years ago as having lied about his contacts with Israels Mossad. The books title, Vengeance, is inherently biased and pejorative. Israel did not go after the terrorists out of vengeance, but rather as part of its ongoing war against terrorism.
Spielbergs screenwriter, Tony Kushner, was no better an influence than Jonas. A political ultra leftist, Kushner co-authored the vehemently anti-Israel volume Wrestling with Zion, and is infamous for his comment that I wish modern Israel hadnt been born.
In addition, two of Spielbergs consultants for the movie were Bill Clinton and his obedient Middle-East negotiator, Dennis Rossboth of whom had their own agendas and both of whom failed to secure peace when they were in power. Spielbergs reliance on these sources for such an important film is ethically irresponsible. The bare-bones, non-technical term for Spielbergs spin is lying. Spielberg exploits the respect and betrays the trust of audiences who believe in him.
Spielberg plays fast and loose with history most clearly when he brazenly substitutes his own political voice for Golda Meirs documented statements. On September 12, 1972, she told the Knesset:
We have no choice but to strike at the terrorist organizations wherever we can reach them. That is our obligationto ourselves and to peace. We shall fulfil that obligation undauntedly.
Golda Meiers unwavering commitment and sense of duty are moral universes away from the equivocating words Spielberg puts in her mouth:
...every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate comprises with its own values.
Meir did not see counter-terrorism as a compromise of Jewish values but rather as submitting to those values. There is nothing in Judaism that requires Jews to turn the other cheek to murderers of our people. True, Meir did not want to send Israelis to risk their lives. Nor did she want Israelis to have to kill. It was she who said to Israels enemies,
We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children but we cannot forgive them for forcing our children to kill their children.
We Israelis do not celebrate when we kill our enemies though our enemies celebrate when they kill us. Instead, it is a grim duty imposed on us by relentless racism and hate. Meir knew this.
The manufactured quotation is sheer moral relativism and parrots the Lefts favorite theme that violence begets violence. It is also the key message of Spielbergs turgid movie. Munich also contains graphic violence, tasteless gratuitous sex scenes, and frequent profanity that numb the mind and serve no constructive purpose. A central theme is to make the audience believe that retributions against savage and barbaric slaughter do not deter terrorism. This concept is part of Leftist anti-war appeasement and a defeatist philosophy that blames victims of aggression.
But he offers no proof that this is true. The West made a major mistake in Munich when it appeased Hitler and failed to stop him before he became more powerful. We do not hear Spielberg argue for post-9/11 negotiations with Osama bin Laden. Spielberg, typical of so many progressive liberals, would like Israel to adopt his appeasement philosophy while he sits safely and comfortably thousands miles away in his Pacific Palisade mansion, far from danger.
Spielberg told Time magazine that Munich is a prayer for peace. But if he is truly seeking prayers for peace, he need look no further than the Jewish liturgy and the Hebrew Bible for both wisdom and balance. Americas Founding Fathers said: Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. There is also the truism: He Who is Compassionate to the Cruel Will Ultimately Become Cruel to the Compassionate.
I was particularly upset when Spielbergs Israeli agent said that he cares only about Jewish blood and not about Arab blood. Anti-Semites often put such a comment in the mouth of a Jewish character, which, by association, defames all Jews. This grossly misrepresents Israeli morality and values. Spielberg contradicts this image himself when he shows Avner, the leader of the Israeli hit-team, horrified that the innocent daughter of one the targets is present and he quickly acts to stop the attack until she is safely gone. This is just one example of the lack of coherence, morality, and clarity that pervades this movie.
The opening movie credits informs us that Munich was inspired by real events. One of the last scenes of the movie shows Avner making love to his wife as he envisions the spectre of dead Israeli athletes lying on a bloodstained Munich runway. This obscene perversion of the truth and decency could only have come from a sick mind that egregiously twists facts and has the chutzpah to promote his movie as inspired by real events.
In the last 45 minutes of the movie, Spielberg depicts Avner as haunted by paranoia and guilt. In truth, those who sought out and terminated the Palestinian terrorists were determined and resolute Israelis who proudly defended their country against those who had ruthlessly slaughtered innocent civilians.
To further his pacifist political message, Spielberg invents a scene where the Arab terrorist and the Israeli agent encounter each other by accident in a safe house in Greece. In this contrived scene, each side argues their own perspective as Spielberg attempts to insinuate a degree of moral equivalence on both sides. This does justice to neither side, nor to the truth. It serves only to misinform the public. The Middle East has a long and complex history, and movie-goers with little knowledge of that history will drift even further into Hollywood fantasy than they did when they sat through E.T.
The moral equivalence message is illustrated by a statement made by the Council of American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR), an anti-Israel organization which asserts moral equivalence between victims and terrorists. In a 12/26/05 FoxNews interview, CAIR spokesman, Ahmed Bedeir, had this to say:
The viewers who see this movie will find that both sides are seeking and fighting for the same thing and have the same desires which is a homeland. Ironically [they both have] similar motives and desires . The only difference between what these so-called Mossad-sponsored assassins and other terroriststhey both use a similar meansthey make bombs and they blow up people and they kill innocent civilians and, in the meantime, violence begets violence. The policy has not worked, and Im glad people like Steven Spielberg have produced a movie to raise questions about these certain policies of killing individuals, especially without due process [or] without providing the evidence and many of the assassins that were in this movie question the legitimacy of these targets.
Hussam Ayloush, Southern Californias executive director of CAIR praised the film saying,
This film moves the issue closer to a more neutral stance. It shows the Palestinians are not fighting Israel because they hate Jews or because they are intrinsically violent.
Sadly, the average movie-goer will never know where fact ends and fantasy takes over. As a result, many will no doubt come away confused about the moral issues involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict, seeing diminished difference between the barbarity of Arab terrorists and the justice meted out by the Israeli agents who pursued them.
Spielberg is a movie director and a great storyteller. But he is not a historian, a political scientist, or a statesman. If he wishes to meddle in high-stakes international politics, he should first remember that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Whatever good intentions Spielberg may have had, his docudrama serves only the dangerous Islamist propaganda machine and may even inflame Jew-hatred.
"Spielbergs screenwriter, Tony Kushner, was no better an influence than Jonas. A political ultra leftist, Kushner co-authored the vehemently anti-Israel volume Wrestling with Zion, and is infamous for his comment that I wish modern Israel hadnt been born. "
I wish Kushner had not been born. Maybe he'll get CMV encephalitis.
Sounds like Spielberg and the President of Iran have a lot in common.
It is poss. that Spielberg's only intention was to make money - nothing "good" about it.
I've heard it said that this movie is actually a criticism of the American response to 9/11, but the Spielberg didn't have the guts to make such a movie.
I expected that this movie might be Hollywierd propoganda.
This has confirmed my fears.
I won't be going to see this movie.
If I eventually decide to watch it, I get it from the local library so I don't show support for the movie.
"The rest of the Jews are in there, Commissar!"
"Yu vill receive a medal for zis, Stephen."
This is true and it is worth repeating.
But this film is not about reality or about presenting a truthful account of the aftermath of Munich. It is about Steven Spielberghis spin on history, his ego, and his arrogance in thinking that he has special wisdom and insights about how to bring peace.
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
People'd call, say, "Beware doll, you're bound to fall"
You thought they were all kiddin' you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin' out
Your latest Jew movie sucks Steve. You call yourself a Jew but you've done stupid by the Jewish people. WTF were you thinking when you hired that fegala Israel hater to be your screenwriter? You jumped the shark Stevie. You've gone senile. You are too pleased with yourself
I can only guess that Spielberg went with Kushner because he gets praised at cocktail parties for hiring him. Kush has edited anti Israel anthologies ... is the last person I would have writing a screenplay that does right by the Jewish people. Is the last person I would have writing the screenplay for a movie that tells the truth about Islamic terrorism. Since what went down at Munich is instructive for today's anti terror efforts
"Munich" could have been a timely movie. Instead it's sappy. It's grossly inaccurate, weak and cowardly. I don't need to pay to see Spielberg's movie to hear that tired old "cycle of violence" mantra
I'll see it on TV. I'm not paying one thin dime to see it
Kushner is also a gay activist. A gay, self-hating Jew, terror apologist. Spielberg knows how to pick 'em.
The question is why? What was Spielberg thinking when he hired Kush? Has he gone senile? My answer is Spielberg is too satisfied with himself, has too many sycophants working for him, giving advice.
I think you're 100% right on this. Apparently someone like Spielberg gets told so many times that he's wonderful, he's great, he's so smart, that he doesn't even realize he's totally insulated from reality.
A lot of these Hollywood types think they have special insights, judging from the way they tend to grace the rest of us with their opinions.
Why on earth should I be interested in the opinion of someone who plays dress-up and make-believe for a living??
It sure did; it's now up to about $16M after 11 days in release. With a $70M production budget and maybe another $30M or so in marketing expenses, and the studio getting about 55% of the overall box office, it doesn't look good financially.
But I don't think that was unexpected. This is like Brokeback Mountain; these are Hollyweird liberals displaying and refreshing their leftist credentials to their fellows. Like BBM, it gets critical praise, and will be seen as a plus for the resumes of all concerned, in spite of the red ink.
In other news, Narnia crosses the $225M threshold after 25 days in release ...
An excellent movie on the Israeli response to the Munich massacre. Worthy of your movie dollars.
Thanks for posting the chart. Fun reading.
Munich is bombing, and Brokeback mountain, while on more screens, is dropping. Narnia is number 1, and it looks like Syriana and Munich both won't make their money back.
I love charts...
I wont waste my time or money on that crap movie.
This is one of my biggest problems with leftists. Too often their opinions stem from a corrupting softness, a cynicism and moral equivocation that results from never loving life and liberty enough to fight to keep it.
I'm going to use my best judgement from everything I've read and not see the movie.
"[Munich,] Spielberg's not so subtle commentary about our post 9-11 world is the ultimate obscenity."
-- Jonathan Tobin - http://jewishworldreview.com/1205/tobin_2005_12_22.php3
I won't be watching it.
I maybe should get the credit for seeing the obvious first.
I've seen the sentiment now frequently that Munich may in fact be a movie whose aim is to criticize the Iraq War.
I don't know of any source that made that observation prior to mine, here:
<< I maybe should get the credit for seeing the obvious first ....
.... I don't know of any source that made that observation prior to mine, here:
Without a doubt the credit all belongs to you.
It amazes me how many deductions reached by us and first posted here, mine included, are quickly snapped up by the mainstream and become clichéd. And how many of our yesterday's ideas become tomorrow's cartoons.