Site Meter Yehudi Yerushalmi: From Schindler's List to Munich

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

From Schindler's List to Munich

Spielberg and Kushner Smear Israel
by Andrea Levin,

Executive Director, CAMERA December 19, 2005

Steven Spielberg and an army of well-paid consultants and spinmeisters are pulling out all the stops to promote Munich and fend off damaging criticism of the movie about the murder of Israeli Olympic athletes and the effort to track down the crime's masterminds. The campaign has even included courting family members of the slain men for endorsements to blunt a gathering storm of negative commentary from the likes of David Brooks in the New York Times, Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic and Andrea Peyser in the New York Post.

. . . dispossessing Palestinians, we soon learn, lies at the root.

. . . In Munich there are no Palestinians clamoring for the destruction of Israel

. . . In all of this one sees the biases of Tony Kushner, the radical playwright brought in by Spielberg to reshape the script. Kushner has repeatedly called the creation of Israel a "mistake,"blamed Israel for "the whole shameful history of the dreadful suffering of the Palestinian people,"and advocated policies to undermine the state.

. . . During the movie's production, numerous Israelis with knowledge of the actual events disputed Spielberg's central themes. But the Hollywood director, along with Kushner, ignored them and insisted on their own dark story.

. . . In fact, historical accounts of Israel's decision to target leaders of Black September, the group responsible for Munich, emphasize that the assault at the Olympics was part of a worsening series of terrorist attacks against Israel in 1972. Lod Airport had been struck twice in May with 32 killed. Only days after the September 5 Munich atrocity, an Israeli official was shot in Brussels, and two weeks later a letter bomb killed an Israeli in London.

None of this common sense about self-defense and the context in which the Olympic massacre and Israeli reaction occurred are part of Munich. Instead, Israel's action battling its adversaries is cast as aberrant, bloody and counterproductive. It is no different from the assault of the terrorists and ostensibly spawns far greater violence.

. . .Munich is not fictionalized fact, but a falsehood at its core

. . .Munich offends on other counts. A leitmotif linking Jews and money will make more than a few viewers wince

. . . In other coarse invocations of supposed Jewish banter and attitudes, a team member demands a comrade drop his pants to "see if he's circumcised" when the teammate doesn't understand the need for Jewish violence. An argument among the team has one Israeli shouting: "The only blood that matters to me is Jewish blood!"

. . . Indeed, it is stunning to watch Munich and realize that its director brought Schindler's List to the world. Where that was artistry drawn from truth, Munich is cinematic manipulation rooted in lies. . .

Evidently, exploring essential truths about Jews murdered 60 years ago by a regime that no longer exists and is widely reviled is one thing. Defending the truth about Jews who, over the last half century, have continued to be targeted for murder by Palestinians, Arab states, and in recent decades Iran, and whose stalkers have enjoyed the support of the U.N., scores of NGO's, and perhaps attendees of Hollywood dinner parties, is quite another.

Andrea Levin is Executive Director of CAMERA

No comments: