|Spielberg steps in it|
November 24th, 2005
Warning signs are already out and should be for the coming Steven Spielberg movie on the Israeli effort to hunt down those who participated in, or planned the Munich massacre in 1972. In an article in the LA Weekly about the movie, the clear spin is that it will be a great film: nuanced, balanced, thoughtful, and all the other good stuff. Friends of Israel will wonder of course how balanced a movie can be under the weight of the heavy hand of Tony Kushner, an anti-Israel playwright, who was Spielberg’s choice as screenwriter. . . Spielberg has not said much about the movie, but made one statement about it to a New York Times interviewer that is quoted in the LA Weekly article:
“Viewing Israel’s 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.”
So the slaughter of Israel’s Olympic athletes is a “tragedy” and Israel’s response to capture or kill those responsible is classified as a “horrific episode”, which over time raised “troubling doubts” among the Israelis involved. . What more do you need to know about the film?
This would be similar to describing 9/11 as a tragedy, and our response in Afghanisan as a horrific episode. It is a level of “thinking” that puts one on a par with Chris Matthews, who recently told a college audience that we need to stop hating our enemies, and just understand them better. Yes, we in he West can benefit from talking more to those who murder athletes, behead journalists, and blow up mosques and tall buildings. Our problem is that we are not talking enough to Zarqawi and Bin Laden, to get to understand them better. Sure, and FDR should have hit Japan hard with more understanding after Pearl Harbor.
Spielberg seems to believe that the Israeli Palestinian conflict is resolvable, if only the two sides talked a bit more with each other, and stopped fighting. Note the involvement of Dennis Ross as an advisor to Spielberg on the film. Ross knows from talking to both sides. It was his job. He did it between 1991 and 2001 almost nonstop. And all that talk eventually ended when Yassar Arafat decided enough talk, now let’s get on with a suicide bombing campaign.
For the heroes of Hollywood, living their sheltered existence in mansions on each coast, every conflict is resolvable, if only each side took the time to understand the “other” a bit more, and talked more and fought less. In the real world it is not so easy. But Hollywood is not the real world.
Richard Baehr 11 24 05