Spielberg's Munich and Me - Part II

The Middle East has a long and complex history, and moviegoers with little knowledge of that history will drift even further into Hollywood fantasy than they did when they sat through E.T.

Rachel Neuwirth,

Rachel Neuwirth
Rachel Neuwirth
[Part one of this article can be read at http://www.israelnationalnews.com/article.php3?id=5908.]

I was particularly upset when Steven Spielberg's Israeli agent in the movie Munich 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 specter 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 encounter 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 moviegoers with little knowledge of that history will drift even further into Hollywood fantasy than they did when they sat through E.T.

Spielberg's terrorist character, Ali, said: "You are a Jew sympathizer! All you Germans... you are too soft on Israel. Sure, you give money because you feel guilty about Hitler and the Jews exploit that thing. My father didn't gas any Jews." Spielberg's failure is in not having Avner provide a proper response. Avner should have said:

This land was Jewish 3,000 years ago, from the time of Moses and king David. That was 1,600 years before the Arabs invaded and stole the land from the Jews. Regarding Holocaust "exploitation" by Jews, it should be remembered that the Arab Mufti, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was a guest of Hitler in Berlin during World War II where he urged Hitler to exterminate all Jews. More recently, Hitler's Mein Kampf in Arabic, has become a best seller in Arab countries. Some Arabs, including Mahmoud Abbas, denied that the Holocaust ever happened.

Moral equivalence and a distorted message is illustrated by a statement made by the Council of American-Islamic Relations, (CAIR), an anti-Israel organization that asserts moral equivalence between victims and terrorists. In a December 26, 2005, 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 terrorists - they both use a similar means - they 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 I'm 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 California's 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 moviegoer 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 "docu-drama" serves only the dangerous Islamist propaganda machine and may even inflame Jew-hatred.

[Part 2 of 2; First published in The American Thinker.]