Jack Engelhard
Jack EngelhardCourtesy

You have to wonder if Benjamin Netanyahu ever watched the revered classic movie, “High Noon.” If so, how many times? If not, why not?

It suits him perfectly.

As cited, the movie was a hit for Dwight Eisenhower. Ronald Reagan named it his favorite film. Bill Clinton screened it 17 times in the White House.

What was the attraction?

The movie is about one thing…the loneliness of a man who sticks to his convictions even as the rest of the world stands against him.

(Shades of Biblical Abraham, and indeed, all the makers of the film were Jewish, writer, producer, director.)

Friends, colleagues, neighbors, none can be counted on during his time of need. He can’t go on, but he must go on, and he does go on.

That is the thread of the film and it is the sum of Netanyahu at this moment of his leadership.

Every which way he turns, he finds resistance, upon the pretext of his judicial reform initiative…a bill which is only days away from a decisive vote in the Knesset.

High Noon, indeed.

He believes firmly in his cause and even while being snubbed and battered, he moves forward resolutely.

Agree with him or not, his toughness deserves to be admired.

Dislike him all you want, magnify Netanyahu’s imperfections, run with Lapid’s hounds, but the underdog gets the cheers.

He may as well be Will Kane, the central character of “High Noon,” as played by Gary Cooper.

In this Western, the town is backwater Hadleyville, and the clock keeps ticking toward noon.

That’s when a group of villains are arriving by train to kill him. Cooper is the marshal, and they have old business with him.

He does have a choice. He could leave town. Cut and run.

Similar to what’s being demanded of Netanyahu by his defense minister, and others…that he drop the judicial reform bills. Forget the whole thing.

Not likely.

Likewise, Cooper in the film chooses to stay and fight. He will be outnumbered. So he is confident that the townspeople will come to his side and help him out.

One by one, they turn him down. When he runs to the church for help, he is rebuffed and shamed.

He is alone, after all. Netanyahu could write the script for a scenario quite like this.

A generation ago, the screenplay was written by Carl Foreman, and in the writing, he realized that his plot, circa the 1890s, was playing out in real time between Washington and Hollywood. This was the early 1950s and the Red Scare was on. HUAC…the House un-American Activities Committee…was probing communists and communist sympathizers.

You didn’t have to be one, but simply by attending a cocktail party in the wrong house, you were branded a “fellow traveler.”

The Committee…and later McCarthy in the Senate, set sights on Hollywood.

In the Hearings, lives were being ruined by insinuations. People were blacklisted and even jailed if they refused to be contrite, or snitch, that is, name names.

Exactly as it happened for screenwriter Carl Foreman. He was blacklisted, along with the rest of the “Hollywood 10.”

His co-producer, Stanley Kramer, broke up with him, and, alarmed that their Jewishness would be deemed un-American, nearly all the Hollywood moguls testified fearfully before Congress, and promised, on bended knee, to shut their doors to any writer, actor, director, producer who might be a suspected pinko. Cave, they did.

Their studios were safe so long as the Jews behaved like good Protestants.

Blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, like Foreman, refused to snitch. Foreman fled to England.

Trumbo spent time in jail, and like other scribes, later wrote on using other names.

Their own names were anathema.

Until both Otto Preminger and Kirk Douglas broke the hex. Preminger credited Trumbo for “Exodus.” Douglas credited Trumbo for “Spartacus.”

The Blacklist was dissolved and busted…thanks to these courageous Jews, Preminger and Douglas.

“High Noon,” directed by Fred Zinnemann, was nominated for seven Oscars and won four, and is recognized as among the world’s greatest films.

Gary Cooper won the shootout against the bad guys. We’ll see how the movie ends for Benjamin Netanyahu.

New York-based bestselling American novelist Jack Engelhard writes regularly for Arutz Sheva.

He wrote the worldwide book-to-movie bestseller “Indecent Proposal,” the authoritative newsroom epic, “The Bathsheba Deadline,” followed by his coming-of-age classics, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” and, the Holocaust-to-Montreal memoir, “Escape from Mount Moriah.” For that and his 1960s epic “The Days of the Bitter End,” contemporaries have hailed him “The last Hemingway, a writer without peer, and the conscience of us all.” Contact [email protected]