"I think the founding of the State of Israel was for the Jewish people a historical, moral, political calamity...I wish modern Israel hadn't been born; I am a diasporan Jew, not a Zionist...I wish Jerusalem was an international city under a U.N. protectorate; and I wish the Museum of the Holocaust in Washington was a Museum of the Jewish-American Experience instead, with a holocaust wing, and I wish it stood on the Mall alongside museums devoted to the sufferings and triumphs of other ethnic-American groups, including a museum of the African-American experience, with a Slavery wing." - Tony Kushner
Thus speaks the man who will be doing the final draft for the screenplay of Steven Spielberg's new movie on the Munich massacre. The movie however will not be about the massacre of Israel Olympic athletes. Don't imagine that Steven Spielberg and Kushner will want to show the bravery of the athletes or the evil of their killers or the complicity of the German government in the massacre. Not at all.
The original draft by Eric Roth would have allotted 15 minutes of the massacre. 15 minutes of the movie. This Spielberg determined was too much. So speaks the New York Times article
"In Mr. Roth's script, for instance, the Munich killings dominated the first 15 minutes of the movie. Mr. Spielberg, the readers said, was still weighing how to depict the massacre without minimizing its power, but also without overpowering the audience."
Now Spielberg who had no trouble devoting the opening of 'Saving Private Ryan' to bloody and horrific scenes of the invasion of Normandy including shots that featured a soldier's intestines spilling out of his stomach, is now worried about 'overpowering' the audience by showing the actual massacre of Israeli athletes. Whenever directors talk about showing scenes without minimizing their power, what they really mean is they want to minimize their power so it does not overshadow their film's agenda which is to diminish the suffering of the victims and the evil of their killers.
Instead of being about the massacre of Israeli athletes the movie will be about the Mossad agents sent out to assassinate the terrorists feeling guilty and ambivalent about their missions. As Michael Oren points out:
"It's the flip side of the rationally motivated Palestinian terrorist: you can't have a Jew going to exact vengeance and not feel guilt-ridden about it, and you can't have a Palestinian who's operating out of pure evil - it's got to be the result of some trauma."
Spielberg's Holocaust film was predictably not about Jews resisting the Holocaust but about Schindler, a non-Jew intervening to save Jews. Indeed a serious movie about the Jewish resistance has yet to be made. Hollywood Holocaust movies show Jews mainly as helpless victims. American liberal Jews like Spielberg remain uncomfortable with the idea of Jews as victors. The image of Jews hunting down their killers is an uncomfortable one, whether those killers are Nazis or Arab terrorists. Ultimately the Jews must suffer and pay the price and if they are to kill, the lesson that comes out of it is that killing is evil and that the Jews who kill even in self-defense are scarred by it.
What is the real concern of Spielberg's film? It is not to commemorate the dead. It is not to condemn the massacre. It is certainly not to show the heroism of those who avenged and eliminated the PLO terrorists. We can see the goal of a project by its consultants. Spielberg has not consulted with the Mossad agents themselves. He has not consulted with Israelis. According to the article his consultants appear to be former Clinton administration officials, Dennis Ross, former Clinton White House spokesman Mike McCurry and Bill Clinton himself. What do any of these people have to do with the Munich massacre?
Ross for example was 23 when the massacre happened. He's certainly not there to provide input on the massacre of Israeli athletes or even the followup events. Nor are any of the others. They are there to achieve Spielberg's real goal which is to produce a movie that he believes will make a specific statement about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Bringing on board Clinton administration officials who had key involvement in the peace process serves that goal, the goal being propaganda not history. In The Last Days Spielberg attempted to endorse the fiction of a black brigade liberating Auschwitz to promote Black Jewish relations. It is safe to say that we can expect much grander dissembling here.
"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," Spielberg said.
The message of course here is that 'violence' is not the answer. Violence being any Israeli attempt at self-defense. The point of the movie is to learn 'something important.' Not to commemorate the dead. Not to remember a horrific act of violence. But to learn that fighting terrorism is not the answer. Only making concessions to terrorism works. That is why Clinton's little men are his advisers, so he can hammer that message home to American and Israeli Jews who may have gotten hawkish on terror.
That is why Kushner, who hopes Israel will no longer exist, was brought in to humanize the terrorists, which we are assured will not increase sympathy for them in any way. The proper response to terrorism in the liberal mindset is defeatism. It is a recognition that your murderers have a good point and they can't possibly be beaten. Instead they must be conceded to. By transforming Israel's assault on the terrorists into a defeat, Spielberg can cinematically redefine one more event in Israeli history as evidence that Israel must give in to the terrorists. That the book Spielberg is relying on has been discredited, that the agent who serves as his adviser was never in the Mossad, but circulated stories about it in order to gain work and fame are irrelevant because the objective is not history but another plot twist in the long running bomb the 'Peace Process.'
If Spielberg has chosen to prostitute his talents as the Leni Riefensthal of Oslo it is not coming off a career high. A.I. was a disaster at the box office, so was the Terminal. Catch Me If You Can was obscure and Minority Report was far from the success Spielberg films have traditionally enjoyed. Spielberg's star is fading and a film in which he advocates the liberal Jewish agenda may not be a box office success but it will surely cement his ideological reputation particularly in the wake of the flak he caught for supporting the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq.
Hollywood people tend to fall into the trap of thinking of themselves as more than actors and directors but as activists with a responsibility to speak out on issues and change the world. After what he and many feel are his successes in the Holocaust and World War II, his next step may be to tackle the Oslo frontier.
The "German government's complicity?"ReplyDelete
Are you a Kahanist as well?
Yes,the German government was complicit in the Munich massacre.Delete
Didn't you know it or are you a neo-Nazi Holocaust denier as well?
May ET eat Steven Spielberg alive and spit him into the sea of nevermore.. nevermore.ReplyDelete
Hey Hashfanatic, lay off that weed. It's been established for several years now that the German gv't allowed the captured Munich terrorists to escape through a manufactured hijacking crisis.ReplyDelete
Is it not also interesting that arab terror cells have their base in Germany? Germany which is known for disliking foreigners allows these ??? 9/11 terrorists had doings in Germany ..verrrrry interesting...*strokes chin*ReplyDelete
"Hash" fanatic??? You need a good 12 step program to get off that dope man.ReplyDelete
yup it's little known but germany has been a handy base for terrorists for a long time nowReplyDelete
from their domestic baader-meinhoff terrorists to the arab terrorists who have found Germany a comfortable place to work out of
You make excellent points.ReplyDelete
Your Jab at the Schindler's List movie is quite unfounded. You speak as if he had a choice of creating a specific type of story - when the movie itself which is based on Kneally's book which is an accurate portrayal of the story. Te movie rightfully depicted Schindler for the hero he was.ReplyDelete
firstly the kennealy novel was fictionalReplyDelete
secondly the schindler depicted in it was quite a distance from the actual man, as his own widow has said
thirdly, spielberg had an endless amount of choices of stories to tell. The one he chose to tell was that of a good german rather than of the survivors.
Actually the story told in the movie about my grandfather was quite accurate.ReplyDelete
The heroic story of the survivors came after, when banished from germany schindler looked up the people he saved living new lives in new yorks city who then publicly honored him
As an aside, the concept of righteous gentiles will serve us greater when preaching tolerance in the future to non jews.ReplyDelete
the movie was based on a fictious novel that was based on a true storyReplyDelete
some truth may have survived but plenty of it was fiction and it was fiction that centered more around the 'good german' than the survivors
as for schindler, the survivors would then attempt to bankroll his failed ventures which he never managed to get anywhere... the less romantic part of the story you left out
schindler's widow herself has said repeatedly the noble portrait of schindler in the movie is fiction
people will either choose to do the right thing or not, 'righteous gentiles' actually comes off as condescending and insultingReplyDelete
And the fact that Spielberg himself created initiated implemented sponsored and ran the entire "shoah" project - hundreds and hundreds of video taped testimonies from survivors - and rushed to do it before they all die, that is totally ittelevant here...?ReplyDelete
it's not irrelevant and it's commendable that Spielberg contributed to Holocaust commemorationReplyDelete
however pointing out that he did so does not negate my criticisms of Schindler's List
the story of shcindler plasow factory had nothing to do with jewish resistanceReplyDelete
who said that it did?ReplyDelete
you make it sound like theres a flaw in his story telling that it should have been more about resistance than about the ruthless german businessmanReplyDelete
my point was to show spielberg's focus on the 'good german' rather than on the jewish heroes of the holocaustReplyDelete
specific focus on one aspect does not reveal a deliberate intent to purposelly ignore something else.ReplyDelete
Schindler's List has become the definitive Holocaust film and the narrative it tells is not so much a jewish narrativeReplyDelete
I think that's quite significant