Thursday, June 30, 2005

Spielberg Munich Olympics film: When Jews have doubts!

Entertainment: Lordy, you can see where this film is going, moral equivalency for all with the Jews being shown as the doubting "bad" guys. Tony Kushner writing the screenplay is a dead giveaway this film is going left at a fast pace. New York Times does a preemptive strike at the complaints by showing how much pressure and pitfalls Steven Spielberg is going thru now and so "desperate" to make it right.

"But with the as-yet-untitled Munich film, already scheduled for Oscar-season release by Universal Pictures on Dec. 23, Mr. Spielberg is tackling material delicate enough that he and his advisers are concerned about adverse effects on matters as weighty as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process if his project is mishandled - or misconstrued in the public mind. Indeed, the movie's terrain is so packed with potential land mines that, associates say, Mr. Spielberg has sought counsel from advisers ranging from his own rabbi to the former American diplomat Dennis Ross, who in turn has alerted Israeli government officials to the film's thrust. Mr. Spielberg has also shown the script to Mr. Ross's old boss, former President Bill Clinton. Mr. Clinton's aides said Mr. Spielberg reached out to him first more than a year ago and again as recently as Tuesday. Mr. Spielberg is also being advised by Mike McCurry, Mr. Clinton's White House spokesman, and Allan Mayer, a Hollywood spokesman who specializes in crisis communications. The film, which is being written by the playwright Tony Kushner - it is his first feature screenplay - begins with the killing of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich. But it focuses on the Israeli retaliation: the assassinations, ordered by Prime Minister Golda Meir, of Palestinians identified by Israeli intelligence as terrorists, including some who were not directly implicated in the Olympic massacre. By highlighting such a morally vexing and endlessly debated chapter in Israeli history - one that introduced the still-controversial Israeli tactic now known as targeted killings - Mr. Spielberg could jeopardize his tremendous stature among Jews both in the United States and in Israel. .... Mr. Spielberg's interest in the question of a civilized nation's proper response to terrorism deepened, aides said, after the 9/11 attacks, as Americans were grappling for the first time with similar issues - for instance, in each new lethal strike on a suspected terrorist leader by a C.I.A. Predator drone aircraft. In Mr. Kushner's script, people who have read it say, the Israeli assassins find themselves struggling to understand how their targets were chosen, whether they belonged on the hit list and, eventually, what, if anything, their killing would accomplish. "What comes through here is the human dimension," said Mr. Ross, formerly the Middle East envoy for Mr. Clinton, who has advised the filmmakers on the screenplay and helped Mr. Spielberg reach out to officials in the region. "You're contending with an enormously difficult set of challenges when you have to respond to a horrific act of terror. Not to respond sends a signal that actions are rewarded and the perpetrators can get away with it. But you have to take into account that your response may not achieve what you wish to achieve, and that it may have consequences for people in the mission." Mr. Spielberg's statement indicated that, despite the implications for other conflicts, his movie - to be shot in Malta, Budapest and New York - was aimed squarely at the Israeli-Palestinian divide. "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," he said. "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."
What was Karl Rove quote again?
"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." [NY Times, 6/23/05]
Except Spielberg and Kushner are going to use one of the most horrific event in recent history to do this. Pathetic but typical. Oh, as for Kushner, nice guy.
JWR: "...Titled Wrestling With Zion: Progressive Jewish-American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the book, which was edited by Kushner and Alisa Solomon, is a collection of essays by left-wing authors that debates the legitimacy of Zionism itself. It attacks Israel's position from within the Jewish community, rather than from outside it. From that vantage point, Kushner and his authors champion Israelis who refuse military service, debate Israel's Law of Return, scoff at the connection between anti-Semitism and the vituperation aimed at Israel, and generally write of the Jewish state as, at best, the moral equivalent of the Palestinian terrorists that seek to destroy it. In his introduction to the book, Kushner takes particular aim at those American Jews who have rallied to Israel's defense in the past three years during the Palestinian terrorist war of attrition. He rails at those Jewish writers — distinguished political liberals and conservatives alike — who signed an advertisement in the aftermath of the April 2002 "Passover massacre," in which dozens of Jews were killed. The ad condemned Palestinian terror, affirmed the justice of Israel's cause, and called on the international community to stand with Israel in a time of peril. But to Kushner, the statement was "shameful" because it did not balance condemnation of terrorism with opposition to Israeli self-defense. Specifically embracing discredited lies about Israeli "atrocities" during the course of the Operation Defensive Shield battle in Jenin, Kushner can only see the Palestinians as victims. This distorted version of the truth coming at a time of continued Palestinian rejection of peace offers and dedication to the destruction of Israel is as outrageous as it is false. "

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