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ZOA: Don’t See Spielberg’s ‘Munich’ Unless You Like Humanizing Terrorists & Dehumanizing Israelis

ZOA December 27, 2005

The ZOA is urging everyone
to stay away from the new Stephen Spielberg film ‘Munich,’ after condemning
the film as not only promoting fiction as fact but also having promoted a
moral equivalence between Arab terrorist and Israelis who want to vanquish
those terrorists. ‘Munich’ is a fictionalization of the events that followed the
murder of 11 Israeli athletes by PLO terrorists at the Munich Olympic Games
in 1972 and depicts the Israeli mission to eliminate the perpetrators of the
Munich massacre as behaving like the terrorists themselves. Spielberg
further attempts to humanize the Palestinian Arab killers by legitimizing their
murder of Jews as their only way to establish a Palestinian state. (But no
mention is made of the fact that if a Palestinian state was the real issue, they
could have created one between 1948 and 1967 when Arabs controlled all of
Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem).

A host of critics have deplored the film. Some examples:

Leon Wieseltier (The New Republic): “Munich prefers a discussion of
counterterrorism to a discussion of terrorism; or it thinks that they are the same
discussion. This is an opinion that only people who are not responsible for
the safety of other people can hold.”

Mitch Webber (New York Sun ): “The implication is that [Prime Minister
Golda] Meir was reluctant to hunt down the terrorists responsible for the Munich
massacre, and that doing so was contrary to Israeli, and civilized, values.
The truth is just the opposite. Meir understood that Israel’s chief obligation
is to ensure that Jews will never again be slaughtered with impunity, simply
for being Jewish. Holding mass murderers accountable is not a compromise …
Spielberg and Kushner end up glorifying Jewish victims, but deploring those
who would keep Jews from becoming victims.”

Warren Bell (National Review): “‘Munich’s simple-minded morality like this:
“When good guys kill bad guys, they’re as bad as bad guys.”

Andrea Levin (CAMERA): “…the message that Israel was brutal, bungling and
immoral in its reaction to the massacre… During the movie’s production,
numerous Israelis with knowledge of the actual events disputed Spielberg’s
central themes. But the Hollywood director, along with Kushner, ignored them and
insisted on their own dark story.”

Jonathan Tobin (Jerusalem Post ): “…the film still fails its subject
matter. That’s because the goal here is not merely to wrongly argue that the
battle against Palestinian terror is as criminal as anything the terrorists have
done; its purpose is also to humanize the terrorists.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We urge moviegoers not to ‘
vote’ for the making of this anti-Israel film by going to see it. We must send
a message to Spielberg that we will not support a film that libels Israel
and humanizes these haters and killers. In Spielberg’s attempt to humanize
these Arab terrorists, he actually said, ‘Well, the Arab terrorists are human
and have families.’ But the Nazis were also ‘humans’ and had families. Did
that make their crimes any less evil? The first thing to note is that Spielberg’
s ‘Munich’ is not history. It is a fictionalized account of a story about
which much is still unknown. Furthermore, the film does not accurately depict
many things that are known about the events. Israeli Prime Minister Golda
Meir did not regard sending out men to track down the murderers of Israeli
civilians as somehow ‘compromising’ Israel’s values – but that is what she ends
up saying in the film. When the movie was still in production, numerous
Israelis with knowledge of the actual events disputed the story that Spielberg
was putting together.

“Spielberg’s ‘Munich’ conveys the distorted message that Israel was
involved in an immoral campaign of killing comparable to what the Palestinian
terrorists themselves did, but in fact Israel was eliminating the murderers of
Israeli civilians, not deliberately killing innocent civilians. By omitting
completely the fact that Germany set free the Munich terrorists and therefore
necessitated Israel’s counter-terrorism campaign in the first place, and by
fudging the moral distinction between terrorism and counter-terrorism, ‘Munich’
presents a deeply flawed depiction of events.

“It is noteworthy that one of the screenwriters, Tony Kushner, is an avowed
opponent of Zionism who has stated, ‘I wish modern Israel hadn’t been born.’
It is hard to imagine someone wishing Israel didn’t exist doing justice to
the concerns and needs of that state. As such, he makes an astoundingly poor
choice of writer for a film that deals with Israel’s battle to survive and
track down the killers of Israeli civilians following an epidemic of PLO
terrorist assaults on Israelis in the early 1970s.

“Given these facts, the ZOA is appalled that the Anti-Defamation League’s
National Director, Abraham Foxman, has defended this film saying, ‘We do not
think this is an attack on Israel. We do not think this is a film of moral
equivalency … [the film] shows with respect and understanding … the need to
respond to terrorism.’ For some reason, Abraham Foxman is willing to endorse a
film that libels Israel and humanizes terrorist murderers committed to
destroying her while also attacking Christian Zionists who actually do support
Israel. This is poor judgment on his part. The ZOA repudiates both positions
taken by Foxman and notes that he does not speak for American Jewry as a whole.”

“It is astonishing that someone like Spielberg, who seems to have great
anguish about the horror of 6 million Jews murdered by the Jew-killer Hitler
while the world did nothing, would be antagonistic to Israel’s decision to do
something and hunt down the these Jew-killing Arabs. ZOA votes two thumbs down
for Munich. Save yourself $10 and stay home. This ‘second Munich’, like
Chamberlain’s Munich, only promotes appeasement of terrorists and the enemies of
civilized democracies.”

Renowned singer and actor Ed Ames, who is also President of the ZOA’s Los
Angeles chapter, said, “This movie exemplifies the current fare in Hollywood,
to denigrate Israel and to whitewash Islamic terror. Spielberg and Kushner,
both of whom are Jews and both of whom claim to be opposed to prejudice, have
joined the bandwagon of Israel bashers. It is a disgrace and this movie is a
disgrace, apart from any aesthetic value it may possess.”

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