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July 07, 2005

Speilberg accused of producing anti-Israel film

In Munich, 1972, Islamic terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes. Of the five cowards that carried out the act, two were killed during the fumbled capture by German police (in which one German policeman was killed) and three were captured, but the remaining three were later released after Palestinians hijacked a German airplane.

To send the message that Israelis were not to be messed with, then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir authorized the assimilation of all those involved in planning and carrying out the massacre.

To carry out the Prime Minister's directive, the Israeli Mossad initiated one of the most ambitious covert counterterrorist campaigns in history, called "Wrath of God". The Israeli cabinet's top-secret 'Committee-X' authorized the assassination of any Black September terrorists involved in the Munich incident. The Mossad assumed the responsibility for implementing the directive and developed several assassination teams. One unit operated through normal Mossad channels while a second unit recruited staff officers and highly trained specialists anonymously and external to the government, supported financially through covert mechanisms. The assassination team that deployed through normal channels failed to complete their mission and publicly exposed the entire operation. Over a period of years, the second team, it was later revealed, killed five of the Munich terrorists directly and three more in joint Mossad-IDF operations (See "Operation Spring of Youth" in Sources). They also eliminated four other terrorists associated with other crimes against Israel.

The morality of Israel's reaction has been disputed by those not under the constant threat of maniacal Palestinians screaming for their deaths. The debate now is being join by film-maker Stephen Spielberg.

...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.

Voicing the disgust found in Spielberg's project, Debbie Schussel accuses him of “Stockholm Syndrome“:

Spielberg released a statement calling the Munich Olympic massacre "a defining moment in the modern history of the Middle East," as if he's proud of that. It wasn't a "defining" moment. It was an EXTREMELY TRAGIC moment!

One hint Spielberg is playing for the wrong team: "Vengeance" is being shot in Pan-Arabist Malta, which criminally prosecuted columnist Simone Endrich for criticizing Palestinian terrorists, homicide bombings, and the Maltese Prime Minister for participating in a pro-Palestinian demonstration. So glad Spielberg picked such an even-handed locale for "Vengeance."

It's long been said that being Catholic and pro-choice are mutually exclusive states. One must wonder if being Liberal and Jewish might very well soon become the same way.

Posted by Danny Carlton at July 7, 2005 07:55 AM

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