Spielberg Fires Back Against Munich Critics

In an interview with Roger Ebert, Steven Spielberg articulates with golden clarity the problem with “moral equivalence” critiques of Munich, stating what many Jewish progressives have been saying for years: Identifying (and even taking responsibility for) the root causes of terrorism is not the same as sanctioning nor approving of terrorism.

But what about the issue of “moral equivalence,” the charge that he equates the Israeli and Palestinian causes, when the rightness of one (or the other) is seen as not debatable?
“Frankly, I think that’s a stupid charge. The people who attack the movie based on ‘moral equivalence’ are some of the same people who say diplomacy itself is an exercise in moral equivalence, and that war is the only answer. That the only way to fight terrorism is to dehumanize the terrorists by asking no questions about who they are and where they come from.
“What I believe is, every act of terrorism requires a strong response, but we must also pay attention to the causes. That’s why we have brains and the power to think passionately. Understanding does not require approval. Understanding is not the same as inaction. Understanding is a very muscular act. If I’m endorsing understanding and being attacked for that, then I am almost flattered.”

Full story.

9 thoughts on “Spielberg Fires Back Against Munich Critics

  1. funny, ss didn’t ask us to understand the germans in saving private ryan, nor understand the nazis in schindlers list; gee steve, why didnt you show us the prviatation of the germans following wwii, the harsh pyschological damage causd by hitlers harsh childhood. steve. is it possible you are the stupid one for not realizing you are so imbued with holywoods liberal culture of pcness that you are no longer capapble of taking sides in the muslime murder cult v. jewish baby war? oh btw strve, hiring tony kutchner, a far leftist who thinks the creation of israel was a mistake just might have been taking sides from the get go.

  2. So why is his movie raising such hackles among Israelis and those generally known as the “pro-Israel” crowd? [edited from wsj – read the longer original, it demonstrates that ss has become a determined propogandist]
    Tony Kushner (the writer of the screenplay) believes that the creation of the state of Israel was “a historical, moral, political calamity” for the Jewish people, believes the policy of the government of Israel has been “a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people.” He believes Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is an “unindicted war criminal.”
    Observe Mr. Spielberg’s curious use of “Jewish” tropes. Again and again in “Munich,” the Israelis are seen counting the cost of each kill, down to the last dollar: $352,000 for an assassination in Rome; $200,000 for a bombing in Paris. “Killing Palestinians isn’t exactly cheap,” remarks one of the members of the Israeli team.
    Observe Mr. Spielberg’s depiction of the Palestinian targets. The Israeli team’s first quarry is an elderly, evidently kindly man whom the audience first encounters reading from his Italian translation of Scheherazade. Target Two is a well-spoken diplomat and doting father. Target Three offers Avner a cigarette from across a balcony; Avner repays the gesture by having him blown to bits in his bed. Another target gives a moving speech about his longing for his homeland and the agony of 24 years of dispossession. There is nothing wrong with depicting Palestinians–even those involved in terrorism–as fully rounded human beings. Yet not one of these characters is seen performing the deeds for which they have been targeted, unlike the Israelis in the film, who perform dirty deeds by the dozen.
    Observe the Israelis offer for exacting their revenge. “The only blood that matters to me is Jewish blood,” says Steve (Daniel Craig), the most macho of the Israeli hit men. Steve is a South African Jew, blonde and blue-eyed, and somehow it’s no surprise that this Jewish Aryan is made to utter this most racist of views. And then there is Prime Minister Golda Meir who justifies the assassination policy by saying, “forget peace for now, we have to be strong.” Never mind that in 1972 neither the Arab states nor the PLO was prepared to live in peace with Israel on any terms. Never mind, too, that peace and strength are not incompatible options.
    Observe the film’s final scene. Ephraim (Geoffrey Rush), Avner’s snarling Mossad handler, has come to New York to ask Avner to “come home.” Avner refuses; Israel, apparently, is no longer a suitable place for a morally sensitized man. Next, Avner invites Ephraim to join him at home for supper. “Break bread with me,” he says. “Isn’t that what Jews do?” Now it’s Ephraim who says no, as if to suggest that such old-fashioned courtesies are no longer of interest to today’s hard-of-heart Israelis.

  3. ya see, you dont have to portray jews as hooked nose moneylenders to create antiisraeli propoganda: the skilled manipulator (and ss is a masterful direcotr) by their selecrion of those who perfrom harsh acts, by lines of dialogue, by sequencing of events, can create just as false a picture as the muslim clerics spewing anti jewish hatred from their minarets: the just prior post demonstrates some of the techniques – i had always thought ss had his heart in the right place, i now realize he likes dead jews but not live israelis

  4. Perhaps the greatest perversion of truth in Spielberg’s Munich is the line he claims is the key to the entire film. In a scene that never actually happened, Golda Meir justifies the mission of the agents she sends to carry out justice with the words, “Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values.” Golda never said it because she understood that holding mass murderers responsible is not a compromise with civilized values, but the only way to insure that civilization survives. It is only a world that abdicates the need for a Golda’s list that ends up with a Schindler’s list.
    {read the entire article in todays aish.om]

  5. avi, the whole point is that Jewish and Arab national rights are not mutually exclusive in the former British Mandatory Palestine. We get ours, they get theirs, and the awful truth is that anyone who stands in the way is a fucking war-monger whether they insist we call them “liberal,” “conservative,” “progressive,” “isolationist,” whatever.

  6. There has been something intangible in the media hype around ‘Munich,’ that has been like an odor I find displeasing. Avi’s comments have given me an ‘aha!’ moment: I think this is a movie I do not wish to spend money on.

  7. When I first heard about Munich, I wondered to myself “how is Spielberg going to lionize Zionism by highlighting a murder/assassination spree” but the more I hear about it, the more interesting it sounds. And if it pisses off Avi Green then how bad could it be ?

  8. the movie is surprisingly not that bad. I actually enjoyed it and recommend it. it aint no political manifesto though, as some would like to portray it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.