Spielberg's 'Munich' Is Criticized

Publié le par David CASTEL

By IRA STOLL - Staff Reporter of the Sun
December 12, 2005



A Steven Spielberg movie about the aftermath of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics is shaping up as the next battleground for debating the politics of the Middle East.

The film doesn't open in New York theaters until December 23, but it is already drawing criticism from commentators who are sympathetic to Israel. Yesterday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israel's consul general in Los Angeles, Ehud Danoch, denounced the movie as "superficial" and "problematic." According to the newspaper, the Israeli diplomat also complained that the movie made "an incorrect moral equation" between Palestinian Arab terrorists and Israeli intelligence operatives. According to Haaretz, the Israeli diplomat said the movie is based on "a book in which there is no truth."

The Israeli diplomat is only the latest in a string of self-styled movie critics who have taken aim at "Munich" since Mr. Spielberg appeared on the cover of last week's Time magazine to promote the film.

The New Republic's Leon Wieseltier writes "The film has no place in its heart for Israel." He notes that the screenplay is the work of Tony Kushner, who he quotes as calling the creation of Israel a mistake.

"The film proclaims that terrorists and counter-terrorists are alike," Mr. Wieseltier writes.

In the Jerusalem Post, Calev Ben-David accused Mr. Spielberg of "using Munich as a means of commenting, in your own way, on the situation of the United States in a post-9/11 reality."

By setting those concerns against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you will cleverly sidestep having to contend with the kind of overwhelming backlash you would face if your movie made any direct politically charged controversial statements about America's own current war on terror," Mr. Ben-David wrote.

In yesterday's New York Times, columnist David Brooks wrote, "Spielberg has to distort reality to fit his preconceptions." He wrote, "In Spielberg's Middle East the only way to achieve peace is by renouncing violence. But in the real Middle East the only way to achieve peace is through military victory over the fanatics, accompanied by compromise between the reasonable elements on each side."

President Clinton's special coordinator for the Middle East negotiations, Dennis Ross, who has been hired to help promote the film, told The New York Sun that he thinks "Munich" "draws a pretty clear distinction" between the terrorists and the Israeli counter-terrorists.

"I don't see the moral equivalence," Mr. Ross said. He said the movie doesn't make those who kill Israelis look sympathetic.

"People ought to see the movie and judge for themselves," said Mr. Ross, who is scheduled to introduce the film in Manhattan tonight at a special screening for members of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In the Time magazine cover story, Mr. Spielberg is quoted as saying, "I'm always in favor of Israel responding strongly when it's threatened. At the same time, a response to a response doesn't really solve anything. It just creates a perpetual-motion machine."

He muses, "There's been a quagmire of blood for blood for many decades in that region. Where does it end? How can it end?"

The Time article quotes Mr. Spielberg as calling the movie "a prayer for peace," and also as saying the film is a tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered at the Olympics in 1972.

Mr. Spielberg, who is Jewish, has devoted considerable time and money to the cause of Holocaust remembrance since his 1993 film "Schindler's List."

The Web site for "Munich" describes it as "a gripping suspense thriller...inspired by true events." It says the movie "follows a secret Israeli squad assigned to track down and kill the 11 Palestinians suspected to have planned the Munich attack - and the personal toll this mission of revenge takes on the team and the man who led it."

Publié dans septembrenoir

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