June 27, 2005, - 5:54 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Much is being made about Steven Spielberg’s upcoming inaccurate, revisionist history and “balance” (code for morally equivocating Islamic terrorists with their victims) in his new film, “Vengeance”–about the Israeli Mossad’s tracking down of Palestinian terrorists who murdered Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. But anyone who knows the history of this movie, based on a George Jonas book of the same name, should not be surprised.
Jonas admits he has only one “source” for most of the information in his book and that many of the incidents could not be verified. Many of his “facts” were refuted by testimony in a Norwegian trial of Mossad agents who accidentally killed a Moroccan waiter, there, and were caught. Spielberg has not contacted anyone in the Mossad, the Israeli government, or the agents who were involved in the operation, some of whom discredited Jonas’ book.
As I wrote in a column on Spielberg’s “Vengeance,” last summer, Spielberg halted production to avoid upsetting terrorists during the Olympics. Just out of respect and “sensitivity” for terrorists’ wishes. Then, Spielberg realized this was a bad P.R. move and had his publicist claim the reason was something almost as absurd, but much less believable: that Spielberg was just too upset each day–sobbing while reading pages of the script–to continue. Right, and the sob-scenes in “E.T.” also made him halt production. Not.
One wonders if Spielberg’s “balance” will involve visiting the family of Cleveland-based parents of David Berger, the handsome, American-born, Israeli Olympic weight-lifter, who was among the murdered athletes. Don’t count on it. The film, starring the outspokenly pro-Palestinian Ben Kingsley, is bound to be no different than the “balanced” Oscar-winning documentary, “One Day in September,” which–as I wrote in another column–showed the murder of the Israeli Olympic athletes from the victims’ families’ and Palestinian terrorists’ points of view–as an action thriller.
Spielberg’s “Vengeance,” appears to be an indictment of our current War on Terror. According to Reuters, Daniel Craig, who stars in the film, told an entertainment magazine that , “it’s about how vengeance doesn’t . . . work–blood breeds blood.” The one accidental assassination–of the Moroccan waiter in Norway–is being used to discredit the entire operation, which was a SUCCESSFUL War on Terror. There will always be accidental deaths in fighting terror, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a strong and swift response to it.
Don’t hold your breath for real balance, such as Spielberg visiting terror-host state Syria (on the State Department’s terrorist list) to interrogate and film Jamil Al-Gashey, the only surviving murderer of the Israeli Olympic athletes. He enjoys a life of safety and freedom under the protection of Syria’s government, where he moved because, he said, he didn’t want his daughter to grow up without a father. No biggie that he killed the fathers of several daughters of the Israeli athletes. Don’t look for any of that in “Fighting Terror is a Bad Idea, as Told by Steven Spielberg.”
Question: Why did Spielberg make the Nazis look bad–and even melt to their deaths–in “Raiders by the Lost Ark”? Where was the balance? Ditto for “Schindler’s List.”
Tags: Ben Kingsley, Cleveland, Daniel Craig, David Berger, Debbie Schlussel Much, Department of State, entertainment magazine, Israeli government, Israeli Mossad, Jamil Al, Jamil Al-Gashey, Norway, Oakland Raiders, Olympic, One Day in September, Oscar, Reuters, Schindler's List, Steven Spielberg, Syria, Syria's government, the 1972 Munich Olympics, the Olympics, Vengeance, waiter