January 15, 2009, - 1:36 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
As I always say, Hollywood loves the dead Jews, but they hate the live ones.
Hollywood loves the Holocaust, but hates Israel. They love to portray Jews as victims of the Nazis, but they hate to portray the Jews as victims of the new Nazis–extremist Muslims around the world, whether it’s the HAMAS terrorists in Gaza or the Muslims who demonstrate on the streets of Fort Lauderdale and openly tell Jews to “go back to the oven.”
And so it goes with Writer/Director Edward Zwick, whose “Defiance” opens in nationwide release tomorrow (Friday).
“Defiance” is a great movie, one of the year’s best. And it’s an important movie, as it shows that Jews were not the stereotypical weaklings who meekly went to the camps to their slaughter. Those who could–with all odds against them and laws preventing them from owning firearms and weapons–did fight back. The Bielski brothers saved hundreds of Jewish lives and killed more than a few Nazis in the process. They are the good guys. And, just as it should be, there is no ambiguity about that in this film.
But Ed Zwick is trapped back in time, or perhaps he is trapped forward in time . . . in a “post-Zionist Hollywood.” He fails to make the connection with Jews under siege in Israel today, with Jews under siege in greater numbers today than at any time since the Holocaust.
On Friday, I interviewed him. I solicited questions from readers (who had some great suggestions–thanks). But I already knew one question I was going to ask. And I had a pretty good idea of the answer he’d provide.
I know Dr. Jay Bielski, son of Zus Bielski, one of the brothers portrayed in this movie (by Liev Schreiber). I noted to Mr. Zwick that while Jay said that this movie captured his father perfectly, Jay–after several years as a U.S. Marine during Vietnam–served in the Israeli Defense Force and fought in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Right now, Jay’s two sons serve in the IDF. (Zwick is friends with Jay Bielski and says the Bielskis “brought him home” to Judaism and Jewish pride. But I don’t see it.)
I also noted to Zwick that he produced “The Siege,” the 1998 movie which showed an alleged post-9/11-style persecution against “innocent” Muslim-Americans “victims,” which never happened.
I asked him why Hollywood is so anti-Israel and when would he come full circle and make a movie that shows the Jews who are now the victims of the new Nazis in the Middle East, in Israel.
Edward Zwick’s squirming was so loud, I felt like I was watching worms crawl through my phone.
Zwick said he didn’t know of any anti-Israel movies coming out of Hollywood. He said he couldn’t see himself doing a movie about the Jews versus the Islamic terrorists in Israel because,
It’s very difficult to parse morality in what’s going on in the Middle East and especially in the last two weeks. It’s full of moral complexity that I’m not sure I could address in a two-hour movie. What I’m loathe to do is to analogize between this [the Nazis vs. the Bielskis] and the contemporary situation. I didn’t want to have a movie with an agenda.
But when I pointed out that there is clearly an agenda and clearly good guys and bad guys in “Defiance” (not to mention, “The Siege”), he responded with more psychobabble gobbledygookish squirming, that his movie
showed the difference between passivity and powerlessness [and was] a necessary historical redress.
Well, there’s a “necessary historical redress” about what Islamic terrorists are doing against Jews in Israel and throughout the world. Sadly, Zwick either doesn’t get it or won’t admit to it, lest he be out of step with Hollywood’s rigid orthodoxy on the subject.
Oh, and Zwick also said
in the Middle East, you’re not talking about genocide.
When Muslims, especially those of Palestinian terrorist groups, shout how they want to “push the Jews into the sea” and “spill rivers of Jewish blood,” it’s quite clear that it, in fact, is genocide they wish to carry out.
Next week, “Defiance” opens in Israel, and Israeli soldiers will reportedly be shown the movie (perhaps in time for the start of the next failed “truce”).
Let’s hope the Israeli soldiers connect the dots that Edward Zwick–and the rest of Hollywood–won’t.
They are fighting the same Nazis, the same evil the Bielskis fought.
Since I’ve invoked his name, I want to be fair and point out that Jay Bielski disagrees with my take on this. He recommends that people read this New York Times column by Zwick, in which Zwick brags about his grandfather and great-uncles who were bookies for Al Capone’s mob. This is something to be proud of? Yet, he won’t defend Israel.
Jay says that his friend, Zwick, is on the right side of the Israeli-Islamic terrorism issue, but can’t afford to say so, in order to sell this movie. If that’s the case, that’s even worse because it means that you can be “Defiant” against the Nazis, but not Hollywood.