August 31, 2011, - 5:14 pm

“The Debt”: Fast-Paced & Thrilling, But It’s Fiction & Defames Mossad

By Debbie Schlussel

The Debt,” a thriller about Mossad agents debuts in theaters, today.  It’s fast-paced, thrilling, the acting is very good (even the Israeli accents aren’t bad), and the young stars are gorgeous, but like every other movie about the Mossad, these days, it’s defamatory fiction.  The Mossad doesn’t screw up.  It never lost a high-value Nazi target in its possession, but in this fiction, Mossad agents repeatedly screw up and their Nazi hostage easily escapes.  Oh, and the Mossad agents are a menage-a-trois.  The slutty female Mossad agent (Jessica Chastain) sleeps with both her male colleagues, getting pregnant by the “wrong” one.

The story:  three Mossad agents are living in East Berlin in the ’60s, where they are to capture “The Surgeon of Birkenau,” a monster who used his medical degree to conduct disgusting procedures and operations upon Jewish inmates at the concentration camp.  The character is based on Josef Mengele, the monstrous Nazi doctor who conducted similar torturous “medical” experiments on Jews, including twins, at Auschwitz.  They capture the doctor, who is now a gynecologist.  But through a series of mishaps and melodrama, they lose him and lie about what happened to him, living with guilt that eats at them for the rest of their lives.  It’s not exactly an accurate portrayal of the world’s elite assassin team, committed to protecting the long-term survival of Israel and the Jewish people.  The movie is–at least for the first half–very exciting.  But it’s just not the truth.  And the movie posters bear the same message as every woeful Mossad movie in the last two decades, “Vengeance Comes at a Price.”  Here’s a tip:  lack of vengeance and vigilance comes at a greater price, but you won’t see that on the silver screen.

The last time I saw a movie with a Mossad agent who was proud of her job, did it successfully, and didn’t whine, mope, and endlessly pontificate, it was the ’80s TV movie, “Steal the Sky,” in which Mariel Hemingway plays the Mossad agent who seduced and blackmailed one of Saddam Hussein’s pilots into flying a Soviet MiG to Israel.  She doesn’t feel guilty that she did her job.  And she doesn’t screw up.  Since then, whether it’s “Walk on Water,” or “Munich” (read my review), or “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan” (read my review)–and now, “The Debt,” Mossad agents have been portrayed on-screen by Hollywood and Israeliwood as basket cases, guilt-ridden incompetents, and people who just aren’t happy that they got rid of mass murderers and scumbags.  Or, in this case, that they lost a Nazi target, after screwing up.

In real life, that’s just not the Mossad.  It’s the best spy agency and assassin team in the world, even beating out the elite Navy SEAL Team Six (in a head-to-head contest played out on Spike TV’s “Deadliest Warrior”).  In recent months, the Mossad swiftly and cleanly eliminated an Iran-backed HAMAS arms dealing terrorist murderer  from the face of the planet.  Despite multiple accolades from the media for the Inspector Clouseau-esque police chief of Dubai, the assassins who did the Mossad hit were never caught.  Not even a whiff of them.  And after that, Mossad agents mysteriously kidnapped HAMAS’ chief rocket engineer (the man who found a way to send missiles farther into Israel) on a Ukraine train, ushering him to Israel without anyone the wiser, until the man was indicted.  This is the real Mossad, not the fictional, angst-ridden, soap opera version in “The Debt.”

I mention Israeliwood because “The Debt” is a remake of the Israeli original, “HaChov (also spelled “HaHov”) [The Debt],” written by yet another leftist Israeli Mossad hater.  And two gay Israeli filmmaker lovers made “Walk on Water,” in which a Mossad agent doubts himself for going after HAMAS terrorists and can’t even bring himself to murder an easier target–a dying Nazi.  It takes the Nazi’s gay grandson to do the job because the Mossad guy is so wimpy and emotional.  That movie, incidentally, is dedicated to the far-left mother of one of the gay filmmakers.  She’s involved in a group that harasses Israeli soldiers at checkpoints, to distract them from effectively  checking Palestinians for bombs and terrorist affiliations.  Yes, these are the kinds of people who make the Mossad movies.  So it’s no surprise that the Mossad movies are anti-Mossad.  It’s like making a movie showing the SEALS as emotional headcases who can’t bring themselves to shoot Bin Laden.  As we know, that’s just not how it goes down.

Another reality check:  the Mossad never ever lost a Nazi in its custody.  It masterfully captured Adolf Eichmann in South America and swiftly transferred him to Tel Aviv.  That was positively depicted in the TV movie, “The House on Garibaldi Street.”  But that was in the ’70s.  They don’t make pro-Mossad movies like that anymore.  While Israel never caught Josef Mengele, it could have.  Mossad operative Isser Harel, author of the Garibaldi book on which the eponymous movie is based, disclosed that the Mossad received reliable information about the whereabouts of Mengele and was planning to capture him.  But the agency was already in the midst of its Eichmann operation and it would have jeopardized that, since both targets were in South America not far from one another, and the capture of one would have tipped off the other that the Mossad was coming for him.  So, the Mossad passed on Mengele, and never again did it receive credible information on his new whereabouts after he hid deeper upon learning of the Eichmann capture. (The only “big” Mossad “screw up” on record is when agents shot a suspicious Muslim Norwegian waiter, believing him to be one of the Munich terrorists.)

Israel never had Mengele.  Thus, it never lost him.  But that’s not the story “The Debt” tells you because it’s a rule in both Hollywood and Israeliwood:

Thou shalt not speak well of the Mossad.  The truth is verboten.


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34 Responses

Who funded the movie? I will bet there was Arab money behind this production.

There is a television show on cable called “Covert Affairs” on the USA Network. About one episode each season involves an agent from Mossad. Although cocky and a little arogant, he is portrayed as a good guy who helps Israel and the US. The Arabs are not portrayed in a good light, for once.

Not a great show, but entertaining, and about the only show I have seen on television that portrays the Mossad in a good light.

On another note, the number of people going to the movies continues to drop. Maybe if the message was not so anti-Christian, anti-US, anti-Israel, or anti-Semitic, more people would fill the seats of the movie houses.

Jonathan E. Grant on August 31, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I saw the first season’s “Covert Affairs” episode and the Israeli teaches the American spy some truths about the spy business.

    And he is genuinely proud of his country and prefers it to the pleasures of Switzerland.

    That’s the real Mossad!

    NormanF on August 31, 2011 at 6:50 pm

I can fully appreciate how anyone who has read about Mossad from credible sources would be really annoyed with such a slanderous/libelous Hollywood depiction of the organization. But on another level, I’m not so bothered by such false depictions of Mossad. If people want to believe that Mossad agents don’t know what they’re doing, let them think such erroneous thoughts. People thinking that way may well help Mossad agents to better carry out their good work.

Of course, if you follow the positions of the anti-Semites, as I do (so that I better know what they’re thinking and doing), Mossad is portrayed as this all-powerful mastermind behind all sorts of conspiracies. Those anti-Semites will tell you, for example, that Mossad killed John F. Kennedy, and then created double and triple layers of deception; that Mossad killed Princess Diana leaving not a trace of evidence; and that Mossad was 100% behind the 911 World Trade Center attacks, using remote-control devices run from a Mossad filed site in New York. These deeply held beliefs would be laughable, if they were not taken seriously by so many people.

So, unfortunately, anti-Semites are going full-blast in both wrong directions, as they are prone to do: Mossad is comprised of incompetent and inept secret agents; and Mossad is also the most brilliant, powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing evil organization in the world. Both false extremes stem from the very same sense of inferiority and very low self-esteem characteristic of nearly all anti-Semites.

Ralph Adamo on August 31, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Despite the close relationship between American intelligence and their Israeli counterparts, it does indeed seem to be open season on Mossad. Consider, for example, the hit TV series “NCIS”.

That show features a former Mossad agent (played by a Chilean actress) who not only has an estranged relationship with her father, who heads the agency, but comes to despise him. The breaking point comes when Mossad apparently abandons her to her Sudanese captors [yeah, like that would ever happen!], and she has to be rescued by … her American colleagues. “They’re not the good guys [referring to Mossad],” says team leader Gibbs in one famous scene. She takes up American citizenship and becomes a formal member of the team.

Indeed, I think the last positive portrayal of Mossad on a US TV series was the short-lived “Under Cover” back in 1989-91. In one episode that aired around the time of Desert Storm, a team of young CIA recruits on a training mission gets caught up in the invasion of Kuwait. One of those trainees hooks up with a group of Iraqi “students” connected to a high-level Iraqi officer intent, he later learns, on sending a missile loaded with bio-toxins to Israel.

But there’s a Mossad operative under deep cover working for that general intent on stopping the operation. Unfortunately, the young CIA recruit, not knowing who he is, gets the Mossad man killed. (There’s a moving scene where he recites the “Hear O Israel” prayer just before being beheaded.) Young CIA guy subsequently loses his own life helping US forces home in on the location to take out the missile. Quite a way down from that to the NCIS portrayal.

One corrective to Debbie’s writeup. The case of the Norwegian waiter was not the only big Mossad screw-up on record. The failed hit on Khaled Meshal in Amman tops that one. Though they managed to douse him with poison on the street, in the commotion several Mossad agents were caught. Jordan demanded Israel provide the antidote if they wanted to see their agents again. They did, and Meshal went on to head Hamas out of Damascus. Israel also had to release Sheikh Yassin from prison, though Israel took him out some years later. This is all detailed in Bergman’s “The Secret War with Iran”.

Raymond in DC on August 31, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    The Mossad is the best. I rarely watch new movies in the theatre anymore. Although my local theatre has INCREDIBLE buttered popcorn, the movies tend to suck. Sad.

    Occam's Tool on August 31, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Surprised they have never made “By Way of Deception” into a movie. It was written by an ex-agent, who divulged some of their trade secrets, which they were not happy with.

Book Worm on August 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I’ll have to see the movie before passing judgment. Nobody expects this film to do the kind of business that, say, the “Harry Potter” or “Spider-Man” films have done. But I’ve found that thrillers, even those that take a measure of artistic license, are worth seeing. And this one co-stars the great Helen Mirren.

Seek on August 31, 2011 at 6:38 pm

With all my respect, very few people know how the Mossad operates. Certain operations not even known within the inner circle. The hundreds of successful missions and executions went unknown and will stay this way. It is the best way to be done. It is called safety and security.

Daniel. on August 31, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Mossad highly respected, but did not do well in New Zealand. For a positive film on early Israel and kibbutzim, see ‘Judith’,1965. Hollywood, but from a book by Laurence Durrell.

    Alan Beck on September 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm

It’s a damn shame that something as cut and dry as Nazi hunters, becomes some stupid drama at the hands of lefties. Yet another reason to hold lefties in contempt.

samurai on August 31, 2011 at 8:11 pm

A bunch of ass hat Brit financed by ass hat who use to run Miramx. By the way Druge has an article from Al Jazarra at the top

madman on August 31, 2011 at 9:23 pm

The idea that the pursuit of justice is something to be over-analyzed or feel gulity about is patently absurd.

Do African Americans make movies about “the pursuit of civil rights has a price”? “WAS IT WORTH IT?”

Or how about “the high cost of women’s sufferage”? “Was the cost of voting rights worth the price women paid?”

Moe Sad on September 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

Book Worm, FYI, “By Way of Deception” was written by a factitious wannabe!

I happen to know some things about the Israeli navy and Victor Ostrovsky’s alleged career jump from the MP’s to heading a Navy program implementing the integration of major weapons (Harpoon surface-to-surface missile and the Vulcan Phalanx anti-missile defense system) without a naval background and without an engineering background simply doesn’t add up.

I realize that’s only one part of his alleged CV but it’s one part I absolutely KNOW doesn’t make sense. Considering this I’d be foolish to believe anything else that Victor Ostrovsky claims…

Eliezer on September 1, 2011 at 4:48 am

IN Covert Affairs, the Mossad agent is played by a Palestinian actor, the one who made it big in the Mummy movies (when his hair was long)

Agnes Bullock on September 1, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Its ironic when Arab actors play Israelis without neuroses and you can’t get Jewish actors to play Israelis in a sympathetic light!

    What’s sad is some Jews don’t appreciate their own people as well as they should.

    NormanF on September 1, 2011 at 8:27 pm

So glad I read your review, we were about to go see the Debt.
The trailers were very interesting. Too bad, we haven’t gone
to the movies since we saw Soul Surfer. Hollywood just doesn’t
make good movies anymore.

Daniel K on September 1, 2011 at 9:44 am

I’ll probably go to this film, although I agree that entertainment media portrayals of the Mossad are questionable at best. I do like author Daniel Silva’s “Gabriel Allon” series of novels, which is a fictional account of the Mossad and its top agent, although the novels never mention the Mossad by name. Silva pretty much paints the Mossad in a positive light, but does show they can make errors too (rarely though!). He also shows that the life of a Mossad agent/assassin can take its toll psychologically, but the characters don’t express any regrets…they do what they have to do to save their nation, especially since many of these agents and their families have been touched by terrorist violence themselves.

However, I do agree that the real-life Mossad would never “lose” a Nazi war criminal…

Justin on September 1, 2011 at 10:33 am

Regarding those leftist Isreali writers of this angst-laden trash, Cicero said it best 2000 years ago:

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.”

jimmyPx on September 1, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been ruminating for it off and on for some time, and voila, here it is. I’m going to copy it to a file so as to be able to refer to it from time to time. Again, many thanks. K

    Kent on September 2, 2011 at 1:42 am

Congress needs to be “Mossad-omized”

CornCoLeo on September 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

I’m actually scheduled to see this movie with my sister later today. Thanks for the heads up, but I’ll now watch it with my eyes open.

Naomi R on September 1, 2011 at 11:19 am

I can’t wait ’til DS reviews that loon George Clooney’s new film. He is so embarrassing and a total tool. He actually just said this…

“As for running for president, look, there’s a guy in office right now who is smarter than almost anyone you know, who’s nicer and who has more compassion than almost anyone you know. And he’s having an almost impossible time governing. Why would anybody volunteer for that job?” Mr. Clooney told a news conference.

Oh, ok sexy George. Perhaps if you’d get your friggen head out the private parts of sexy girls, you’d be able to take notice of the ugly TRUTH these days. King George certainly breathes in a very rarified air on his dopey planet (Oh, and it’s not Ron Paul’s planet…Planet Zog. It’s an even more stupid planet than Zog!) Even that butt-munch Matt Damon is not so stupid to still think that about Zero. But then again, he’s married.

Skunky on September 1, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Private Eye on September 1, 2011 at 5:13 pm

Movies like this could actually be a blessing to the Mossad.
During WWII I’ve heard of German commanders telling their troops that the American soldiers were buffoons like Abbott and Costello, so their first few engagements towards the Americans were not as ferocious as they could have been.
They learned the hard way what a mistake that was.
As long as the Mossad stays true to their mission propoganda like this can be exploited to their advantage.

T.Y. on September 2, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Where did you pick up this? Must be an urban legend.

    The 1st encounter between the Nazi German and American armies was the battle of Kasserine pass where Rommel’s veterans initially kicked ass of the untested American troops. But later Rommel said that “No other army makes so many mistakes but learns from these mistakes as quickly as the American army”. So the 1st American troops the Germans met were indeed buffoons like Abbott and Costello, but quickly improved later on.

    Begletz on September 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I agree with T.Y.

The problem is that barbarians can catch up on BS, too.

Never underestimate your enemies.

The Reverend Jacques on September 2, 2011 at 2:15 am

I saw the move yesterday. Found it to be enjoyable. Then, I went on a hunt to find some “definitive” truth about the story but so far, have been unable to.
Can anyone point me to it?
Key question: Did they let him escape or did they/she take him out (either in ’67 or in ’97?

TTB on September 3, 2011 at 9:54 am

It is a fictional story!

Jerry on September 3, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Agnes, you are thinking of Oded Fehr, he is Jewish and Israeli, and he did serve in the IDF.

Jew613 on September 5, 2011 at 6:27 am

I saw the movie. Debbie was spot-on in her review. The movie is Anti-Semitic in its core; it also attempts to paint the Israelis as mirror images of the Nazis they pursue (a common theme with Anti-Semites as evidenced by the fact they like to call Israelis Nazis, or attempt to use themes like ethnic-cleansing with the Jews vis-a-vis the Nazis). If you must see the movie (which is also a boring piece of dreck), wait until it comes out on DVD and rent it.

King David on September 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Your reviews are always duly considered before deciding what on to see. In this particular case, I am skipping the Debt both now and later, the rental DVD, and finally ignoring it at the neighbors yard sale next year.

Piglet_U93 on September 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm

What Muslim/Arab group provided the financing for THE DEBT…..could not have been paid for by some gays and leftist alone
Please tell me.

I have spent all day on the Internet and can not get an answer.

Thank you

Christian on September 8, 2011 at 10:57 am

I just reviewed this at both Netflix & Amazon as anti-Semitic. And the fact that a doctor overcame a Krav Maga trained Mossad is pitiful. Good review!

pegleg on May 15, 2012 at 10:49 am

Liked your review of THE DEBT, recently shown on UK TV.
Stirred up same Qs in social media.
Our news site will publish your review if you care to share it.
Just email the editor.

Sarah Miller on June 9, 2014 at 7:07 pm

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