Oscar night is March 5. There are three Oscar nominees of special Jewish interest: “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days,” “Paradise Now” and “Munich.”
Sadly, all are “war” movies. Jews are objects rather than subjects in “Sophie Scholl” and “Paradise Now.” “Sophie Scholl” and “Paradise Now” are about how Germans and Palestinians respectively confront(ed) their power or powerlessness in the face of injustice. By coincidence, “Sophie Scholl” is set in Munich. “Munich” is about how Jews confronted being victims and victimizers; the fact that it’s very much about ourselves is why some — unfairly and with excessive emotion — regard filmmaker Steven Spielberg now as anti-Israel.
Israel Horizons has a review of “Munich” in the coming spring issue. Our writer, Mairav Zonszein, director of the UPZ, was disappointed with Spielberg’s latest work– seeing it as overly long and not credible in its portrayal of Mossad agents. But these quotes state her view of the charge that “Munich” is anti-Israel: “… the Palestinians kill innocents as an objective, while the Israelis kill innocents out of error…. anyone who claims [‘Munich’] is anti-Israel is just crying wolf.”
Spielberg is pro-Israel in his intent, but he has this tortured liberal way of showing it; I am reminded of those harsh lyrics by Phil Ochs, “Love Me, I’m a Liberal” (or the Israeli equivalent, “Shooting and Crying”). Spielberg enigmatically obscured his Israel sympathies by hiring as one of his screenwriters, Tony Kushner — a vocal critic of Israel (although not truly a hater of Israel).
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