Saturday, September 23, 2017

From Exodus to Munich: A Response to Forest Rain

Michael Lumish

{Also published at the Elder of ZiyonJews Down Under, and The Jewish Press.}

Forest Rain has written a smart piece published in Israellycool entitled, From Exodus to Munich: How Did We Get Here?

This is an interesting bit of cultural inquiry that wonders how the Jewish people in Israel went - in the popular Western imagination - from plucky and outnumbered victims seeking sovereignty (Exodus, starring Paul Newman in 1960) to what is, essentially, the "galut" mentality of semi-neurotic self-doubt in Steven Spielberg's Munich.

Concerning Exodus, Forest Rain writes:

"This is the first, the only movie I have ever seen that has empathy (rather than sympathy), not for the Jewish victim but for the Jewish survivor – admiration for the people who had been to hell and back, that had more spirit than anything else and were willing to do whatever it takes to be free in the land of their ancestors."

Forest Rain is, for very good reason, a tad more skeptical of Steven Spielberg's Munich.

She writes:
Steven Spielberg did a deep service to the preservation of Jewish heritage by creating the Shoah Foundation and documenting the testimonials of Holocaust survivors. His movie, Schindler’s List, has become a staple in teaching children about the Holocaust. I’m sure, when he chose to create Munich, he did not intend to create a film filled with poisonous, anti-Israel propaganda. And yet, shockingly, that is exactly what he created.
In Exodus, the Paul Newman character (Ari Ben Canaan) is a proud, strong Jew and military commander, fighting unapologetically for the establishment of the State of Israel and for the well-being of the Jewish people in our continuously conquered homeland.

Spielberg's Munich, on the other hand, according to Forest Rain:
show conflicted Jews. Jews (especially Israelis) who are strong but feel bad about it. The IDF soldier that does not want to fight, is afraid or doesn’t want to “hurt the poor Palestinian” is a particularly popular character.
Spielberg's emotive standpoint is close to Ari Folman's 2008 Waltz with Bashir wherein the main character is so horrified by whatever role he thinks that the Jews played in the 1982 Lebanese Christian massacre of Arab-Muslims in Sabra and Shatila that he cannot even remember it.

He psychologically blocks it out.

He cannot emotionally face the idea that while he was a soldier in Lebanon Jews may have been complicit in the Christian murder of Muslims. Or, at least, that he - himself, personally - may have been complicit.

Ultimately, Forest Rain and I wonder along similar lines.

She concludes:
From Exodus to Munich, how did we get here? More importantly, how do we go back?
I do not know that I believe in the notion of "national characteristics" but if there is such a thing ours were forged, in part, through the continual irrational malice of larger powers, both European and Muslim.

And while we can never go back to the Western sympathies pre-1967 what we can do is stand up unashamedly for ourselves as did Ari Ben Canaan in Exodus.

The popular sensibility among "soft" anti-Zionists on the western-left is that we are well-meaning murderers.

The friendliest among them tend to be vaguely sympathetic, but ultimately come down on the side of the enemies of the Jewish people.

They honestly believe that Arabs seek to murder Jews because we are mean. Israel is mean. The Jews, as a matter of schadenfreude, are the New Nazis.

Although they understand about the Shoah, they also consider Israeli Jews to be persecutors of the bunny-like "indigenous Arab population" and this is why "one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter."

The Jewish people will not retrieve western-left sympathies anytime soon. That is simply out of the question. It is not going to happen and it eludes me why we should continue to try.

What we should do is send our young people to Krav Maga training because there is pretty good chance that they might need it.


  1. Forest Rain wonders why Hollywood would have made a movie like Exodus. One answer to that is that the book was a smashing success best seller.

  2. I like this part of Forest Rain's criticism of the film Munich:

    "Do you really think for a moment that those sent to eliminate the perpetrators of the Munich massacre were conflicted? Today it is politically incorrect to say that they knew the righteousness of their cause."

    Of course they weren't conflicted. Tony Kushner is conflicted.

    1. Precisely.

      And there is no reason to be conflicted now.

      When the Palestinian-Arab leadership begins to teach their people about peaceful cooperation with their Jewish neighbors then we can talk about the Jewish sins of self-defense, but not before.

  3. THIS is the kind of bizarro world we live in.

    1. I see London,
      I see France,
      but this I could do without.

  4. Just in case you were wondering, in a very few short years from now, Israel will be viewed by the media and Hollywood as they do the Confederacy. I mean, you get that, yes? But again, who cares? It's mostly strange people whining about a place they've never been to, never will be and their only contact with people from there are the people who abandoned Israel. Which, not to put too fine a point on it, is biased on its face. I come across Israelis all the time in Shul and they can't tell you enough bad things about their former home. That's why they left in the first place.

    As I've said for years, diaspora Jews and Israel have been on diverging tracks for a long time. Diaspora Jews really don't 'need' Israel because they substituted progressivism for Zionism and Judaism years hence. And Israelis? Do they need the well-wishing of diaspora Jews? Not really. They don't work or pay taxes there, they don't vote and they don't serve. Israel is a first world country, and she won't perish with a decrease in a few donations from diaspora Jews. The reality is we don't need or like each other and we shouldn't worry too too much if we stop talking to each other.

    1. I have frequent contact with an Israeli who lives and works here. He's quite proud of his country and has an Israeli flag on his desk. In fact, I know several Israelis here who love their country.

  5. Palestinian terrorist kills 3; Palestinian gov't announces him a hero and gives family 6000 shekels now and 2600 shekels a month for life. International community loves these Jew killers and laughingly thinks peace can be made with them.

  6. Interpol has admitted terrorist Palestinian Authority as a member. Sometimes I swear I have stepped into an alternative universe ffs.