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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Black September’

Plans for Munich Olympics Memorial Unveiled

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Plans for a memorial in Munich to 11 Israelis and a German police officer murdered at the 1972 Summer Olympics there were unveiled on Wednesday, the eve of Rosh HaShanah, at the Bavarian Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs.

The planned hall of remembrance is slated to be built near the site that housed the games and will cost 1.7 million euros (approximately $2.25 million). It will allow visitors to learn about the events and the victims — 11 Israeli athletes and coaches along with the police officer — as well as to view the site of the failed rescue attempt at the Furstenfeldbruck airfield. Ultimately the airport’s tower will be included in the memorial, which is scheduled to be completed by 2016.

The memorial was designed by a team under the auspices of the ministry in consultation with relatives of the victims, the consul general of Israel, experts from the concentration camp memorial at Flossenburg, the Jewish Museum in Munich and the Bavarian State Ministry for Political Education.

Israeli Foreign Ministry department manager for Western Europe Ilan Ben Dov called the 1972 attack “a trauma for my entire generation” and added, “Every Israeli group that comes to Germany as part of a youth exchange and educational cooperation should visit this site.”

Petition for London Olympics Moment of Silence Honoring Munich Athletes Needs Your Signature

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

An online petition headlined “Tell the International Olympic Committee: 40 Years is Enough!” is urging the  International Olympic Committee (IOC) to honor, at the Olympic Games this summer, the memory of 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered at the 1972 Olympics in Munich by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.

The Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, N.Y. initiated the petition. The Jewish Federations of North America is asking communities to support the petition, which is attempting to gather 1 million signatures. So far a little more than 6,500 have signed.

Written by Ankie Spitzer, the wife of Andrei Spitzer, who was killed at the Munich Olympics, the petition reads:

“I am asking for one minute of silence for the memory of the eleven Israeli athletes, coaches and referees murdered at the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich. Just one minute — at the 2012 London Summer Olympics and at every Olympic Game, to promote peace.”

“The Jewish Community Center movement is deeply involved in an effort to create a worldwide viral response to a wrong that has not been addressed since 1972,” JCC  Association President and CEO Allan Finkelstein told JTA. He added, “Let us finally get the Munich 11 acknowledgement and respect they deserve from the international sports community.”

The JCC Association has recognized the Munich 11 during every Maccabiah Games since 1995.

In an official letter to the IOC, Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon also asked that the London 2012 Olympic Games begin with a minute of silence in memory of the murdered Israeli athletes.

Ayalon stressed that past events in the history of the Olympic Games, good as well as bad, should be commemorated in a fitting manner.

Ayalon said that the Olympic Games are based on the principles of equality and brotherhood and added, “We must remain vigilant against acts of hate and intolerance that stand in contrast to the ideals of the international Olympics.”

Ayalon gave a copy of the letter to Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, the widows of two of the murdered athletes, and expressed his support of a petition they initiated calling for the minute of silence.

Olympic Committee Refuses to Commemorate Israeli Munich Massacre Victims

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

A campaign by the widows of two Israeli victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre have had their petition for a memorial at the 2012 Olympic games rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Ankie Spitzer, widow of murdered Israeli wrestler Andre Spitzer, and Ilana Romano, widow of murdered weightlifter Joseph Romano, issued an appeal for a minute of silence at this year’s games, in memory of the violence which marred the Games 40 years ago.

Spitzer told Reuters that the IOC refusal is due to concern that Arab countries would publicly protest the memorial to the murder victims by walking out.  “They say we bring politics into the Olympics, which is not true, because I didn’t ask them to say that there were 11 Israelis,” Spitzer said.  “They tell us that the Arab delegations will get up and leave, to which I said: ‘It’s okay, if they don’t understand what the Olympics are all about, let them leave.’”

On September 5, 1972, Palestinian Black September terrorists stormed the Olympic Village in Munich, and killed 11 Israeli weightlifters, wrestlers, and coaches – two during the surprise attack on the Israeli dormitory, and 9 more in a failed hostage rescue attempt.

Celebrity Airheads and the Terrorists Who Love Them

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

“Hi, I’m Richard Gere and I’m speaking for the entire world. We’re with you during this election time,” said the radiant film star. “It’s really important: get out and vote,” Gere continued, his words simultaneously translated into Arabic. Then, switching to actually speaking in Arabic, he concluded, in a strong American accent, “Take part in the election.”

Gere was speaking in a commercial that was broadcast repeatedly on Palestinian television in January 2006, just prior to one of the first municipal Palestinian elections since the late Palestinian terror leader Yasir Arafat held what were widely regarded as sham local elections about thirty years prior.

This time, Gere was urging Palestinians to vote in local ballots essentially split between the Hamas terrorist organization, responsible for dozens of suicide bombings, and the Fatah organization, responsible for dozens more.

Gere’s co-stars in the commercial were Chief Palestinian Justice Taysir Tamimi and former Greek Orthodox Church spokesperson Atallah Hanna. Tamimi is a well-known terror supporter who regularly delivers fiery sermons on Palestinian television calling for the downfall of America and Israel. Hanna was fired from his church position after being accused of directly aiding terror organizations.

Gere’s appearance on Palestinian television was sponsored by One Voice, a far-left organization run by an Israeli businessman.

Palestinians indeed took Gere’s advice and voted en masse, electing Hamas legislators by a large margin. Hamas officials stated they would use their election victory to lead the Palestinians in their jihad against the West and against Israel.

Abu Abdullah, considered one of the most important members of Hamas’s so-called military wing, told me of Gere’s appearance, “We thank Richard Gere for his efforts in the historic election of the Palestinian Islamic resistance [Hamas].”

Since I don’t know Gere personally, I can’t determine whether he realized he was urging voter turnout in elections between terror groups in one of the most terror-saturated societies the world has ever known or whether he knew Hamas would utilize the legitimacy granted it by the international community’s support of elections, urged on by Gere himself, to demand foreign aid and worldwide diplomatic status for its terror organization.

When I was a kid growing up in a Modern Orthodox household in Philadelphia, I used to observe Hollywood and the music industry with quiet amusement, watching as lamebrain celebrities involved themselves in causes they probably couldn’t spell and made all sorts of pronouncements about issues they largely didn’t have the capacity to understand.

But it wasn’t until I moved to the Middle East in February 2005 and started talking to terrorists that I fully realized just how much damage some of our “antiwar” celebrities are causing.

A lot of terrorists have satellite televisions and advanced communication equipment and are quite adept at browsing the Internet. In today’s wired world, it’s very easy for anyone speaking any language to be updated almost immediately about all kinds of events.

This includes America’s terror enemies, who pay particularly close attention to news of U.S. domestic opinion regarding our government’s Mideast policies. They understand that in the U.S. the fight for public opinion is everything – change public opinion, get American citizens to lose their drive to fight, and the government and military ultimately must change as well. The terrorists time their attacks in part on the status of our national debate and on the American news cycle.

*******

While the terrorists didn’t know much about most American movies, I wasn’t very surprised when they told me they had heard of Steven Spielberg’s 2005 drama “Munich,” which depicts the Israeli government’s secret retaliation for the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes by Black September gunmen.

The terrorists said that though they hadn’t seen the movie they were familiar with it since it deals with Palestinian “resistance” organizations and since the filmmakers, including writers Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, sought out and interviewed some Munich terrorists.

Until I came along, the terrorists assumed that since Spielberg and Kushner are Jewish, the movie was an Israeli propaganda piece, demonizing Black September and depicting the Israelis as victims.

They were quite glad to hear that “Munich” in fact focused almost entirely on the Israeli response to Black September’s operation – on Israel’s assassinations of Black September members – and not on the massacre itself. I told them Spielberg and company boasted that their movie was “balanced,” presenting both sides as moral equivalents.

I read to the terrorists a quote from Spielberg regarding the depiction of Black September terrorists as “militants,” even though they murdered eleven Israelis in cold blood in an act of terror that stunned the world.

“I think the thing I’m very proud of,” said Spielberg in an interview with Time magazine, “is that [screenwriter] Tony Kushner and I and the actors did not demonize anyone in the film. We don’t demonize our targets. They’re individuals. They have families. Although what happened in Munich, I condemn.”

The terrorists responded to Spielberg’s statements, but they wanted me to clarify that they hadn’t seen the movie and based their conclusions on the depiction of “Munich” as I described it.

“We think Spielberg understands that the key is in the Israeli occupation and that no retaliation can stop the Palestinian resistance,” said Al Aksa chief Ala Senakreh. “I did not see the film and I do not need to in order to understand that the coming generation will fight the occupation.”

Hamas activist Ghassan Adassi commented, “The Israelis don’t understand what Spielberg understood, that we do not kill because we like too. We fight because we want to live and the Israeli retaliation and crimes only give us more reason to fight. It seems like Spielberg wanted to say that Israelis are breaking the international law and are pushing the Palestinians to more attacks.”

*******

As a Mideast-based reporter for the popular news site WorldNetDaily.com and a weekly columnist for The Jewish Press, I routinely talk to terror leaders about various news events related to our neck of the woods. I garner their quotes, which usually include vicious anti-American and anti-Israeli propaganda and all kinds of wacky conspiracies

I was amazed when several times I would obtain quotes from terrorists about the day’s news and then see posted on WorldNetDaily quotes on the same topic from television personality Rosie O’Donnell during her stint as a host of ABC’s “The View.” Incredibly, O’Donnell often made almost the exact same statements as the terrorists.

One of many examples was in March 2007, when transcripts were released in which captured alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to the mega-terror attacks and 31 other plots and attacks.

“I was responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z,” Mohammed said in a statement. He also took credit for personally beheading Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and for planning multiple other attacks since the early 1990′s.

Immediately after Mohammed’s confessions were released, I called the terror leaders, who unanimously insisted the confessions were false and were manipulated and forced from Mohammed by a desperate Bush administration.

Abu Jihad, a West Bank leader of the Islamic Jihad terror organization, said President Bush “is under a lot of pressure for victories, so I am sure as part of changing the American public opinion [Bush] needed to orchestrate this confession so he can say he is succeeding even though he is a failure.”

“I am sure the Americans tortured Mohammed and forced him to say these untrue things. Isn’t it strange it took three years since his arrest for the supposed confession? Intelligence agencies are known to make people say they are guilty even though they know it’s not the case,” Abu Jihad said.

Continued the Islamic Jihad terror leader: “With all the respect we have for al-Qaeda, the story of 9/11 remains open. There are many questions about the role of Israel and the Zionists in the affair. America just wants to lie to everybody so they can put people at ease by claiming they caught the culprit.”

Abu Jihad’s sentiments were parroted by several other terrorists I interviewed that day. Then I read a transcript of O’Donnell’s statements on the Mohammed affair from the day’s edition of “The View,” in which she suggested our government elicited a false confession from the alleged terror mastermind.

Pointing out that Mohammed was arrested in March 2003, O’Donnell asked, “Why hasn’t he admitted it until now?”

“They didn’t allow reporters there and he hasn’t had a lawyer,” O’Donnell added, insinuating that Mohammed’s confession was coerced.

“I think the man has been under custody in secret CIA torture prisons and Guantanamo Bay where torture is accepted and allowed – and he finally is the guy who admits to doing everything,” said O’Donnell. “They finally found the guy, it’s not that guy bin Laden, it’s this guy they’ve had since March 2003.”

Suggesting the U.S. was looking for a scapegoat, O’Donnell said of Mohammed, “for whatever he did or didn’t do, he is not the be all, end all of terrorism in America. And our government has not found the answer in this one man.”

When Iran seized fifteen British sailors accused of violating Iranian waters, the terrorists spewed crazed theories that the affair really was orchestrated by a war-hungry Bush administration, seeking an excuse to go to war with Iran.

Lo and behold, later that day I read a transcript from “The View” in which O’Donnell implied the Iranian seizure was a hoax to provide President Bush with an excuse to go to war with Tehran.

“Yes, but it’s very interesting too that, you know, these guys, they went into the water by mistake right at a time when British and American, you know, they’re two, they’re pretty much our biggest ally and we’re considering whether or not we should go into war with Iran,” said O’Donnell.

The terrorists had never heard of O’Donnell, but I detailed her views for them very accurately. They immediately noticed how frequently her statements and theories jibed almost word for word with their own stated views.

I read to the terror leaders multiple Rosie gems, like the time she argued that jailed terrorists are people too and asserted that the U.S. “robs them of their humanity.”

“They’ve been treating them like animalsthey have hoods over their heads, they torture them on a daily basis,” she said.

On one episode of “The View,” O’Donnell said Americans shouldn’t fear so-called terrorists, calling them mothers and fathers.

“Faith or fear, that’s your choice,” she said. “You can walk through life believing in the goodness of the world, or walk through life afraid of anyone who thinks different than you and trying to convert them to your way of thinking.”

“Don’t fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers,” said O’Donnell.

The terrorists were absolutely ecstatic. At first they thought I was making up the Rosie quotes. Even after hearing unpatriotic statements from other celebrities, they still couldn’t believe an American would say the kinds of things Rosie uttered. It took me some time to convince the terrorists that Rosie O’Donnell really does exist.

The one Rosie statement that won all the terrorists over beyond the others was when I told them she’d raised questions on her blog about the 9/11 attacks, implying the buildings were brought down in part to destroy documents incriminating oil giant Enron and other major corporations.

After pointing out conspiracy “factoids” regarding the World Trade Center’s Building No. 7, which collapsed after the two larger “twin towers” fell, O’Donnell wrote that building 7 “contained offices of the FBI, Department of Defense, IRS (which contained prodigious amounts of corporate tax fraud, including Enron’s), U.S. Secret Service, Securities & Exchange Commission (with more stock fraud records), and Citibank’s Salomon Smith Barney, the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management and many other financial institutions.”

The terrorists were in love with Rosie.

“I agree with everything this O’Donnell said,” said Adassi.

“Regarding September 11, there is no way the American intelligence and administration was not aware of what was going to happen that day. How come the Jews and Israelis disappeared from the buildings? Was it by miracle? They knew that an attack would take place. This meant that Zionist elements and the leading elements of the administration who are aligned with economic companies and interests, like Bush and Cheney’s companies of oil, were very interested that the attack would succeed in order to start their campaign for the oil of Iran and Afghanistan.”

Of course, Jews did not “disappear” from the buildings.

Brigades chieftain Senakreh commented, “Many people have been saying this since the first moment it happened. [But] when it comes from persons like O’Donnell it takes a more serious significance. I guess she knows what she is saying.”

The terrorists went on to invite O’Donnell to come live among them in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they said they would ensure she is treated “like a queen.”

“We welcome Rosie O’Donnell to live among us and to get to know the truth from being here, like many American peace activists are doing. It would be a great honor for us if she comes and live with us,” said Senakreh.

“I think that she is a mother and she knows what she is saying. We are not in love with killing, we like peace, we are human beings, it is the occupation that obliges us to do what we do,” Senakreh added.

Adassi agreed and also extended an invitation to Rosie. “She will be most welcomed if she decides to visit us or live here and to get to know what your allies, the Israelis, are doing against our people. We thank her for telling and presenting the truth.”

At that point I broke the terrorists’ hearts by informing them their beloved Rosie is an outspoken lesbian who proudly lives with her female partner.

The terrorists then said O’Donnell could only move to Gaza if she ceased her “Satanic ways” and agreed to abide by the rules of Islam regarding sexual relations.

“Let her still come,” said Adassi. “We will teach her the right ways. She is already on the right path.”

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. His weekly Quick Takes column appears on page 2 of The Jewish Press. This essay was adapted from his book “Schmoozing With Terrorists,” available at major bookstores and Amazon.com.

Spielberg’s ‘Munich’ (Conclusion)

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

We who care desperately for Israel and for the Jewish People don’t need a propaganda film to make our case. A completely truthful account – as Spielberg has given us – will always be in our interest.

Avner and his Israeli hit team are indisputably fragile and human. They have evident weaknesses and irrefutable vulnerabilities. Three of them fall victim to a decidedly human lack of professional discipline and/or to a deficient technical acumen. Hence they do not come across as the Mossad operators and operations more familiar to the cinematic fantasy world inhabited by American and European moviegoers. Ironically, Spielberg’s Israelis are not the usual stuff of Hollywood, but fundamentally “normal” flesh-and-blood human beings. Avner is no James Bond, and his several colleagues are far less conspicuously seasoned agents than they are seat-of-their-pants assassins.

Very early in the film we meet Maj. General Aharon Yariv, Golda’s counter terrorism adviser. Before Munich, he had been IDF commander of the Golani Brigade, and, during the 1967 War, the head of Israel’s military intelligence (AMAN). Interestingly, I had the privilege of knowing “Ahrele” personally, and I sometimes came to speak at Tel-Aviv University on nuclear matters (Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies) at his specific invitation. At our very first meeting, in his office, after some polite conversation about nothing in particular, Yariv leaned over to me, hesitated for a moment, and asked with some incredulity: “Rene, are you really Jewish?”

General Yariv was a diminutive man (he died a few years ago after a massive stroke while driving home from his office), quiet and unassuming. Yet he was correctly credited with having a very big brain, and he understood, always, that the key to success in the intelligence business was invariably intellectual. On at least one occasion we discussed the Mossad operation against Black September. As a professor of international law, I was completely sympathetic to his argument that the Munich terrorists could only be punished extra-judicially. After all, no country was about to extradite any of the murderers to Israel, and the only alternative would have been to leave the killers unpunished.

Nullum Crimen Sine Poena, “No crime without a punishment.” So it is written in the final judgment and subsequent codifications of the Nuremberg Trials Law of 1945-46. Significantly, this ancient principle of law and justice has its roots in the Torah. Known also as the Lex Talionis, the Law of Exact Retaliation, it is a timeless and sacred expectation that must never be canceled. Certainly it must be taken seriously when an Israeli Olympic team is murdered by Arab terrorists.

But let’s return to the movie. Avner and his Israeli team are not interested in the intricacies of international criminal law. Nowhere is there any evidence that they are moved by largely legal arguments for retaliation and punishment. They are, as we have seen, increasingly beset by various doubts, not so much concerning the rightness of Jewish/Israeli revenge as about the guilt of their particular victims. Further, Avner is assuredly reasonable in his apprehension that the Palestinian Arab foe is not unlike the mythic Hydra monster. For every terrorist “head” that is lopped off by Israel, he understands, many others will grow in its place.

This is the authentic dilemma of Israel’s uncertain place in the world. In the final analysis, the key issue of the film is not so much one of complex moral struggle as it is one of tactical expedience. Even if the Israelis can justify their operation in fully legal and ethical terms, it is unlikely to be of much use to them. As Spielberg reveals in MUNICH, the Mossad operation sometimes creates even more heinous Arab terrorists than it destroys.

Personally, I have absolutely no difficulty defending assassination as counter terrorism. Compared to full-scale war, assassination is usually far less destructive of innocent human life, and far less gratuitously harmful. I am also untroubled by the cliched “wisdom” of those critics who claim that even the most just assassins ultimately become the same as their victims. Mossad is not Black September, and the assassination of terrorists is generally required by the rule of Nullum Crimen Sine Poena, “No crime without a punishment.” At the same time, from the point of view of strategic survival, it is of limited utility, especially today – when there are literally tens of thousands of aspiring Arab suicide bombers (prospective “martyrs”) waiting enthusiastically in the wings. Steven Spielberg should not be faulted for understanding this, and for raising questions about even the most lawful Israeli retaliations as expressions of a realistic and pragmatic foreign policy.

In the best of all possible worlds, every country would stand up for Aut Dedere, Aut Judicare, “extradite or prosecute.” But this is hardly the best of all possible worlds, and for the foreseeable future justice in counter terrorism will never be detachable from vengeance. If Spielberg’s MUNICH is to provide us with more than entertainment, and if it is to point us all toward more enduring systems of world order, it will ultimately have to start us thinking about rising above visceral satisfactions and toward some serious long-term solutions. Right now, Israel remains imperiled on many fronts, not only from Palestinian terrorism but also from Iranian nuclearization. It remains our most primary obligation to think about an extended safety for the Jewish State, not just about ad hoc and temporary remedies. To be sure, Spielberg doesn’t help very much in this regard, but to expect otherwise would be to ask much too much of a film maker. We must not blame Spielberg for having stripped away the romantic veneer of international assassination, nor should we fault him for showing some of the human and tactical flaws in Israel’s Order of Battle.

Copyright, the Jewish Press, January 27, 2006.. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for the Jewish Press. He is also Chair of “Project Daniel.”

Spielberg’s ‘Munich’ (Part One of Two Parts)

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

Over the years, I have lectured and published widely on Israeli security matters – often with special reference to assassination and international law. Usually, in these matters, I have tried to point out the positive side of assassination, including informed support for Israel’s ongoing policy of “targeted killings.” In the best of all possible worlds, of course, such killing could never be defended as remediation, but we are still very far from the best of all possible worlds. In the particular case of Israel, a principled rejection of assassination could even be tantamount to national surrender.

On September 5, 1972, Palestinian terrorists calling themselves Black September, an offshoot of Arafat’s FATAH, burst into the dormitory unit housing the Israeli Olympic team and took 11 hostages. When it was over, all the Israelis had been massacred. Three Arab terrorists survived the airfield firefight in Munich, and presumably were never caught or punished by Israel.

In the best of all possible worlds, international law would act with a single and authoritative voice, giving actual substance to the sacred legal principle of Aut Dedere, Aut Judicare (“extradite or prosecute”). Yet, our world remains incontestably anarchic. In this fearful world, self-help is often the only path to justice. For Jews and for the Jewish State, this wisdom is clear and unassailable.

It is with these thoughts in mind that I recently went to see Steven Spielberg’s account of what happened at the Munich Olympics and of the Israeli response. Having heard that Spielberg’s film raised certain questions about the Mossad operation to kill those responsible, I worried that, once again, Jews had become their own worst enemies. When will we finally learn, I agonized, that to act against those who plan our annihilation is perfectly reasonable and correct behavior?

I had heard a great deal about Spielberg’s MUNICH, most disturbingly that it was a spuriously “balanced” and “evenhanded” treatment of the Munich Olympic massacre and its aftermath – a sort of twisted equation between the Arab terrorists and the Jewish counter terrorists. I feared the worst. Here, it seemed, would be yet another prominent Jewish intellectual degrading his own people and refusing to recognize the vital difference between criminals and law enforcers. “Tinseltown,” I was repeatedly warned – under the reprehensible aegis of director Spielberg – had eroded the distinction between victims and victimizers.

I was mistaken. There is nothing in the film’s dialogue to suggest MUNICH as an expression of Jewish self-loathing. Nothing at all. Although the movie does offer an Arab voice, the net effect of this inclusion is actually to underscore Israel’s fundamental right to self-defense and to highlight the other side’s unambiguously willful disregard for all Jewish life. Indeed, by continually panning back to the original murders at Munich, Spielberg carefully reminds the viewer again and again of Israel’s legitimate rationale and of its unchallengeable moral authority.

There are sensitive scenes in the film where the Israeli operatives ask urgent questions about what they are doing. Are they killing the right targets? Are they accomplishing anything purposeful? Are they merely pawns of their Mossad commanders and even perhaps unwitting allies in supporting sister intelligence agencies (e.g., the CIA)? Is Jewish revenge necessarily the same thing as Jewish justice? But this questioning is certainly not a sign of an Israeli weakness or lack of resolve. On the contrary. In stark contrast to the Arab terrorists, who inflict all killing with an impure voluptuousness detached from reason, Spielberg’s Jewish doubt reveals the Israelis as much more than robot murderers. Moreover, it is perfectly obvious that any intelligent and decent persons engaged in the sort of assassination operation described here by Spielberg would ask precisely these sorts of questions. How could it be otherwise?

The film does allow an Arab voice, and it does permit the insidious representatives of Black September to air their hatreds, but that voice is patently shrill and repellent. Nothing about their voice is compelling or persuasive; it elicits not sympathy but only horror and revulsion. In Spielberg’s MUNICH, the Palestinians never deviate from their all-consuming and relentless plan to murder all Israelis and (wherever possible) all Jews. Why, then, should we worry that the film gives strength to their cause?

Some on the Mossad team, especially Avner – the leader – openly share reservations about the entire operation. This is the case even after they have concluded a number of successive (successful?) hits. But this is not by any means a criticism of Israel, nor is it evidence of a weakening Israeli or Jewish resolve. Rather, it speaks to the unilateral thoughtfulness of the Israelis vis-á-vis their identified Palestinian enemies and targets. Spielberg is not being anti-Israel by allowing these traits to be aired. Instead, he has actually reinforced the moral boundary between the monstrous murder of defenseless athletes and the imperative destruction of the murderers and their accomplices. Yes, of course the Israelis used the Munich operation to eliminate other enemies not recognizably complicit in the Olympic massacre. And, yes, of course, they made various mistakes along the way – some of these errors allowing major perpetrators to escape altogether; others resulting in the death of innocent persons. This is just the way it is in the shadowy and inexact world of assassination and world politics. Spielberg should not be blamed here for suggesting the obvious.

(To be continued)

Copyright, The Jewish Press, January 20, 2006. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for the Jewish Press. He is also Chair of “Project Daniel.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/spielbergs-munich-part-i/2006/01/18/

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