ZOA: Don’t See Spielberg’s ‘Munich’ Unless You Like Humanizing Terrorists & Dehumanizing Israelis
December 27, 2005

The ZOA is urging everyone to stay away from the new Stephen Spielberg film ‘Munich,’ after condemning the film as not only promoting fiction as fact but also having promoted a moral equivalence between Arab terrorist and Israelis who want to vanquish those terrorists. ‘Munich’ is a fictionalization of the events that followed the murder of 11 Israeli athletes by PLO terrorists at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972 and depicts the Israeli mission to eliminate the perpetrators of the Munich massacre as behaving like the terrorists themselves.

Spielberg further attempts to humanize the Palestinian Arab killers by legitimizing their murder of Jews as their only way to establish a Palestinian state. (But no mention is made of the fact that if a Palestinian state was the real issue, they could have created one between 1948 and 1967 when Arabs controlled all of Judea, Samaria, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem).

A host of critics have deplored the film. Some examples:

Leon Wieseltier (The New Republic): “Munich prefers a discussion of counterterrorism to a discussion of terrorism; or it thinks that they are the same discussion. This is an opinion that only people who are not responsible for the safety of other people can hold.”

Mitch Webber (New York Sun ): “The implication is that [Prime Minister Golda] Meir was reluctant to hunt down the terrorists responsible for the Munich massacre, and that doing so was contrary to Israeli, and civilized, values. The truth is just the opposite. Meir understood that Israel’s chief obligation is to ensure that Jews will never again be slaughtered with impunity, simply for being Jewish. Holding mass murderers accountable is not a compromise … Spielberg and Kushner end up glorifying Jewish victims, but deploring those who would keep Jews from becoming victims.”

Warren Bell (National Review): “‘Munich’s simple-minded morality like this: “When good guys kill bad guys, they’re as bad as bad guys.”

Andrea Levin (CAMERA): “…the message that Israel was brutal, bungling and immoral in its reaction to the massacre… During the movie’s production, numerous Israelis with knowledge of the actual events disputed Spielberg’s central themes. But the Hollywood director, along with Kushner, ignored them and insisted on their own dark story.”

Jonathan Tobin (Jerusalem Post ): “…the film still fails its subject matter. That’s because the goal here is not merely to wrongly argue that the battle against Palestinian terror is as criminal as anything the terrorists have done; its purpose is also to humanize the terrorists.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We urge moviegoers not to ‘vote’ for the making of this anti-Israel film by going to see it. We must send a message to Spielberg that we will not support a film that libels Israel and humanizes these haters and killers. In Spielberg’s attempt to humanize these Arab terrorists, he actually said, ‘Well, the Arab terrorists are human and have families.’ But the Nazis were also ‘humans’ and had families. Did that make their crimes any less evil?

“The first thing to note is that Spielberg’s ‘Munich’ is not history. It is a fictionalized account of a story about which much is still unknown. Furthermore, the film does not accurately depict many things that are known about the events. Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir did not regard sending out men to track down the murderers of Israeli civilians as somehow ‘compromising’ Israel’s values — but that is what she ends up saying in the film. When the movie was still in production, numerous Israelis with knowledge of the actual events disputed the story that Spielberg was putting together.

“Spielberg’s ‘Munich’ conveys the distorted message that Israel was involved in an immoral campaign of killing comparable to what the Palestinian terrorists themselves did, but in fact Israel was eliminating the murderers of Israeli civilians, not deliberately killing innocent civilians. By omitting completely the fact that Germany set free the Munich terrorists and therefore necessitated Israel’s counter-terrorism campaign in the first place, and by fudging the moral distinction between terrorism and counter-terrorism, ‘Munich’ presents a deeply flawed depiction of events.

“It is noteworthy that one of the screenwriters, Tony Kushner, is an avowed opponent of Zionism who has stated, ‘I wish modern Israel hadn’t been born.’ It is hard to imagine someone wishing Israel didn’t exist doing justice to the concerns and needs of that state. As such, he makes an astoundingly poor choice of writer for a film that deals with Israel’s battle to survive and track down the killers of Israeli civilians following an epidemic of PLO terrorist assaults on Israelis in the early 1970s.

“Given these facts, the ZOA is appalled that the Anti-Defamation League’s National Director, Abraham Foxman, has defended this film saying, ‘We do not think this is an attack on Israel. We do not think this is a film of moral equivalency … [the film] shows with respect and understanding … the need to respond to terrorism.’ For some reason, Abraham Foxman is willing to endorse a film that libels Israel and humanizes terrorist murderers committed to destroying her while also attacking Christian Zionists who actually do support Israel. This is poor judgment on his part. The ZOA repudiates both positions taken by Foxman and notes that he does not speak for American Jewry as a whole.”

“It is astonishing that someone like Spielberg, who seems to have great anguish about the horror of 6 million Jews murdered by the Jew-killer Hitler while the world did nothing, would be antagonistic to Israel’s decision to do something and hunt down the these Jew-killing Arabs. ZOA votes two thumbs down for Munich. Save yourself $10 and stay home. This ‘second Munich’, like Chamberlain’s Munich, only promotes appeasement of terrorists and the enemies of civilized democracies.”

Renowned singer and actor Ed Ames, who is also President of the ZOA’s Los Angeles chapter, said, “This movie exemplifies the current fare in Hollywood, to denigrate Israel and to whitewash Islamic terror. Spielberg and Kushner, both of whom are Jews and both of whom claim to be opposed to prejudice, have joined the bandwagon of Israel bashers. It is a disgrace and this movie is a disgrace, apart from any aesthetic value it may possess.”

  • ZOA Director of Government Relations Dan Pollak appeared on Newsmax TV to deliver his exclusive insight regarding Iran, the U.S., Israel, and more.
  • Newsmax TV: ZOA’s Mort Klein Condemns Biden’s Animus Toward Israel as Sinister, Unrelated to Election & More
  • Center for Law & Justice
    We work to educate the American public and Congress about legal issues in order to advance the interests of Israel and the Jewish people.
    We assist American victims of terrorism in vindicating their rights under the law, and seek to hold terrorists and sponsors of terrorism accountable for their actions.
    We fight anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias in the media and on college campuses.
    We strive to enforce existing law and also to create new law in order to safeguard the rights of the Jewish people in the United States and Israel.