In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2006 / 4 Teves, 5766

‘Munich’ succeeds as a film, fails as political commentary

By Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ever since World War II, the German city of Munich has been symbolic of a single, solitary political lesson: the folly of "appeasement." The 1938 Munich Pact represented the futility of compromising with evil. This was always a bit unfair to poor British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who had better reasons to sign on to the pact than most people remember. But the moral of the story was a good one, going all the way back to Aesop, who told the fable of the scorpion and the frog, which ends with the frog being shocked that the scorpion would sting him even though the scorpion could do nothing else, for that was its nature.

Hitler was a scorpion, and thinking or hoping otherwise wouldn't change that fact. Much of the Cold War was predicated on this lesson, as the World War II generation agreed not to let down its guard ever again.

Steven Spielberg would like to rewrite the meaning of Munich. In his film about the response to the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, Spielberg seems determined to invest the word with a new meaning: We must not treat scorpions like scorpions.

As craft, Spielberg's "Munich" is a fine piece of work. Its status as art is much more debatable. But, as political commentary, it's dangerously deceptive and, to a certain degree, childish.

The tone of moral equivalence begins, grotesquely, when Spielberg interposes the photos of the murdered Israeli athletes with the photos of the men responsible for the Munich attack. See, they're just soldiers of their respective causes. Never mind that the "Olympic ideal" is supposed to be about putting aside political grievances. Oh, and don't give another thought to the fact that the murdered Israelis were unarmed civilians, most of whom were shot with their arms tied behind their backs. In this allegorical film, facts are irrelevant abstractions while abstractions masquerade as facts.

Which brings me to my real gripe with the film. Plenty of reviewers have denounced the shabby moral equivalence in "Munich." They've criticized Spielberg's myopic explanation for Israel's existence (after the Holocaust, Jews had to go somewhere and, hey, this scrap of desert by the sea was convenient). They've complained, rightly, that all of the Jews in the film are either reluctant murderers or eager ones. They've cataloged the distortions and omissions: Golda Meir is cast as reluctant to hunt down the terrorists — which she wasn't — while Spielberg leaves out the fact that Germany forced her hand by releasing the terrorists in its custody, virtually declaring that slaughtering Jews on its soil was once again not a crime, etc, etc.

But there's a more fundamental complaint to be made. People are not nations. Spielberg childishly cannot see this.

The protagonist of Munich, Avner (Eric Bana), is an endearing Mossad agent who loves his family dearly. He's willing to do anything for Israel, so long as he doesn't have time to think about it. When he actually starts to reflect on the violence he's committed, it tears him apart, the lesson being that the "cycle of violence" is perpetuated only by those who don't think about the consequences of their bloodlust. Avner becomes paranoid and tormented. He comes to his senses at the end and abandons Israel to live in Brooklyn, away from a nation that refuses to come to its senses.

This lesson is obvious from the moment we meet Avner, but Spielberg pounds it into us over and over again. In interviews Spielberg underscores the point that if Israel and the United States don't abandon violence, they will be corrupted by it and only invite more violence to boot. The only solution lay in "rational minds, a lot of sitting down and talking until you're blue in the gills," Spielberg told Time. He even closes the film with the World Trade Center in the background, to presage what the future holds for those who don't turn their backs on violence.

Except in the most cliched sense, this is all nonsense. Of course, individuals can get burnt out or twisted or otherwise deranged from violence. But where is the evidence that because this happens to individuals it must happen to societies? Is the Israel that Spielberg loves really so warped as the logic of his film suggests? Is the United States? No doubt many of the soldiers fighting Nazis in WWII were traumatized by the bloodshed. Did their experience make America sick and twisted? Was the solution to the "cycle of violence" in, say, "Schindler's List" to get all the Nazis around a table and talk until they were blue in the gills while the gas chambers continued to churn?

Yes, it is unfair to compare Palestinians to Nazis. But it is not unfair to compare the terrorists of Munich '72 or al-Qaida to Nazis. By attempting to replace Munich of '38 with Munich of '72, Spielberg would have us believe that not only was Chamberlain right, but Aesop was wrong.

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