Scott Tibbs
blog post
January 10th, 2005

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Steven Spielberg's Munich (see IMDB profile here and Rotten Tomatoes profile here) has gotten rave reviews and Oscar buzz. It has also been the subject of controversy in how Spielberg deals with a fictionalized account of the alleged Israeli retaliation against the "Black September" terrorists that brutally murdered 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Olympic Games.

I watched Munich on Sunday night. As an action/drama, the movie is well done. The action, acting and story are worth watching, if this was simply a work of fiction. However, the movie is as much a political statement as an effort to entertain the audience and that political message cannot be ignored when reviewing Munich.

Spielberg does not draw a distinct moral line between Israel and the terrorists. Instead, he paints the Israel/Arab conflict as a never-ending cycle of violence. The interaction between Avner (Eric Bana) and his superior at the end reinforces this point. The twin towers of the World Trade Center are prominent in the background after the men go their separate ways, implying that we brought September 11 on ourselves by continuing this cycle of violence. I found this offensive.

What Spielberg and other critics of this war fail to realize is that we are not dealing with an enemy we can negotiate with. We could not negotiate with Nazi Germany or imperial Japan; they had to be defeated militarily. We could not negotiate with the former Soviet Union. Thankfully, the USSR collapsed under the yoke of Communism that spared us the need to fight them directly. Like our previous enemies, neither Israel nor we can negotiate with Islamists. They seek the destruction of America and the complete annihilation of Israel and of Jews in the Middle East.

There is a sharp, clear moral line between the Mossad operation to kill the "Black September" monsters (if it actually happened) and the actions of Arab terrorists. Israel does not specifically target innocent civilians for murder, while Arab terrorists do. What happened at the Munich games was demonic; what Mossad allegedly did was bring justice to these monsters and send a message that Israel will not stand for the brutal murder of innocent people.

Final grade: F