Jump to content

Spielberg's Reply to Critics of Munich


Pangloss
 Share

Recommended Posts

I think this is fascinating given the current context of the "war on terror". It goes right to the heart of a number of issues.

 

The gist of the issue here is that Steven Spielberg's latest film, "Munich", has raised some controversy because of its portrayal of the down side of retribution. The movie focuses on Israel's actions following the killing of its atheletes at the 1972 Olympic games, suggesting that there was an awful price to pay for hunting down those terrorists and killing them. In essence, the cycle of violence continues.

 

I couldn't find the Sun-Times piece, but here's a quote from it at IMDB:

 

http://www.imdb.com/news/sb/2005-12-26/film/4

 

In an interview with Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, Spielberg responded to the central charge by Jewish critics that his film, Munich, depicts the Israeli and Palestinian causes as morally equivalent. "Frankly, I think that's a stupid charge," he told Ebert. "The people who attack the movie based on 'moral equivalence' are some of the same people who say diplomacy itself is an exercise in moral equivalence, and that war is the only answer. That the only way to fight terrorism is to dehumanize the terrorists by asking no questions about who they are and where they come from. What I believe is, every act of terrorism requires a strong response, but we must also pay attention to the causes. That's why we have brains and the power to think passionately. Understanding does not require approval. Understanding is not the same as inaction. Understanding is a very muscular act. If I'm endorsing understanding and being attacked for that, then I am almost flattered."

 

In essence it's a "root causes" argument, but I think it's coming from an interesting source. What do you all think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

honestly, I see this "moral equivelence" thing as a load of bs. Speilberg (though I haven;t seen the film, and i don't plan on doing so) is, in essence exusing the actions of the terrorist, by judging them by the root cause and not their actions. A criminal with an unfortunate beckground is still a criminal. It's may be a reason, but not an excuse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How is he excusing anything? He's saying the people who are accusing him of setting up a moral equivalence are morons. "Understanding does not require approval," he said. I would have thought that it would be obvious that we need to understand our enemies, and that perpetuating a cycle of violence is a bad thing. Those ought to be non-controversial sentiments, I think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How is he excusing anything? He's saying the people who are accusing him of setting up a moral equivalence are morons. "Understanding does not require approval," he said. I would have thought that it would be obvious that we need to understand our enemies, and that perpetuating a cycle of violence is a bad thing. Those ought to be non-controversial sentiments, I think.

 

I wasn't talking about his quote. I was refering to what I had heard about the movie, in other words, that his statements denying the moral equillivance in the movie is false and that Speiberg is trying to "save his own skin" a bit.

 

I understand that that understanding the background of your enemies is a healthy thing, but this movie might be misinterpreted to mean that because we understand the root causes of the terrorist's actions, that it would mean that the actions themselves are excusable... which is not the case, no matter how you look at it.

 

As I said, I'm probably not going to see this movie, but I'm afraid that it may cause people to see too much into the reasons behind the actions, that they forget the actual actions. People are so hung up over those "poor Palestinians" that they forget about the horrible and atrocious crimes the Palestinian terrorist have commited. It has been said that two wrong don't make a right. If that is taken to be true, then the actions of the Palestinan's are not a right.

 

I'm not going to see this movie, because I don't believe in moral equivilance and I don't believe Speilberg's statements that this movie is not about moral equivilence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't seen it either, and so this is kind of a ridiculous argument, but I still don't see how he possibly could have presented it so as to excuse terrorism. Even if there is a "moral equivalence," it seems like it would have to be in condemning both sides equally, not excusing anyone. The point would indeed be that two wrongs don't make a right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't seen it either, and so this is kind of a ridiculous argument, but I still don't see how he possibly could have presented it so as to excuse terrorism. Even if there is a "moral equivalence," it seems like it would have to be in condemning both sides equally, not excusing anyone. The point would indeed be that two wrongs don't make a right.

 

I'm not concerned with what Speilberg intended the film to be. I'm more concerned with how people will inteprete the film. Becuase people view movies as fact, I wonder what effect (if any) the movie will have on people's decisions about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

 

It doesn't matter if Speilberg didn't intend the film to be about moral equivelence, but if that's what people see it as, that's what it will be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"I understand that that understanding the background of your enemies is a healthy thing, but this movie might be misinterpreted to mean that because we understand the root causes of the terrorist's actions, that it would mean that the actions themselves are excusable... which is not the case, no matter how you look at it."

 

well, in response i ask you what you think the general response is to israel's aggressive actions in palestine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well' date=' in response i ask you what you think the general response is to israel's aggressive actions in palestine[/quote']

 

I'd say that it is irrelevant in terms of the thread.

 

But if you must have an answer, I say that the Israeli's are trying to protect their citizen's from being murdered by terrorists. If Israel has made mistakes, I don't believe it's a result any specific ill will against Palestinians, in general. Some of their actions I quesiton, but not their motives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i would say that it is indeed relevant. above, there was discussed the possibility of the public deeming terrorist actions by palestinian militant groups to be acceptable as a result of the film's exposing the perspectives of said palestinian militants. i would say that those actions are indeed justified from the perspective of the said militants. otherwise, they would not commit such actions. but back to the point, what the public thinks of israel's actions in palestine is very relevant indeed. i believe that general public in the us thinks that israel is attempting to defend its citizens and that it has, on occasion, made errors. perhaps if there were only a few isolated cases, "oops" would be a little more acceptable.

 

however, according to statistics, the israeli army has been better at killing palestinians through "accidents" than palestinian militants have been through targeting civilians:

 

according to:

http://www.palestinercs.org/crisistables/table_of_figures.htm

3,769 palestinians have been killed and 29,358 palestinians have been injured since the 29th of september, 2001.

 

according to:

http://www.israel-mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-%20Obstacle%20to%20Peace/Palestinian%20terror%20since%202000/Victims%20of%20Palestinian%20Violence%20and%20Terrorism%20sinc

"1,093 people have been killed by Palestinian violence and terrorism since September 2000."

 

it's no wonder that the palestinians are pissed off. they're getting killed and their banks were raided in late 2000, so they have no money either. and who wants to open a business in palestine if it will probably be destroyed? the palestinians are poor and faced with little option but to hate israel and seek the only aid available, from hamas and related groups. generally this involves the patriarch of a family sacrificing himself and fighting as a hamas member and the children growing up learning bomb chemistry, projectile physics and how to hate israel. but blowing up israelis is not permissible, i believe. however, i don't believe that the general public is getting a good image of israel's actual intentions, which could use some publicity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not concerned with what Speilberg intended the film to be. I'm more concerned with how people will inteprete the film. Becuase people view movies as fact, I wonder what effect (if any) the movie will have on people's decisions about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

It's not fair to condemn Spielberg based on how you think people might interpret his film.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted by ecol

I haven;t seen the film, and i don't plan on doing so

If you don't see it first-hand then your opinions on what Spielberg is trying to convey will be second-hand, at best. Is that what you intend or do you have other specific reasons for not seeing the film?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

however, according to statistics, the israeli army has been better at killing palestinians through "accidents" than palestinian militants have been through targeting civilians:

 

Statistics are often misleading though. You can't simply determine right and wrong by analyzing pure numbers. Just because the IDF happens to have better technology then their Palestinian counterparts doesn't mean that their evil brutes and the Palestinian terrorist are completely justified. Death on either side is indeed a tragic thing, but just becasue the IDF has killed more Palestinians then Palestinians have killed Israeli's does not make terrorism ok.

 

No matter how many people were killed, Israeli violence is always in retaliation to some suicide bomber or another evident, or perhaps in pre-emptive stradegies, planned with intellegence collected from Israel's excellent intellegence agency. It's definately a vicious cycle, but how come it always seems that Israel always plans to step up security measures after an attack, the most recent one is a good example.

 

It's not fair to condemn Spielberg based on how you think people might interpret his film.

 

I'm just trying to explain how I think of his movie, not the man himself.

 

If you don't see it first-hand then your opinions on what Spielberg is trying to convey will be second-hand, at best. Is that what you intend or do you have other specific reasons for not seeing the film?

 

It's true, and I know my information is second hand, so I was hoping someone who saw the movie would've come foward by now to explain things better.

 

I also don't have the money to be going to the movies these days, which is also a factor.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted by ecoli

Israeli violence is always in retaliation to some suicide bomber

Wrt to overt military violence then agreed. But political acts which are produced by a state which has vastly superior assets can be a covert form of violence. Faced with this as a reality then those on the receiving end have little in the way of bargaining power. Is it helpful to call a suicide bomber a "terrorist" and deny any form of terrorism by a state - even if it deems itself democratic?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Statistics are often misleading though. You can't simply determine right and wrong by analyzing pure numbers. Just because the IDF happens to have better technology then their Palestinian counterparts doesn't mean that their evil brutes and the Palestinian terrorist are completely justified. Death on either side is indeed a tragic thing, but just becasue the IDF has killed more Palestinians then Palestinians have killed Israeli's does not make terrorism ok."

 

i could debate you on that, but i'd rather debate you based on statements i have actually made. you totally missed my point. i was not justifying the actions of palestinian militants. rather, i was pointing out the fact that israel is guilty of terrorism in its actions against the palestinian people.

 

i also find it to be ridiculous for you to dismiss such statistics as the aforementioned by stating that the nearly 4:1 ratio in deaths of palestinians:israelis is merely a statistic and therefore not effective for portraying a situation. what would be better? biased essays from both sides stating "it's all their fault?" don't try that with me; it won't fly. but again, that was in response to something i wasn't referring to in the first place.

 

"No matter how many people were killed, Israeli violence is always in retaliation to some suicide bomber or another evident, or perhaps in pre-emptive stradegies, planned with intellegence collected from Israel's excellent intellegence agency. It's definately a vicious cycle, but how come it always seems that Israel always plans to step up security measures after an attack, the most recent one is a good example."

a little idealistic, are we? you know, palestinians would say that their violence is in retaliation for attacks on palestinians that israelis would call retaliation to palestinian attacks, which palestinians would call retaliation against israeli attacks, which israel would call retaliation for palestinian aggression. etc. but of course israel is righteous:rolleyes:

and you just try to say that all israeli actions are righteous and not at all excessive. oh dear. by golly, those (us made) israeli weapons blew up a childrens' hospital as well as a "suspected palestinian militant." once again, those "oops" incidents are nearly four times as deadly as those aggressive acts committed by palestinians. would you say that israel should refine their practices so they don't kill so many bystanders? or should the "accidental" ethnic cleansing continue?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and you just try to say that all israeli actions are righteous and not at all excessive.

 

I never said that. I said that I don't doubt the Israeli gov't's motives, even if some of their actions seem counter-productive.

 

The rest of your post, I'm not going to respond to because it's way off topic. Reopen an old thread if you want to talk about this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

in case you didn't notice, i never said you said that. i dared you to say that.

 

the rest of my post was actually pretty relevant to the discussion at hand, which had indeed, as you pointed out, strayed away from the original topic at hand. but to please you and so as to not let a travesty propogate, i think i'll just start my own thread

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, uh, I saw Munich last night. I didn't like it (too long, too methodical, too gruesome).

 

The main message I got from the movie is that "eye for an eye" is neverending.

Also, I wonder how much of the movie was made up. Either Spielberg has amazing sources or a fantastic imagination.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"... would you say that israel should refine their practices so they don't kill so many bystanders? or should the "accidental" ethnic cleansing continue?

 

OK, so they should teach their children to live for killing Palestinians, strap bombs on them and cheer when they kill a bunch? Would that make you happier?

 

You are being dishonest. Police kill more criminals than vice-versa. Does that make them wrong? Sometimes, but usually not. The suicide bombings occur too randomly to be always tied to an Israli response. They need to learn to complain non-violently. Demonstrate, go on hunger strikes, whatever. They will then see the world, including the US come to their defense more often. They need a Ghandi or an MLK figure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.