Spielberg’s List

Published December 23, 2005, issue of December 23, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

“Munich” is not Steven Spielberg’s best movie, but that’s not saying much. Even at his worst Spielberg spins a very, very good yarn, and his latest, a spy thriller about Israelis hunting down Palestinian terrorists in the wake of the 1972 Olympics massacre, is by no means his worst.

It does seem to be bringing out the worst in just about everyone around him, though. Somehow the word has gotten out that this is the moment to pile on to Hollywood’s biggest moneymaker, and now, as Jimmy Durante used to say, everybody wants to get in on the act. Cinema purists sneer at the straightforward storytelling, apparently having just learned that Spielberg isn’t Kurosawa. Intellectuals are shocked — shocked! — to find that Spielberg’s moral messages are uncomplicated ones of loyalty and kindness. Presumably they’ve never seen “E.T.”

Oddest of all, defenders of Israel are working themselves into a lather over the film’s supposed anti-Israel animus. Critics from the Jerusalem Post to the New York Times have attacked “Munich” for “humanizing” and “excusing” Palestinian terrorists, for having “no place in its heart for Israel,” for reading a dangerous “moral equivalency” into the Middle East conflict.

This is odd because the film ultimately is not about the Middle East conflict. It is, in the deepest sense, an Israeli story about Israelis struggling to reconcile duty and conscience, to make sense of the violence imposed on them by their enemies. True, Spielberg did tell Time magazine that he sees the film as a “prayer for peace,” a parable about the dangers of intransigence on both sides. But






Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.