Sunday, March 26, 2006


I hated Munich. Because of all of the hype about the film I was looking forward to something new, perhaps even something slightly balanced. A very convenient controversy indeed. Zionists saying that Munich is unbalanced in favor of Palestine seems to legitimize the "non-bias" of the film. I had high hopes considering the hullabaloo. Was Zionist criticism of Munich just a ploy, my inner voice asks. Supposedly, Munich actually showed some sensitivity to Palestinian history and to what occurs in Occupied Palestine to this very day, which made pro-Zionists mad. Exactly which part of Munich was sensitive towards Palestine, I don't know. The film should have been titled “Nearly Three Hours of American Zionist Propaganda.”

The synopsis: Terror prone Palestinians force moral, righteous Israeli Jews to lose their humanity since Israelis must use unscrupulous tactics to fight and kill Palestinians.

Storyline: Some crazy multiple necklace wearing, Seventies Afro-sporting, side burned Palestinian terrorists, unorganized and whacky-disco looking as they are, take hostage some buff, brave Israeli Olympians in Munich in 1972. Everyone present dies, and moral and righteous Golda Meier commissions a hit squad to bump off the Palestinians thought to have had a hand in organizing the Munich incident. The clothes and scenery are so authentic to the Seventies that it actually brings you there down the pant leg of a pair of bell bottoms. An Israeli pant leg, not a Palestinian one. There was no cohesive explanation of how or why Palestinians would do such an ugly thing. Something about releasing prisoners whom Israel holds for security reasons, mentioned in a sentence long news clip. No light shed on the Zionist colonization of a land that had already belonged to someone else. Scarce mention of Palestinian refugees and the endless calculated Israeli military aggression.

We meet Avner, a hot looking, muscular, side burn sporting Israeli husband and father, and watch him and his hit squad pals lose their humanity and sanity as they compromise their Jewish moral values by being circumstantially forced to kill some shady Palestinians. Among the shady Palestinians are a well-spoken professor, a bitter to be in exile bourgeois dad, and a chatty, red-checked headdress and disco-suit wearing man who gabs with strangers on hotel balconies. All of these Palestinians give the impression that they are thoroughly intelligent and likeable guys. But of course, you can’t trust a Palestinian since even those in sheep’s clothing are wolves. These sophisticated, articulate, seemingly normal men are all secretly involved in terrorism. The message is less than subtle. The film is balanced only by the fact that one of the Israeli hit squad members has a little Afro-puff, too.

Throughout the film we get huge doses of Zionist propaganda: Palestine didn’t exist as a nation state before Israel was created. Palestine is just a bunch of olive trees in rocky soil so why do Palestinians want their land back so badly? Just give it up, you sods! Why don’t other Arab nations absorb the Palestinian people? Other Arabs don’t give a crap about Palestine and they only care about Israel because they hate Jews so much. Palestinians want to see Israel destroyed. Jews need a homeland. Jews need a homeland even more because of the Holocaust. Palestinian resistance to Israel has parallels to what happened to Jews during the Holocaust. Even Europe hated its Jews, so Israel is the only answer to keeping Jews safe. Jews outside of Israel are homeless Jews. Palestinians are fighting for Palestine because of some illegitimate esoteric notion of homeland, when it is Jews who really need a homeland in Israel. The Israeli government is ultimately good and hates having its arm twisted into the dirty job of occupation, expulsion, oppression, and murder of Palestinians. Palestinians are terrorists. Israel is likeable; Israelis are recognizably Western and good. Palestine is abhorrent; Palestinians are distastefully foreign and bad.

Basically, this is more of the same ole' same ole’ message that Zionists have been propagating for decades. Unfortunately since average American audiences never get an alternative message to this one, Munich is just reinforcement propaganda. Note that the film, which has been called “balanced,” only gives one line snippets and sound bytes from the Palestinian perspective, but gives hours of Israeli propaganda. Where-oh- where was the Palestinian side of the story in this movie? If this film were truly balanced it would have also addressed the story of Palestine from a Palestinian perspective and perhaps shown more than a single clip of the Arab land. Aside from a couple of scenes of the Palestinian reaction to the hostage crisis in Munich at the beginning of the film, and the men assassinated by the Israeli hit squad, there are NO Palestinians in the entire film. But the film was supposedly lauded as being balanced? Wait, there was a Palestinian perspective. One of the assassinated Palestinian guys, the only hot looking Afro-free one, is used as a manipulative tool. He, the film’s Palestinian voice, is used to reiterate the same ole’ same ole’ message of Zionist propaganda mentioned above. I know there aren’t a lot of good cash making roles for Arab dudes in Hollywood, even cute dudes like the one who played that character. But Arab dudes in Hollywood, how can you accept such roles and further the Zionist cause? Where the heck are your ethics?

Speaking of ethics, according to Munich, only Israelis really have them, and Avner struggles with losing his. Near to the end of the film there is this really grotesque sex scene that should have been edited out. Basically, Avner is bombarded with images of what must have happened in Munich at the Olympics while going at it with his spouse. The scene was icky, eeewh, gross, bleh, disgusting, simulation of rape-like, and just plain weird. It was supposed to symbolize how Avner has lost his ability to connect with his wife and family due to his experience as an assassin. This was the toll of the conflict on his personal life. Instead it made me as a female audience member feel really uncomfortable.

Anyhow, the plot of the film Munich is tired and trite. Yep, WE KNOW! War is bad. People who experience the violence of wars and conflicts get messed up in the brain. Good people suffer and lose their scruples. That is not a new story or a new movie plot. (The horror, the horror…) The lack of genuine sensitivity towards the Palestinian side of this particular conflict is not new either. Nor was any of the Zionist propaganda. Basically, it was just more of the same ole’ crapola.

Originally Published at LuckyFatima


Safiya said...

I read this on your blog and wondered when it would be posted here.

Thanks for the review, I was considering going to see Munich but I don't think I'll bother now.

Have you heard of the upcoming Turkish film called "In the Valley of the Wolves" (I think)? It sounds very interesting. Alt did an article about it recently.

hamesha: said...

Safiya I would still advise going to see Munich for yourself. Despite its decided partiality, it is still a movie worth noting and talking about.. I guess since now it is out of the theatres you would have to wait for it to come out on DVD... I watched the French/Turkish movie you are referring to, and frankly, found it more disturbing... in the best tradition of what orientalism is all about... exoticizing the East and the Muslim world to the point of making it other-worldly... also worth watching...

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Small Blue Thing said...

Must disagree. Absolutely.

I don´t think Munich is a movie about Palestine or Israel but a story about hate. It´s a story about what happens when you believe you have the right to kill _and I speak about the main character, a soldier who´s decided to become executor and judge, and because of it loses everything in his life, his humanity, his family _almost literally, and what is even worst, speaking about an israelian, he loses his right to have a home in Israel since the moment he starts to do his job. His journey hasn´t an end, even after exile.

And it´s in this paradox _a jew expelled from his home for other jews who set him out in the name of a supposed Jew Great HOMEland... where relays the incredible strenght of this movie. The guy could be spanish fighting basque terrorism and it could be the same at the end. Hate means loosing.

Love and salams

محمد النقيب said...

actually it was stupid from us to expect a balanced movie by steven speilperg who was the director of chindler's list,if i look at the movie from a neutral prespective ,and judging it as amovie,the acting was good,directing and effects was also good,but the story line,looked like some advertisement about the israeli cause,very biased movie i may say,it shows that the israelis only did the killing for revenge and they are moral people,where was their moralty in genin ,bahr el bakar and yafa ,golda maer moral!!!,unfortunately the arab media is very weak in comparison which makes us loos alot ...the only thing i may consider balanced in this movie is when the israeli senior officer told the young officer that they didn't take this land(meaning palestine) by being nice...the rest of the movie is just some crap for me..

Khadiijah said...

I think I'll have to watch this now.