Jewish World Review March 2, 2006 / 2 Adar, 5766

And the losers are ... the Jews

By Cal Thomas

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Jews run Hollywood, some say. If they do, one might expect them to produce films that better reflect their heritage and values, rather than serve as apologists for those who wish to exterminate the Jewish people.

This Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony will not only be about the gay-friendly flick "Brokeback Mountain," but also about whether the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will award an Oscar to a film called "Paradise Now," which in January won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. The Golden Globes often foretell which movies are likely to win Oscars.

"Paradise Now" is well-produced propaganda for the Arab-Muslim-Palestinian side and a justification for people who blow themselves up and take innocent children, women and men with them. The film is about two young Palestinian males and their decision to become homicide bombers (I deliberately use the word "homicide," because it better reflects the true intentions of the killers, rather than "suicide," a word used to describe people who take only their own lives).

The film recalls a real event when a homicide bomber boarded a bus in Haifa, Israel, on March 5, 2003. Ironically (or maybe deliberately), this Sunday, March 5, is the date of the Oscar presentations. The killer dispatched 17 people from there to eternity. Nine of the dead were schoolchildren, ages 18 or younger. Most people would find such a horrific act beyond the pale of any religion or politics, much less entertainment, but apparently Hollywood thinks it good movie material.

Yossi Zur, the father of one of the dead children, inspired a petition drive that at last count had collected more than 30,000 signatures. The petition asks the Academy to revoke the "Paradise Now" Oscar nomination. In an article written for The Israel Project, Zur expresses his grief for his then-16-year-old son, Asaf, adding, "'Paradise Now' is a very professional production, created with great care for detail. It is also an extremely dangerous piece of work, not only for Israel and the Middle East, but the whole world."

Zur went to see the film and wonders, "What exactly makes (it) worthy of such a prestigious (Golden Globe) award?" He asks if Hollywood might also think a film sympathetic to the objectives of the 9/11 hijackers could someday be made. Why not? Didn't those men believe their act was righteous and in their "desperation" thought it the only way to get America's attention for their "plight"? Zur wonders if the terrorists get their hands on a nuclear, biological or chemical device that they use to kill 100,000 or more people whether the film industry will think that worthy of cinematic and sympathetic treatment.

Some critics of Steven Spielberg's "Munich" think that film crossed the line in portraying the Palestinian murderers of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics sympathetically and the Jewish avengers who hunted down the perpetrators as responsible for the continuing "cycle of violence." Jewish guilt can be hazardous to Jewish health.

What is especially troubling is that Hollywood's reservoir of sympathy is shallow and extends only to certain "favored" subjects. Would the film industry do a movie about Joseph Stalin and how the forced famine he instigated in the 1930s in which an estimated 7 million people died was really about putting overweight Russians on a needed diet? How about a film on the life of China's Chairman Mao, considered the top killer of the last century? A talented scriptwriter might portray Mao's genocidal acts as a commitment to population control.

It's probably too late to influence the Academy, but as Zur wrote after the Golden Globes ceremony, "Awarding a movie such as 'Paradise Now' only implicates the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in the evil chain of terror that attempts to justify these horrific acts, whether the number of victims is 17 (as on that Haifa bus) or 17,000."

The same might be said of the Academy on Sunday night, depending on who "the winner is."