Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

"Munich," Israel and never talk to someone who reads the NYT

Yesterday, a die-hard liberal friend ("LF"), who reads only the NYT and listens only to NPR, announced that the commercials for Spielberg's new movie, Munich, didn't look very good. The following conversation ensued:

Me: I've heard it's not a very good movie. Apparently it tries to be all things to all people, and ends up being nothing to nobody. LF: That's not what I heard. The Times liked it. Me: I also heard that Tony Kushner, who wrote the script, hates Israel. LF: God, you're so narrow minded. You're like one of those right-wing Christians the way you refuse to see things like that. [You'll have noticed, dear reader, that I said nothing whatsoever about whether or not I would see the movie. In fact, given that I hate Spielberg movies generally, I'd probably wouldn't pay to see it, but that's a long-standing stylistic boycott in which I've engaged.] Anyway, I HATE ISRAEL, TOO. Me: You what? Why? LF: Because it used to occupy the moral high ground and now it occupies the moral low ground. Me: What are you talking about? You're believing all the anti-Israel propaganda you're reading. Israel is the only Democracy in the Middle East. Israel gives full rights to women. Israel doesn't persecute gays. LF: No, it's not that. I hate Israel because it's a racist society. Me: What are you talking about? Israel gives full voting rights to Israeli Arab .... LF: When I was in Israel in the 1970s, and people were driving around, they'd point out the Arab villages and tell me how shabby they were and what low standards of living the Arabs had.
And that is where the conversation ended. Forced into a corner, LF admitted that his whole problem with Israel was the fact that he decided, when he was a teenager in the 1970s, that the country was irredeemably racist because some old German residents proudly pointed out their accomplishments in the country, and favorably compared those accomplishments to the disarray in which nearby Arabs lived. Well, the fact is that, while the Germans may not have been acting in the best of taste, what they said was true. Aside from a few Arab potentates, must of whom lived in Paris, London or Istanbul, Arabs had lived in squalor in those lands for hundreds of years. And Israelis, through enormous labor and risk, brought modern agriculture and modern buildings to the country -- and were justly proud. Lesson learned: never discuss Israel or a bleeding heart film with a liberal friend.