Earlier this month the ADL’s Abe Foxman announced that he was grading the Obama team’s Middle East policy. The results were mixed:
- "A" for Effort, with good intentions and efforts to create the conditions necessary for bringing together the Palestinians and Israelis for negotiations;
- "C-" for Strategy, pointing to the administration’s "unrealistic expectations" and heavy-handed focus on Israeli settlement policy;
- "F" for Failure to achieve results, with little movement achieved thus far, with few prospects for talks on the horizon, and for what was essentially, "…a wasted year without any negotiations."
Quentin Tarantino’s "Inglourius Basterds," on the other hand, received an enthusiastic thumbs up from Foxman, who is calling for the film to receive an Academy Award:
Fast forward more than a decade and 70 years after Hitler began getting his Final Solution into operation. Putting a new twist on the Holocaust genre for a new time and a new audience was none other than the renowned filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. While he opens his Inglourious Basterds with a scene repeated untold times during the Holocaust — a Jewish family hidden by a Christian family is discovered by a Nazi commandant and executed — the film morphs into an allegory about good and evil and the no-holds-barred efforts to defeat the evil personified by Hitler, his henchmen and his Nazi regime.
Employing drama, comedy and romance with the quintessential Quentin Tarantino touch, the film is entertaining, yet thought-provoking. Hopefully the millions who see it will understand the horrors of the Holocaust and echo my view of "if only it were true!"
Foxman is hardly alone in loving the movie, and it would not be a shock if it takes home the Oscar for best film.
But I think the ADL’s head honcho is missing the point (or papering over the main issue) when he calls the film "an allegory about good and evil and the no-holds-barred efforts to defeat the evil personified by Hitler, his henchmen and his Nazi regime." The film is not about defeating evil, it’s about about extracting vengeance. The fanatsy isn’t about HItler’s losing, it’s about watching a bunch of Yids scalping Nazis. Claiming otherwise dodge the main question: Is it kosher for Jews to engage in a little revenge fantasy? (Yes, according to the film’s producer and several bigs in the Conservative movement.)
As for glorifying Tarantino … I’m not a total square — I loved "Resevoir Dogs," "Pulp Fiction," "Fron Dusk Till Dawn," "Jackie Brown," and both "Kill Bill" films. But… I’m still wrestling with the same issue I raised a few months ago — the morality and wisdom of religious communities relying on and elevating the work of a movie director whose films consistently fetishize and glorify violence.