The Corner

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Re: Munich


Of course it would be unfortunate if Munich suggests a moral equivalence between Israel and those who murdered its Olymipic athletes in 1972. It is nonetheless important to remember that the story of the massacre and subsequent Israeli response was not devoid of some moral ambiguity. As I understand it, some Israeli officials were ambivalent about the effort to track down and assassinate the terrorists that killed the Israeli athletes — essentially to summarily execute them without trial. The plan was authorized because they felt they had no other choice, as the perpetrators would not otherwise be brought to justice. Moreover, there was much hand-wringing and soul searching after the Israeli assassins mistakenly killed a man in Norway mistaken for one of the Palestinian murderers. Whether the film recognizes it or not, it is a testament to the Israelis that such a tragic error would be taken so seriously. Indeed, much of Israel’s history reflects an unwillingness to descend to the level of its tormentors, and that is something to be admired. Portraying this accurately would necessarily involve recognizing that Israel was faced with a difficult moral choice, and that ordering assassinations is not (and should not be) an easy thing to do.


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