The just-released movie “Golda,” starring Helen Mirren, has led to an upsurge in anti-Israel and antisemitic comments about both the former Prime Minister and the state of Israel. More on this dismaying phenomenon can be found here: “How The ‘Golda’ Movie Became a Vehicle to Spread Hate,” by Rachel O’Donoghue, HonestReporting, August 30, 2023:
Even before “Golda” — the big-budget biopic of Israel’s first and only female prime minister Golda Meir — had hit movie screens around the world, it was causing controversy.
And now that the film has been released, some are using it as a vehicle to attack the Israeli state in general.
Among the professional critics to lambaste the film was freelance journalist Noah Berlatsky, who claimed it promotes “whiteness” in a blistering review for CNN:
In ‘Golda,’ casting Mirren — a White, internationally renowned, British actress — is a metaphor for the way the film blurs Israeli identity with a generalized White, Western identity. By doing so, it attaches Israel’s moment of crisis to a tradition of triumphalist American military films that validates the virtue of the US, of Israel, and of whiteness.”
Of course, Berlatsky’s view that the film “blurs Israeli identity with a generalized White, Western identity” is absurd and reflects an insidious trend in which Israel is viewed through the lens of US identity politics.
Even more disturbingly, Berlatsky went on to compare the film to other “stories of White military underdogs struggling to overcome non-White foes,” including, he contends, movies like “Birth of a Nation.” For those who are unfamiliar with this 1915 epic, it has been dubbed the “most racist film ever made” that “depicts lynching [black people] as a positive thing.”
Movie website AwardsWatch used its review of the film to bizarrely blast Meir as a “settler” and criticize it for including “no mention of Palestinians or anything of the like in the film,” which is technically not true because it does include a montage that shows Arabs fleeing during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
At the time of the Yom Kippur War, half the Jewish population of Israel consisted of Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews who were just as “dark” as the Arabs from whose countries they had been expelled. By now, that percentage of “dark” Jews in Israel has risen to 60%. AwardsWatch makes no mention of this in its eagerness to describe, and condemn, Meir, and all Israelis, as “white.” The AwardsWatch website also called Meir a “settler” because that is the noun of choice employed nowadays to condemn Israelis as Bible-thumping maniacs seizing Palestinian land in the West Bank. But Meir was not a “settler.” She lived inside Israel’s Green Line — that is, within the 1949 armistice lines. Apparently, the writer for AwardsWatch was unaware, or more likely, didn’t care to be accurate; for that writer, all Israelis are illegitimate “settlers,” from which It follows that they must be expelled “from the river to the sea.”
Jewish Voice For Peace, the radical anti-Israel group that backs the BDS campaign, took to Instagram to issue its verdict on the film, branding Golda Meir a “racist who oversaw war crimes” and claiming the biopic celebrates a leader whose “legacy is one of violent ethnic cleansing.”
What “war crimes” did the state of Israel commit during the Yom Kippur War, when Meir was Prime Minister? I suppose in Arab eyes, the mere fact that Israel survived a surprise attack and managed to eke out a victory is a “war crime.” How dare the Jews defend themselves, and defeat us yet again? But there were no real “war crimes.” For had there been, we would certainly have heard about them in the fifty years since that war ended.
And in what way was Golda Meir a “racist”? Was it her refusal to be conned into accepting the invented “Palestinian people”? Does the refusal to play along with the enemy’s propaganda ploy, designed to make it seem that the Arab gang-up on the tiny Jewish state was in fact a war of “national liberation” by the newly-minted “Palestinian people,” wanting only to win back the land that “the Jews had stolen from them”? No Arabs, at any level, from the street to the UN General Assembly, mentioned the “Palestinian people” until the mid-1960s; it was a construct that the KGB first came up with, and advised Arafat to start using. After the Six-Day War, by dint of constant repetition, the phrase, and the notion behind it, has gained near-universal acceptance. But Golda Meir knew better, and never accepted the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people.” She knew that there was no separate Palestinian religion, language, culture, cuisine, or folk tales; the “Palestinians” could not be considered a unique people, to be distinguished from the Jordanians, or the Syrians, or the Muslims in Lebanon. Her famous, and historically-accurate dismissal — “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people” — we are apparently to believe makes her into a “racist.”
Naturally, JVP conveniently ignores the fact that Meir attempted to forge peace with neighboring Arab nations, including by offering Egypt most of Sinai just months before President Anwar Sadat joined Syria in launching a surprise invasion of Israel on Judaism’s holiest day.
Critics of Meir, including the far-left Jewish Voices for Peace, depict Meir as a warmonger. But Meir’s only fault was not to have been a warmonger, but to have been insufficiently prepared for the war thrust on the Jewish state by Arab enemies — the surprise attack launched on Yom Kippur 1973 by Egypt and Syria. Once Israel had repelled the attacks from the Sinai and the Golan, and decisively won the Yom Kippur War, Meir — that “warmonger” — began to discuss making peace with Israel’s Arab enemies, and started the process that led, ultimately, to Sadat’s trip to Israel in November 1977, and then to the Camp David Accords in 1978.
The movie ends with Meir speaking to Sadat about the peace treaty reached with Egypt after she left office and credits her for starting the path toward peace even in the midst of war.
What’s more, documents that were declassified earlier this year show that Meir was open to the possibility of a Palestinian state..
Meanwhile, Craving Palestine, a self-described “online marketplace and movement that showcases and celebrates the rich heritage, vibrant culture, and immense talent of Palestine,” posted a lengthy diatribe condemning the film.
The site ludicrously described the movie as “virulently racist” and “intended to propagandize the Israeli project and its war criminal founders, and ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and entrenchment of apartheid and occupation.”
“Throw enough mud,” is Craving Palestine’s motto, “and something will stick.”
The post also claimed that Meir had been “granted Palestinian citizenship and a passport pre 1948 as Palestine welcomed Jewish refugees escaping persecution in Europe and the US.”
Craving Palestine neglected to mention that Meir had a Palestinian passport under the British Mandate — not one that was issued by a sovereign Palestinian state. Furthermore, in the very interview in which Meir revealed she held a Palestinian passport, Meir pointed out that this fact demonstrated that the Palestinian identity is a modern development….
Craving Palestine would have its audience believe that they, “the Palestinians,” had granted Meir “Palestinian citizenship,” and that “Palestine” had welcomed Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis. But Meir’s passport was issued by the British authorities governing Mandatory Palestine, not by Palestinian Arabs. Furthermore, far from welcoming Jewish refugees to “Palestine,” the local Arabs did everything they could to keep them out. They put pressure on the British to ignore the express terms of the Mandate for Palestine, which required the Mandatary to “facilitate Jewish immigration” and to encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land,” and instead to prevent Jews from finding safe haven in Mandatory Palestine. It was the British government’s desire to win favor with the Arabs that led to the adoption by the U.K. of the White Paper of 1939, that limited the number of Jewish immigrants to Palestine to 15,000 a year for five years, after which the Arabs would exercise their veto, which would mean an end to all Jewish immigration. That White Paper condemned to persecution and death perhaps a million Jews in Europe, who might have escaped to Mandatory Palestine had the British allowed it. But the British did what they knew the Arabs of Palestine, and elsewhere in the region, wanted, even though it meant violating the terms of the Mandate for Palestine, and they prevented ships with desperate Jews aboard from arriving, and after the war ended, the British continued to keep Jews who had survived the Nazis from landing in Palestine for the same reason as before — to curry favor with the Arabs.
Here’s one way to madden Israel’s enemies: go see “Golda” and decide for yourself what you think. Don’t be put off by the army of Israel-haters busy denouncing the movie. And then, if you are impressed with it, give it a five-star review on movie websites everywhere.