Time for Hamas's Hollywood Sympathizers to Snap out of It!
I love actors. Honestly -- that wasn't sarcasm. I started out as an actor before I began writing for a living. I shared my life with an actress who was/is a wonderful artist and woman. As they used to say about Jews And African Americans some of my best friends ... actors and writers, directors, musicians, artists of every type are the most empathetic people on earth. We have to be. It's not just a job, for the ones who are serious about it, it's our calling. When we say, "I feel your pain," we mean it. Because we must feel the pain of every character we portray or create. We feel the pain of that part of our own soul that corresponds to that of the character.
And no writer, actor or director ever plays, creates or directs a villain. Each character we create is the hero of his own story, and we find the humanity in each, no matter how villainous the character's actions may be.
That is even more so with the truly great artists like Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Pedro Almadovar. Their work, collectively and individually, is an altar at which, I, as a screenwriter, playwright and novelist, worship often. They are my artistic Rabbis and teachers. They feel others' pain, no matter how villainous the character.
Bardem portrayed a chilling mass murderer in No Country For Old Men, and deservedly won the Academy Award for it. His portrayal was riveting, not because he portrayed the character's villiany, but because he somehow managed to convey his humanity, despite the fact that the character was a heartless serial killer who murdered, or not, depending on the outcome of the toss of a coin. That makes for great acting.
Unfortunately it can, and does, cloud both the moral and intellectual compass of many artists like the truly wonderful Bardem, Cruz, Almadovar et al.
They look at pictures of Palestinians, who truly are suffering in this war, which Hamas and its terrorist army have perpetrated against Israel and our civilian population, and they "feel their pain" or as close as you can get to doing that in Madrid or Malibu.
Palestinian homes are being destroyed. Israel is the one shelling them, as they rightly state, by land, air and sea. Therefore Israel, a white European Colonial transplant persecuting a brown skinned indigenous people, are the villains in this reality show watched by millions on TV. Therefore Israel must be condemned, damned, censured and stopped by the international community!
They have signed a letter stating," Palestinian homes are being destroyed!"
That is indeed true. The reason for that, my brothers and sisters in Cinema, are the actions of Hamas, a murderous and cynical terrorist organization which seized power, not from Israel but from the Government of the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas!
They lined up their fellow Palestinian brothers against walls and machine gunned them to death. If you have the stomach for it the videos are still on YouTube. They blindfolded and bound their Palestinian Brothers and pushed them off multiple storied buildings to horrific deaths.
That's Hamas. That's how they seized power.
Those were their crimes against their fellow Palestinians.
With the greatest respect, Javier, Penelope and Pedro, from one who admires your artistic achievements more than words can express, did you write any letters of outrage and condemnation then? Did you call on the international community to end the suffering then?
Well, but the deaths were only in the hundreds then, not over a thousand like now, and besides that was a Palestinian internal affair, one, which I'm sure, you felt uncomfortable in condemning.
But what Israel is doing is clear-cut.
Is it really?
We're all visual artists at the end of the day, creating images for the screen. Look, then, at the picture below.
I can get you literally hundreds more just like it. I'd be happy to. Just ask. The picture is of the entrance to a terrorist tunnel that was uncovered in the tiny space between two Palestinian homes. The tunnel to which it connects goes underneath the internationally recognized borders of Israel, the borders you demand we return to put a pin in that thought for a moment). The tunnel, and scores of others like it, then comes up next to and in some cases inside Israeli civilian farming communities. One tunnel came up in the communal dining hall of a farming village where as many as eight hundred people would have been gathered for holiday meals in normal times. Terrorists armed with anti tank missiles, machine guns, hand grenades, thousands of rounds of ammunition, handcuffs and tranquilizers then come up out of those tunnels with the intent of murdering, maiming and kidnapping hundreds of Israeli men, women and children. That's not in theory. Hamas terrorists have tried to do that almost half a dozen times in the last few weeks.
Well, but you say, no such killings of hundreds of Israelis have taken place!
Meanwhile the poor Palestinian people are suffering from Israeli bombardment.
My dear friends, no such killings of hundreds of Israeli civilians have taken place because of Israeli bombardment.
They have not taken place because my brothers and sisters in arms watch the border diligently, and when necessary, lay down their lives to protect our men, women and children from the terrorists who entered those tunnels next to, and many times from within, those very Palestinian homes whose destruction you rightly bemoan, as by the way do I, and, oddly, most other Israelis.
Those Palestinian homes are being destroyed because Hamas is committing a war crime under the Geneva accords, which you cite, against their own people, by launching their rockets, hiding their terrorist tunnel entrances and missiles, rockets mortars and machine guns, inside those homes, thus turning their own people's dwellings into Military targets . Why in the name of all that is holy, don't you at least acknowledge, let alone condemn, that clear and cruel war crime, not just against Israeli civilians but Palestinian civilians?
In your letter you state, "they (the Palestinians) are being denied.. electricity and free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing."
My friends, Hamas has fired from, launched rockets from, put terrorist tunnel entrances in, and hidden weapons inside, not just people's homes, but inside their schools and mosques and hospitals. Hamas has hidden their rockets in UN operated schools! That's not a wicked Zionist lie, that's a UN finding, against which they have, albeit weakly, protested.
I personally have been in Gaza as an Israeli soldier and have had Palestinian farmers come up to me, personally, because I wear an officer's rank, and demand of me that we, the Israel Defense Forces, not stop until we have killed all the Hamas operatives. Those aren't my words. They were the words of Palestinian farmers in El Atatra, and the reason they made that demand of us was because Hamas had confiscated the fields that had once supported them and their family by growing sunflowers, and now used them as rocket launching sites aimed at Israeli civilians.
Why in the name of the humanity I know you treasure, are you not condemning that?
That was a rhetorical question.
I know why you're not condemning that.
It's because they look weak and we look strong. And one always roots for the underdog in the movies. Except this isn't a movie. There's no one to say "cut" when the terrorist comes up out of the tunnel or the rocket or mortar is hurtling toward you.
It's not even a reality show though I know many in the media try to milk the ratings by presenting it as such.
But we're not Honey Boo Boo or The Housewives of whatever.
We're a country that was attacked, that said calm would be answered with calm and was answered instead with thousands of rocket attacks aimed almost exclusively at Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. Hamas is committing war crimes against both our peoples not only while the international community dies nothing, but while well-meaning, empathetic people like you enable them like a well-meaning friend turning a blind eye to a junkie's addiction. Except in this case the junkie is a terrorist organization as wicked as any on earth. Don't you see that your misguided enabling is killing both our peoples?
I know it takes more effort to understand something than to simply emotionally react with whatever the bumper sticker mentality if the day is. But honestly, both the Palestinian people and we deserve better of you.
But you may excuse Hamas's terrorist tactics because they don't have an air force or tanks and thus is the only way they can fight back against a wicked force of Zionists who have invaded" the Palestinian territories instead of returning to the 1967 borders."
Friends, there's no excuse for not getting the facts straight -- you can Google them. With regard to Gaza, which is, after all, where the war is, Israel unilaterally withdrew to the 1967 borders almost ten years ago!!
In that time Hamas had launched three wars against us. There was no air campaign against Hamas until they began firing hundreds of rockets a day against us.
Because of the Iron Dome anti-missile system we developed, the rockets caused no loss if life on our side and so when Egypt proposed a cease fire and the Palestinian President and the Arab League endorsed it...we accepted it. I know history is a bore but this was only two weeks ago!
That's when Hamas launched its first terrorist tunnel attack against our civilians. Had we not intercepted and killed and driven back the terrorist force, it would have resulted in the worst terrorist attack, the highest loss of civilian life, in Israel's history .
That's when we had no choice but to begin the ground operation … after Israel, Egypt, the Arab League and the President of the Palestine Authority all agreed to end the violence, stop the killing And destruction and try to create a cycle of peace. It Is Hamas that has brought about this awful cycle of death.
I wrote a movie called The Hurricane that Norman Jewison directed. It gave me an opportunity to complement what I thought was one if the best scenes he had ever directed. The scene is in Moonstruck between Cher And Nicholas Cage, in which an emotional Nick Cage prattled on about his endless love blah, blah, blah.
Cage is pitch perfect the sincere, emotive lover. But he's just spewing so much nonsense that Cher hauls off and slaps him so hard his grandchildren probably felt it. She then shouts the same two words that, with the greatest respect, we who are suffering from Hamas' dual war crimes, have every right to demand of you, and every other armchair enabler, snap out of it!
Dan Gordon is a captain in the IDF (Res)