A New Movie about the Entebbe Hostage Rescue Drowns Its Subject in Leftist Platitudes

The recent film 7 Days in Entebbe portrays the daring and successful Israeli raid to rescue over 100 hostages held in Uganda by Palestinian and German Communist terrorists. To Liel Leibovitz, the movie—despite its made-for-Hollywood source material—is an artistic and intellectual failure:

No matter who’s doing the talking, the question pondered [by the characters in 7 Days in Entebbe] is the same: how long must we fight? The answer, to all but high-minded screenwriters intent on making serious movies about moral conundrums, is not too complicated: as long as there are bad guys with guns trying to kill us. In 7 Days, however, the bad guys aren’t that bad—they’re German intellectuals, which means that, periodically, they must put aside their AK-47s and debate the dialectical nature of history.

The villain-as-grad-student paradigm isn’t inherently terrible, nor is it historically inaccurate. Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann, the plane’s two German kidnappers, were, by many survivors’ accounts, prone to lengthy conversations about justice and virtue and other abstractions. . . .

Like much of Hollywood these days, [however], 7 Days believes that a movie’s primary responsibility is to make progressive statements, not unfettered art. The message . . . is best delivered in bursts of political speechifying. Sadly for the bien pensants, however, we unwashed masses go to the movies to be entertained, not educated, which leaves the film in a bind. . . . The film’s climactic scene, for example, the raid on the terminal, is shot in infuriating slow-motion and cross-cut with a modern dance performance, forcing you to embrace its sophomoric war-as-metaphor theme one last, frustrating time. . . . Catharsis is not permitted. Neither is fun.

Which is not only an artistic failing but also a moral and maybe even a theological one. . . . The movie opens with a title card that explains that while some see the hijackers as terrorists, others view them as freedom fighters. It ends with more title cards, informing us that the nice soul-searching prime minister we’ve come to admire, [Yitzḥak] Rabin, was assassinated by a religious Jewish zealot who did not share his enlightened views about the futility of the fight. These bookends are not incidental; they are the film, and everything else that happens in-between is just there to serve the vapid and vacuous statement that the film chooses to make.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Arts & Culture, Entebbe, Film, Israel & Zionism, PFLP, Terrorism

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy