Sunday, February 26, 2012

Act of Valor

Early reports are that the film "Act of Valor" is pretty antisemitic. It's tough to get a handle on exactly what's going on (without, you know, seeing it), but I'll try to narrow ir down. Some far-right blogs (that I won't link to, but including Pamela Geller) have compared the film to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But even Time describes the portrayal of one of the bad guys as "the avaricious, hook-nosed Jew."

There are two bad guys. One is Muslim -- a Chechyen convert. (A convert from what? I don't know. Probably the film doesn't say.) The other is his Jewish childhood friend. So is it a greedy Jew behind Islamist terrorism aimed at the US? I don't trust the right-wing blogs enough to take their word on this interpretation. Other reviews indicate that he is not the primary bad guy, but a co-bad guy or perhaps a secondary bad guy. It seems just as likely to me that the filmmakers were worried about a potentially negative portrayal of a Muslim, so they added a second, horribly racist character for "balance."

One site with a review that's actually pretty interesting writes:
Somehow the scriptwriters, in an attempt to not alienate the countries known for actively supporting terrorism, managed to find excuses for the SEALs to fight against people in the Philippines, Mexico, West Africa, Russia, Chechnya, and some other ill defined country. The underlying message of the film seems to be “If you aren’t American you suck” and that message is delivered with bullets.
Apparently Jews don't make the cut as Americans.

In any case, please don't pay money to see it. It's getting pretty bad reviews, anyway.

(As more of an aside, though, it's a shame here to rely on right-wing blogs and a few references to mainstream or non-partisan blogs. One of the most significant ways that antisemitism is structured is by silence -- so that few people have a clue what it is or how serious it is -- which is the primary approach to antisemitism of the anti-racist blogs I would normally look to for better reviews. There have been numerous calls for the Left to take the cause of antisemitism back from the Right, which has seized it primarily because of the Left's negligence. Most of the Left only deals with antisemitism at all when it is getting in the way of their criticizing Jews for something else. However, even most of the Leftists calling for such a thing haven't actually done shit about it.)