I was alive during the 1972 Olympic Massacre, though I was rather young to have recognized the events as marking a fundamental shift in how the world functions.
Still, my own level of self-awareness notwithstanding, it was a turning point in that it made the nations of the world sit up and realize that Palestinian terrorist organizations had a very long reach, and that they weren’t going to go away on their own. One indirect result from this terrible act of mass murder was that the UN decided to grant legitimacy to the PLO a mere two years later, an attempt at appeasement that we’re still trying to deal with more than 3 decades later.
Steven Spielberg recently came out with a movie entitled Munich. In the film, a team of Israeli professionals are tasked to track down and assassinate the terrorists responsible for the Olympic murders. Although an undeniably well crafted film, Spielberg bends over backwards in an attempt to portray both sides of the conflict as being morally equal. This, in my opinion, is one flaw that simply cannot be overcome.
A review of the film can be found at Strategypage.com. The author manages to capture my objections perfectly.
The true events to which Steven Spielberg refers in Munich are the massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes by Black September in 1972, and the subsequent assassination of those responsible for planning the atrocity by Israeli agents. Spielberg takes considerable artistic license with his tale, and the result is both disappointing and profoundly dishonest.
What Spielberg seems to forget is that the 1970’s could very well be called The Decade of the Terrorist. Europe, as well as the rest of the world, was rocked by spectacular attacks, kidnappings and atrocities from terrorist organizations both home grown and international in scope. The reason that those organizations which existed then are largely gone today is due to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line and implacably hunted the guilty down, not on any effort at appeasement. But Spielberg’s film, with its attempt to find moral equivalence between terrorists and those who oppose them, is just such an effort.