More thoughts about “Act of Valor” and antisemitism. *UPDATED*

[UPDATE:  I received an email from someone who I have reason to believe is indeed close to the story, rebutting my charges.  I still think the film slipped up, but I am certain that the SEALS are not antisemites.  Read more here.]

In my earlier post, I accused Act of Valor of including crude antisemitism.  You can read my accusation here.  I have a few more thoughts that I want to put out here.

Readers of my blog know that I’m not someone who sees antisemitism under every rock.  Certainly, I do discuss antisemitism at the Bookworm Room, as you’ll see if you follow the category link.  I happen to believe that our President is not a friend of Israel, and I suspect that he doesn’t like religious Jews.  I also write a fair number of posts about modern Leftism’s hostility to Israel, a hostility that is hard to explain without looking to good old-fashioned Jew hatred.  If you want to see more of my thoughts on the subject, check the link.

Having said that, I don’t constantly watch movies and TV shows, or view news reports, or read books with a constant eye out for antisemitism.  People sometimes say or do things that can be perceived as offensive, but if their motives are clearly from innocence or ignorance, I just don’t care.  You’ve probably heard the expression that, to a hammer, everything is a nail.  That is not my approach to antisemitism.

One of my friends whom I greatly respect suggested that maybe I read something in the movie that isn’t there.  He pointed out that both Roger Simon and Phyllis Chesler, two other people I highly respect, gave the movie glowing reviews without any mention of that “Jewish” bit.  Taking his question seriously, I asked myself “Did I fall asleep?” or “Did I have a hammer/nail moment where I imagined that scene?”

I therefore did a reality check, asking each of my children if, in the interrogation scene, the Navy SEAL had said to the bad guy something along the lines of “You’re a Jew.”  The children (a tween and a teen) corroborated that this dialogue took place.  The older one said “It made me uncomfortable.”  The younger one said, “They had a good reason for doing it.  They wanted to show that Jews can be bad guys and work with Muslims too.”

My younger child may be right about the point the movie wanted to make, but he’s still fundamentally wrong about the point being made (as are the filmmakers, if this was their goal).  Yes, some of the worst antisemites in the world are Jews.  Yousef Al-Khattab is a Jew turned Jihadi and George Soros is, of course, Jewish. Puree these two nasty men into one individual, and you could come up with a billionaire Jewish jihadist.  But how likely is that?  Both Soros and Al-Khattab are pretty rare animals — sui generis, one might say.  There’s only one Soros, and he’s inspired by Leftism, not by jihadism, and there’s only one Yousef Al-Khattab, and he’s inspired by Islam, not by a Jewish desire to destroy capital.

The reality in this world is that the vast (and by vast I mean in excess of 99%) majority of Jews aren’t jihadists.  In the real world, Jews are Israelis who are front-line warriors in the battle against radical Islam; beleaguered European Jews who are realizing that the Europeans don’t like them any more than they did in 1939 and side more with the Islamists in the midst; and ostrich-like American Jews whose loosey-goosey Leftism blinds them to the fact that the Left’s movers and shakers are not friends to either Israel or the Jews.

The percentage of Jihadists who are Jews is incalculably small, and the percentage of billionaire, greasy-haired, hooked-nosed Jewish Jihadists is smaller still — to the point of zero.  Even Soros, bad person though he is, does not look like a Jewish caricature, nor is he a Jihadist.  He is a Leftist, which is a different beast — and Act of Valor makes no effort to put the character of Christo into that Leftist slot.

And that’s really the point:  the movie makes no effort to try to put Christo into any recognizable slot other than that of traditional antisemitic imagery.  Christo is not a Leftist who allies himself with Islamists because they share a common goal of destroying the West.  Christo is not a convert who has abandoned his Jewishness and immersed himself in the antisemitic fanaticism of the Islamists.  Christo is also not a tortured, self-loathing Jew who is at least psychologically interesting.  He’s just an ugly, greasy, sadistic billionaire, whose goal is mass murder in America and the destruction of the American economy.

Christo’s Jewishness — which is a one-liner that ruined an entire movie for me — is thrown out there for no discernible reason.  It doesn’t explain the story that preceded his being identified as a Jew, and it doesn’t affect the plot that follows that revelation.  It’s just out there.  To me, that’s antisemitism, pure and simple.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time that a show that’s billed as ordinary entertainment digs deep into traditional antisemitic tropes.  Just last month, an NBC TV show called Grimm apparently did precisely the same thing.  That two 2012 productions should delve into the world’s antisemitic psyche to create their bad guys is more than disturbing.  It’s frightening.

One last thing:  I got mad at the Navy SEALS (and said so), because they star in Act of Valor and it’s billed as a Navy SEAL movie.  I understand that there are many more layers to a movie:  the creative side, the production side, the financing and, with this particular movie, presumably the Pentagon and State Department side.  I’d be deeply sorry to believe that this swipe at Jews originated with the SEALS themselves, although you can’t escape the fact that they participated in the movie.  Because of that participation, I don’t fully apologize to them for lashing out in my last post, but I somewhat apologize to them, and expand my anger to the other culprits behind this base act.

UPDATE:  Sadie has suggested that the Pentagon, fearful of angering Muslims, throw in a bad Jew as a sop to their delicate sensibilities.  Does that make it any better?

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  • Ymarsakar

    That just shows the Pentagon, being a center of bureaucratic centralization, can tell the Navy SEALs what to do. Then again, who thought otherwise? Did people think the sergeants and officers in the Navy SEALs… were somehow independent from Washington DC? That’s not how it works. And that’s why electing Obama in 2008, mattered. For one reason or another down the road.

  • JKB

    Having not seen the movie, I do find this description that the interrogation scene got a bit real and so the question of being a Jew might have made its way in by accident, especially since you say it had no relation to before or after the scene.  


     In one memorable scene a SEAL member known only as Senior Chief interrogates a Russian arms smuggler played by Alex Veadov.
    “He had just gotten back from Afghanistan,” Mr. Veadov said of Senior Chief. “At first it was O.K. As it progressed a little, and he starts throwing things around, it kind of became a little tense.
    “When he started speaking Croatian, though, it became freaky. I don’t speak Croatian, but he must have looked me up on the Internet. I had done a play with a Croatian company. So he did research on me as an actor. And I was little bit intimidated. After all, this is what this guy does for a living.” 

  • Michael Adams

    So, Act of Valor has  in a bit of antisemitism, thrown in as a sop to Muslim sensibilities? It would seem, therefore, that Act of Valor was an act of cowardice, not by the SEALS, who just did the scenes, but by the writes and producers.
    I was actually looking forward to seeing it. Damn!

  • macbrun

    Saw the movie last night. I noticed the comment, but saw it as “You’re a Jew, how can you help Islamists?” In the movie, Christo (interesting name for a Jew) is considered a smuggler. I never saw him as a presented as a jihadist, or even especially anti-American. He seemed more a criminal opportunist. I’ll agree, even in that category, how many Jews will you find? Essentially zero. I think they were trying to avoid using any Middle Easterners as the baddies, and maybe even trying to avoid Christians as baddies (which you see no end of in the movies.)
    It was a silly, forced line, used to deflect guilt away from a group more than toward Jews. I think it was more a statement (which Hollywood likes to push in our faces) that all ideologies have their terrorist bad guys so Christians and Jews are just as guilty of terrorism as Muslims. That idea, though, ignores the numbers reflecting what is really going on.


    “Christo (interesting name for a Jew)..”

    Not if you were born 2,000 years ago. The character’s name is a double-bitch slap. The film was called an Act of Valor not an Act of Deflection. The throw away line, “But you’re Jewish” should have been thrown away. Just as the State Department changed its name from the Department of War, when it once clearly identified the ‘bad guys’ – it has now devolved into the PC State Department. 

    That idea, though, ignores the numbers reflecting what is really going on.    

    Fuzzy math – fuzzy politics.    

  • roylofquist


    ” many Jews will you find? Essentially zero. ”

    Meyer Lansky.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Bernie Madoff?

  • Ymarsakar

    Evil Jews aren’t zero. That’s the point. The propaganda designed to implicate Jews, are designed by those Evil Jews, using Evil Jewish tactics, to implicate the Good Jews. I hope I made that “simple” enough for most people to understand. I’m aware that on the internet, complicated topics tend to inculcate things like “semi-literacy” around the Leftist sphere.


  • Ymarsakar

    They wanted to show that Jews can be bad guys and work with Muslims too.”

    If you tell them about George Soros, and people like Jon Stewart, you might be able to make use of this.


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