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Great Decisions Talk, ‘Gatekeepers’ film screening

st marks film seriesI’m going to speak locally here in Seattle twice in one day this week!  On Wednesday, March 12th I’ve been invited to participate in the Great Decisions 2014 forum sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association.  The general topic for these national conversations taking place in communities across American is “America’s Global Affairs” in all its ramifications.  Most of the speakers in the series–whose topics have dealt with environmental issues, China, energy, and the Islamic Awakening–are faculty of the University of Washington. So I’m in august company.  I’ll be speaking on U.S.-Israel relations at University Unitarian Church from 11AM-1PM.  I’ll offer a short history of the relationship going back to Harry Truman and 1948, covering the growth of the Israel Lobby, and the tumultuous current relationship between our countries.

The Mideast Focus Ministry of St. Mark’s Cathedral has invited me to moderate the film, The Gatekeepers, part of its Israel-Palestine film series.  The film will screen in Skinner Hall at 7PM.  This is Dror Moreh’s award-winning documentary which brought together all of the living former chiefs of the Shin Bet to speak of the most complex, ambiguous moral conundrums they faced during their careers.  They review pivotal decisions they made and policies they pursued which often, in hindsight, appear far less productive, far more morally compromised, than they did at the time.

The film also brings into focus a phenomenon that is almost as troubling as the problematic policies these individuals pursued: that is, the 20-20 hindsight they offer in which they now renounce their former misdeeds and clamor for moral absolution.  While they served, they were as cut-throat as they come.  In retirement, they all of a sudden become doves, lovers of peace and pursuers of Arab-Jewish understanding.  Is this real?  What motivates such a “transformation?”  Does it have any moral validity?

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Shoshana March 10, 2014, 12:11 PM

    [comment deleted–comments must be substantive rather than engage in snark]

  • Baffled March 10, 2014, 8:19 PM

    And here I was, innocently thinking that people who gave talks were supposed to know what they’re talking about.
    Will wonders never cease, have fun.

    • Richard Silverstein March 10, 2014, 9:31 PM

      Baffled & Buffaloed: And here I thought commenters were not supposed to make asses of themselves by attempting to engage in snark which comes across as petulant & mean-spirited. But I guess asses will be asses.

      BTW, you should come. You might learn something if you could put away your smug self-satisfied smirk…

      • Baffled & Amused March 11, 2014, 4:25 AM

        [comment deleted for being banal, boring & puerile as I’ve seen. Next one brings immediate permanent banning.]

        • Baffled & Amused March 13, 2014, 4:29 AM

          [You have been banned]

  • Shoshana March 10, 2014, 9:57 PM

    [comment deleted: comments must be on-topic, meaning they must relate directly to the topic of the post. I especially object to comments that try to keep score and point out that however bad Israel may be the other side is worse. That’s grandstanding & not acceptable except in a soccer match.]

  • David March 11, 2014, 6:03 PM

    The pro-Israel crowd want to play tit for tat and total up the scores, a style much like the “balanced view” demand one runs into. There is no balance between justice and injustice, between criminal and victim, between right and wrong. Palestinians never immigrated to a distant land with the purpose of dispossessing Jews of their property, land and culture. Not even a little bit, so what’s to balance? Palestinians do not put vast numbers of Jews in large open air prisons and control their lives, even their calories. The asymmetry is even sharper in the realm of violence with Pals throwing rocks and small rockets which mostly don’t hurt anyone, and Israel with one of the world’s top armies with tanks, F-16’s, bulldozers, a real army producing dead Palestinians …men, women and children by the bushel. (It’s been decades since that army has had anything to do other than policing a civilian population!)

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