Tuesday, 16 April 2013

You can't handle the truth

This is one of my all time favourite movie scenes when Cruise is pitted against Nicholson in the court room finale in the film A Few Good Men. Let me set the context from a brilliant review by JHClues on IMDd
In one of the most telling scenes in this movie, Navy Lieutenant Commander Jo Galloway (Demi Moore), a lawyer who is helping to defend two Marines on trial for murder, is asked why she likes these guys so much. And she replies, `Because they stand on a wall, and they say ‘nothing is going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch'.' Which veritably sums up the sense of duty and honor which underscores the conflict of `A Few Good Men,' directed by Rob Reiner, and starring Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise. There is a code by which a good Marine must live and die, and it is: Unit, Corps, God, Country. But to be valid, that code must also include truth and justice; and if they are not present, can the code stand? Which is the question asked by director Reiner, who examines the parameters of that code with this film, which centers on the murder of a young Private First Class named William Santiago, who was killed while stationed at the Marine Corps base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The case draws the attention of Commander Galloway, Special Counsel for Internal Affairs in the Judge Advocate General's Corps in Washington, D.C. Galloway, taking into consideration the impeccable service records of the two Marines charged with the crime, convinces her superiors that a thorough investigation is warranted in this case, though there are those in high places who would rather see this one plea bargained and put to rest.

Galloway persists, however, believing that Santiago's death may have resulted from a `Code Red,' a method of disciplinary hazing employed in certain circles of the Corps, though illegal. And if this was a Code Red, the real question is, who gave the order? Ultimately, her tenacity prevails, but though Galloway is a seasoned lawyer, she has little actual courtroom experience, so Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee (Cruise) is assigned to the case, along with Lieutenant Sam Weinberg (Kevin Pollak), with Galloway, as ranking officer, to assist. Kaffee, the son of a legendary lawyer, has skated through the first nine months of his Naval career, successfully plea bargaining forty-four cases. Outwardly upbeat and personable, Kaffee seems more concerned with his softball game than he does with the time he has to spend on the job. But underneath, he's coping with living his life in the shadow of his late father's reputation, which is an issue with which he must come to terms if he is to successfully effect the outcome of this case. And on this one he will have a formidable opponent: Colonel Nathan R. Jessup (Nicholson), who commands the base at Guantanamo.

As Jessup, Nicholson gives a commanding performance, and once he enters the film you can sense the tension he brings to it, which begins to swell immediately, and which Reiner does a great job of maintaining right up to the end. Jessup is a soldier of the old guard, a man of narrow vision and a particular sense of duty; to Jessup there's two ways of doing things: His way and the wrong way. He's a man who-- as he says-- eats breakfast three hundred yards away from the enemy, and he's not about to let a couple of lawyers in dress whites intimidate him. And that's exactly the attitude Nicholson brings to this role. When he speaks, you not only hear him loud and clear, you believe him. It's a powerful performance and, as you would expect from Nicholson, entirely convincing and believable.

Cruise, also, gives what is arguably one of the best performances of his career as Kaffee. He perfectly captures the aloofness with which Kaffee initially regards the case, as well as the determination with which he pursues it later. Cruise is convincing in the role, and some of the best scenes in the film are the ones he plays opposite Nicholson in the courtroom, the most memorable being one in which Kaffee exclaims to Jessup, `I want the truth!' to which Jessup replies, `You can't handle the truth!' 
I feel like saying the same to critics of the film With God on our Side. They simply can't handle the truth that we are witnessing the creation of an apartheid state in Palestine. Jimmy Carter isn't the only voice saying this. Now its the South African government as well. Would that Barak Obama doesn't wait till he retires to say the same thing. There is no other way to describe the matrix of control so eloquently expressed by Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

Instead of facing the truth, however, Zionists will do anything to discredit the contributors and proponents of the film. In doing so they seem to be following a definite strategy right out of the Hasbara manual (more here). For some while I've compared it to the lights of a stop sign. They begin with green - Intimidation. When that fails they move to orange - Isolation. And if that fails they move to red - Incrimination.

Kevin Miller (one of the brilliant script writers for With God on our Side) is working on an expanded list which, since all good ideas are borrowed, I've adapted and incorporated into this scheme:

1. Ignore -- they always start by hoping you'll just go away.
2. Insult -- if you don't go away, they'll ridicule you or make you out to be a nut.
3. Intimidate -- when simple mockery fails, the gloves come off and they bombard you with emails.
4. Isolate -- then they seek to divide and conquer by intimidating others to isolate you.
5. Incriminate -- they frame or smear you and force you to defend yourself with legal fees.
6. Incarcerate -- when all else fails, as judge and jury, they put your life in the crosshairs.
7. Immolate -- and it will probably appear as suicide (because eliminate begins with an 'e').

Like many others, I have the bruises from the first five and I know a few who have made it from the sixth to the seventh 'heaven' for speaking out for justice, peace and reconciliation. Christians for Moses Ministries is just one sad example of the threats the more extreme Zionists make.  A few have predicted, if not pronounced, my own demise here and here (in the last paragraph). I suggest they are being a little premature, and I hope, presumptuous.

Although painful to receive anonymous phone calls, emails or letters, sometimes it becomes farcical. A few years back I was asked to co-lead a Meditteranean cruise to Greece, Turkey and Israel-Palestine for MasterSun. Called Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, critics who didn't want us praying for the Palestinians as well, bombarded the company with emails and phone calls warning them to disinvite me or there would be riots in Ashkelon and Haifa when the ship docked. In the end, when MasterSun  refused, one Pentecostal pastor predicted that if I was allowed on the ship it would sink. Thanfully it didn't, although I did get a little nervous to discover the Greek shipping company had subcontracted the safety of the ship to an Israeli security firm. I had visions of 'falling' over the side one night like Robert Maxwell. Although funny now, it wasn't at the time.

When the smears are hitting the fan, I'm reminded of a quotation by the late Justice Hugo Black of the US Supreme Court who reportedly once said, "the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public." Just because my father was a working class socialist does that make me a communist? Because I have raved about the music of Aharit Hayamin am I a  Zionist? Does it make me complicit in the illegal Jewish Settlement programme because I corresponded with their producer and have allowed them to use my photographs taken at one of the gigs? Just because I appeared in a debate on Revelation TV, does that mean I endorse the prosperity gospel? I don't think so.

Read my lips, I repudiate holocaust denial and anti-Semitism unequivocally here, here, here, here, herehere and here. I think that is sufficient, although words alone are not enough. That is why I helped make the film With God on our Side.

That is one of the reasons I wrote Zion’s Christian Soldiers? in which the following paragraph appears:
“It is true that at various times in the past, churches and church leaders have tolerated or incited anti-Semitism and even attacks on Jewish people. Racism is a sin and without excuse. Anti-Semitism must be repudiated unequivocally. However, we must not confuse apples and oranges. Anti-Zionism is not the same thing as anti-Semitism despite attempts to broaden the definition. Criticising a political system as racist is not necessarily racist. Judaism is a religious system. Israel is a sovereign nation. Zionism is a political system. These three are not synonymous. I respect Judaism, repudiate anti-Semitism, encourage interfaith dialogue and defend Israel’s right to exist within borders recognised by the international community and agreed with her neighbours. But like many Jews, I disagree with a political system which gives preference to expatriate Jews born elsewhere in the world, while denying the same rights to the Arab Palestinians born in the country itself.”

And that is why, when we pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6), as we should, lets remember to include both West and East Jerusalem, both Jews and Palestinians in our prayers, since for each it is their capital. This is how Garth Hewitt encourages us to pray:

‘May the justice of God fall down like fire
and bring a home for the Palestinian.
May the mercy of God pour down like rain
and protect the Jewish people.
And may the beautiful eyes of a Holy God
who weeps for his children
Bring the healing hope for his wounded ones
for the Jew and the Palestinian.’