Sasha and I saw The Gatekeepers this weekend in NYC. Heard of it? It’s a documentary film interviewing former heads of the Israeli internal security agency, “Shin Bet,” in (kind of) English, or “Shabak'” in Hebrew. The equivalent of our FBI. I recommend you see it. Whatever preconceived notions you might have, this is an honest look back at events from 1968 on with real insight. It was a contender for an Oscar this year.
Chapters include “Strategy without tactics,” “Victory is to see you suffer,” and “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” I’m not going to tell you anymore. My goal is not to regurgitate. I’d like to tell you about the most dangerous person at the movie theater, a young woman that we originally thought was sneezing, coughing, or choking. Nope. She was just an ignorant bitch. Really.
I went to offer her a tissue. Sasha looked to see if she had Tourette’s. Nope. She simply hated Arabs. Every last one. Arafat on the screen … Loud growls … An Arab killed, any Arab, she either put her hands above her head 12 inches or so or 12 inches or so in front of her and clapped loudly, the bracelets dangling around her wrist. Injury, injustice, death, she responded in full speaking voice “Good. Kill them all,” or “So What,” or “Good.”
Ohhh my hemorrhoid … Between the first and second intifada I began deep breathing. Every time Sasha looked to her to ask what in the hell was wrong with her I begged him not to look at her. People like that, they’re not worth engaging. She was looking for it. One comment and she’d brand you a lefty asshole, a traitor, never mind his stint in the Air Force.
Interestingly, she didn’t make a peep when Yigal Amir, the zealot who killed Rabin, was covered, or the Jewish Underground that carried out horrible activities and plotted even worse, before Shabak investigated and made arrests. Silence.
And this peach, what do you think her date did this whole time? Did he tell her to shut up, keep it down, or worse (you fill in the blank). Silence.
After this fine documentary ended I was ready for a cigarette, but decided a bottle of wine and some nibbles with Sasha was a fine alternative. It was date night after all. We discussed the film at length, but I really needed to vent over this woman. While she annoyed and angered him, he didn’t understand just why she made me so upset. How could I possibly let some some stupid idiot get me all worked up? I see it this way … She’s the most dangerous girl in the theater, not just in the theater, in the conflict. In the war of PR, people look to people like her and see Jewish Americans and they see Israelis. And beyond the PR war, because I refuse to believe “perception is everything,” there’s a real issue of the person, the humanity.
Listen to the conclusions at the end, from the horses’ mouths. Listen to what the people say, the people who were at the center of intelligence. They’ve seen it all. And they participate in the discussion. Yes, ethics matter. They’re everything.
“I can’t take this,” said the peach leaving the theater. “This is too lefty for me. They’re trying to take our land,” she said in a plain American accent, not a hint of an Israeli or Middle Eastern accent whatsoever.
Was I wrong to stop Sasha, and should I have gotten started on her? To loosely quote the bible “If you argue with a fool, you become a fool.”