Beat! beat! drums!—Blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley—stop for no expostulation;
Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer;
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man;
Let not the child's voice be heard, nor the mother's entreaties;
Make even the trestles to shake the dead, where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump, O terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow.
-Walt Whitman, 1865
To wrap up what has been several months of an unbearable game of Monopoly between Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama, and Speaker of the House Boehner at the expense of the lives of Palestinians in an over-the-top and wretched caricature of the Geneva Conventions, it seems appropriate to end with a bacchanal attempt to fuse GI Joe with Walt Whitman.
FOLLOW ME: THE YONI NETANYAHU STORY, directed by Jonathan Gruber and Ari Daniel Pinchot, is one of the most blatantly saccharine propaganda films produced yet in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Conveniently released several months before the January 2013 Israeli election, it also reminds me of the 30 minute campaign ad released in October 2008 by the Obama campaign, AMERICAN STORIES, AMERICAN SOLUTIONS.
The film is a quasi-bio-pic with some very tender moments of Bibi showing 'emotion' and even 'sensitivity'. Through the 87 minutes of fluff, the viewer is treated to the usual games with history and responsibility that define Israeli denialism and IDF policy.
Yoni Netanyahu, the oldest of the three Netanyahu brothers, was a dedicated soldier and, according to his parents, an ardent Zionist from his early days in the Israeli Boy Scout program. After his first term of service, he married his sweetheart and headed for university studies in Boston. However, by 1967, the events that concluded in the June war drove the couple to return to Israel and further service in the IDF, with Yoni becoming an officer, where he remained until the July 1976 Operation Entebbe, where he was killed in action rescuing hostages taken by two rogue members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and two members of the German Revolutionäre Zellen (Revolutionary Cells) organization.
The film is a pandering, over-the-top sentimental exercise in hyperbole. Narrating through letters Yoni wrote to various family, friends and lovers, the attempt to create a character construct akin to a warrior poet not only falls flat, it leaves a crater from the impact. This film is obviously only one thing, political propaganda meant to show Candidate Bibi as a tested and tried leader who knows first hand what is at stake in the battle against Arab anti-Semites and anti-Semitic Leftist Europeans. And the target audience is not Israeli as much as English language viewers, not limited to just Jewish Americans but the entire crowd of philo-Semites, from Evangelical Christian lunatics to militant secular neocons. Every major interview subject speaks very clear English words, seasoned with just enough of a Hebrew accent to make the characters exotic and mysteriously separated from the West. Oh joy.
This movie is an exercise in false sentimentality and jingoism. You'd be better of just listening to Rush Limbaugh, watching Fox News, or reading anything written by Norman Podhoretz or anyone else writing at Commentary Magazine.