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article imageReview: David Mamet's 'Homicide' still a masterpiece

By Alexander Baron     Apr 16, 2012 in Crime
New York - David Mamet has won many plaudits for his literary works, including screenplays, but this unheralded bijou is surely his masterpiece.
Look what turned up on iplayer, grab it while you can, if you can. If this 1991 film had been written by a mere goy, it would never have seen the light of day, or if it had, the writer would have been berated like an earlier version of the now frankly deranged Mel Gibson.
Even if it has been written by a Jew - as it was - it would and could probably not have been made before about 1988, but the horrific image of Israeli soldiers breaking the bones of helpless Palestinians - as in this video - was the beginning of a see change in the way ordinary Jews especially viewed Israel and in a wider context anti-Semitism, and many began to realise what Neturei Karta and other devout Orthodox Jews have always known, namely that the longest hatred is a two-way street.
The hero, or perhaps that should be the victim, of Mamet's film, is Detective Robert Gold, a specialist hostage negotiator. When an elderly Jewish woman is murdered for no apparent reason, her son, a big shot doctor, wants him assigned to the case. Shortly, he ends up at the house of the same doctor after he reports someone shooting at it. Gold is skeptical, and annoyed that he is seconded to apparently babysit these monied aristocrats, who are not his people.
On the telephone to a colleague he let's this slip: “There's so much anti-Semitism last four thousand years, we must be doin' something t'bring it about”. Unfortunately, this conversation, myriad expletives and all, is overheard by the victim's granddaughter - yes, there had to be an attractive young woman in the plot somewhere. But it isn't this one who is his downfall, and this is not a case of a man being dragged into something over which he has no control but of plunging into it head first.
Immediately after this, another shot rings out, or was it something else, like a car backfiring? Detective Gold finds himself up on the rooftop, nothing there save a pigeon loft, but wait, what's this? A piece of paper with a word written on it in block capitals, or maybe it's part of a word: GROFAZ. But what does it mean? The word he thinks it is, after consulting an elderly Jew, is Gröfaz, a Nazi acronym, but one that was used later as a jibe at Hitler by those of his underlings who were not too impressed with his direction of the war effort.
On returning to the house he doesn't let on, but it seems the old lady may not have been quite the innocent her son would have us believe. She used to work in Palestine, indeed, then why is she holding a rifle in this old photograph? At this point, the obvious suspect would be those wicked A-rabs, but Nazis are soon to appear. Sort of. In an instant, Gold becomes conscious of his own Jewish roots, and of an anti-Semitism he has never noticed before, even though a black city official has called him a kike to his face earlier in the day.
In short order he finds himself bombing a local shop which although selling model trains and the like, also has a nice line in printing anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi literature, yet still he hasn't realised that he has not only crossed the line but has become a tool of a real conspiracy. The fanatical Zionists with whom he has linked up have videotaped him setting the bomb, something he learns only when he refuses to hand over a document they and he believe is extremely important but is really nothing of the sort. There really is something rather quaint about a police officer who will plant a bomb causing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of damage to private property yet will not remove a document from police custody because it is evidence.
So preoccupied has he become with chasing this mythical Nazi conspiracy and emersing himself in a Jewish one that he misses an important rendezvous which leads to his partner's death. There is an interesting sub-text here. At the start of the film, he convinces the elderly mother of a black gangster to turn in her son. Having murdered two police officers, he is looking to skip the country, but Gold tells her that his only chance is for the police to bring him in, if she doesn't hand him over to them, the FBI will kill him. The deal is that she will lead them to him, but only if Gold is there. When he doesn't show, carnage ensues. The penultimate scene sees him face to face with the fugitive, and pointing out to him that his mother betrayed him, the same way he betrayed his own partner.
The moral of the story is of course that it is our own kind who are our worst enemy, something the paranoid Jews in this film don't realise. And the final scene...well, let's not spoilt it, suffice it to say that the murder of the old woman was not quite what it seemed, and GROFAZ was a fly-by-night. Literally.
The year after producing this thoughtful film - which can't have gone down to well with the Israel Lobby - Mamet upset the loony feminists with Oleanna.
Whatever merits that play may have, Homicide demonstrates how easy it is to whip up conspiracies out of thin air, and how in the process we can so easily become the evil we claim to be fighting.
There are Jewish organisations worldwide who make a comfortable living out of peddling the anti-Semitic menace, producing ludicrous reports backed up by even more ludicrous statistics. The reality is that on the opposite side there are organisations and more often individuals (like the gullible Patricia McAllister) who are fighting their own Grand Conspiracy, but what is happening on planet Earth?
One of the claims the Zionist Lobby has been peddling for decades is that the wicked A-rabs want only to destroy their beloved Israel and push the Jews into the sea. At the moment they and their Gentile allies are lobbying the American Government to bomb Iran. And what is actually happening in the Arab world? They are killing each other, Syria is literally tearing itself apart.
There is one question raised by this film that only David Mamet can answer, namely has he himself been approached by the conspiracy we all know doesn't really exist to do the work of Imperial Zion? In short, was he ever asked to become a sayanim? This is a valid question, and it should be borne in mind that Jews are far from the only people who are sometimes asked to serve two masters. So far he has not let on, but on this side of the Atlantic, Michael Howard, who is also a Jew and was briefly leader of the Conservative Party, was Home Secretary in the Major Government from 1993 to1997. During that time the perfidious Board of Deputies of British Jews was constantly on his case badgering him to give Jews special privileges. And every time they did, he politely but firmly showed them the door. One suspects that is what Mamet would have done, and it is what especially American Jews are doing now as they realise that just as America is no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave, neither is Israel an island of democracy is a sea of Arab tyranny.
More about Homicide, Antisemitism, Conspiracy theories, conspiracy mongering, david mamet
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