Posted: 12/7/2014 4:18:00 PM
Author: Jack Engelhard
Source: This Op-Ed, first appeared on the Arutz 7 website on Dec.ember 7, 2014.
Op-Ed: Pharaoh’s Side of the Story
by Jack Engelhard
In our world of moral equivalence, we who write the books and the screenplays face a tyranny.
No, I have not seen it yet and this is not a review, but coming to a theater near me in a few days is Director Ridley Scott’s new (and improved?) story of the Biblical Exodus, titled, well, “Exodus,” with this subtitle: “Gods and Kings.” Nice touch. Am I worried? Of course. Hollywood never gets it right.
First question: In this telling, will Moses be Jewish?
Next question: What took so long? With all this newfangled hi-tech gadgetry, the temptation must have been overwhelming to out-do Cecil. B. DeMille and even to surpass The Almighty Himself for “special effects.” This new rendering, from the preview that I saw, is bigger and louder than anything that came before; digital enhancement at its most ferocious.
But is it better? DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” made many mistakes, but the 1956 spectacular was clear about Moses and Pharaoh. Moses was Jewish and so were the rest of us who followed him (along with the mixed multitudes). Pharaoh was Egyptian, and we could easily tell the good guys from the bad guys. DeMille, to his credit, did not fool around with this.
But times have changed and nothing goes without “the other side of the story” – moral equivalency.
Living in a world where evil and good are merely a toss of the dice, where does that leave those of us who choose sides – the side of Moses?
A few years ago, 2006, ABC-TV produced its own “Ten Commandments,” a two-part extravaganza sanitized to hurt nobody’s feelings. So Moses and Pharaoh were matched as ethically equal, and traces of religion were politically scrubbed. So Moses could have been anybody, and the Hebrew slaves? Throughout, they were called “the people.”
That misadventure has thankfully disappeared, but the message lingers on. We are at an Age where distinctions are blurred between right and wrong. Need proof? Obama is said to be weighing sanctions against Israel, our only steadfast friend in the Middle East, as meanwhile Hillary says we need to show respect and empathy to our enemies, presumably ISIS and other radical Islamists.
So living in a world where evil and good are merely a toss of the dice, where does that leave those of us who choose sides – the side of Moses? We find ourselves at the mercy of tyrannical authorities who insist that everything must be homogenized. Books and movies must be purified to make everybody happy.
In an op-ed along these pages here, Dr. Mordechai Kedar writes about his own brush with movie making in Israel. This is what he was dismayed to find out from people who control the Arts in the Jewish State: “In Israel one cannot get a budget to produce movies that present only the Zionist view in a positive fashion and do not reflect the existence and rights of the Palestinians people.”
Therefore, for lack of compliance, Moses himself would have no shot getting any of his Five Books turned into a movie. In the Land of Israel he would be turned down, rejected by the Artistic Community (98 percent leftist) for being politically incorrect and a touch “too Jewish.” Would Moses fare any better in the United States?
I don’t think so. I once wrote a humor piece about Moses trying to get the Torah published and getting declined for failure to give both sides.
Suddenly, this is not so funny. If Moses can’t make a sale in Israel, why should American publishers make him an offer?
The climate for Deconstruction over here is the same as it is in Israel. Our Lawgiver could possibly get a green light if he’d be willing to “make some changes.”
Imagine King David trying to get his Book Of Psalms published in the United States with so many references to his ties to Jerusalem and his love of Zion. But again, why pick on the United States when, as we have just heard -- David would be rebuffed in Israel for “presenting only the Zionist view.”
Those of us far lesser than Moses and David, we also write. If we are part of the two-percent minority within the Artistic Community that dares to differ, we also know, firsthand, that to get our works published or produced we are in for a heap of rejection slips if we even hint at being favorable to the Jewish State.
Every book is a fight against the Pharaohs who rule our culture. We who write the books and the screenplays face a tyranny. They demand that we step aside and give ourselves over to their point of view. As for me, I have fought this fight, with some success. But since I refuse to “make some changes,” some of my works will have to remain silent but defiant.
Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. New from the novelist, the acclaimed anti-BDS thriller: COMPULSIVE. Engelhard wrote the int’l bestseller: INDECENT PROPOSAL, that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Website: www.jackengelhard.com