Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Don't Hold Your Breath: Blockbuster Movies Hollywood Will Never Make

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Don't Hold Your Breath: Blockbuster Movies Hollywood Will Never Make

Article excerpt

For more than 30 years, the Washington Report has been alone in covering the impact of pro-Israel lobbying and Zionism on the United States. As a researcher, I've often followed up on stories published decades ago, seeking new insights and leads through document declassification, archival research and other means. This often results in findings so stunning, so paradigm-altering, or revealing corruption so deep someone inevitably says, "Gee, they ought to make a movie out of that!"

Is that idea viable? Could movies about the Israel lobby be profitable? Certainly stories of little-known histories and clandestine tales based on a true story are big business in Hollywood: a good insider account reportedly can sell for anywhere from $50,000 to $300,000. According to some industry reports, the single biggest hurdle to overcome is getting a story pitch in front of a producer. Yet because so few guaranteed hits based on Israel lobby activities have been made over the years, some other dynamic seems to be at work in Hollywood. Perhaps it is even the seldom-questioned composition of the industry.

What are some of the blockbusters that have never made it to the big screen?

The "Bamboozle" or "Fraudster" Flick

Long a favorite Hollywood category, these movies take a major Ponzi scheme or financial industry swindle and give the audience a meaningful back-story. "American Greed" is the story of Samuel Israel's $450 million hedge fund swindle. "The MadoffAffair" is an account of Bernie Madoff's $60 billion Ponzi scheme. That's topped by "Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room," about the $63.4 billion dollar collapse of Enron. In times of widespread financial fraud, such movies provide Americans the relief of Schadenfreude. There is comfort knowing that despite the horrible losses, at least a guilty party finally paid for his crimes.

The documentary movie in this genre I would like to pitch is called "The AIPAC Job: Undercutting American Industry for Israel." It would reveal the true story of how an Israeli minister of economics stole the trade secrets of 70 American labor and industry organizations and gave them to Israel's top U.S. lobbying organization in order to undermine justified industry opposition to unilateral trade concessions to Israel in 1984. In this category, numbers matter. Through May of 2013, the total losses to American industry via the AIPAC-action shiftin trade patterns has cost $100 billion in deficits-more than any other in the bamboozle genre.

The Spy Thriller

Who can forget "The Falcon and the Snowman" starring Timothy Hutton and Sean Penn about the life of CIA contractor Christopher Boyce, who sold secrets to the Soviet Union? "Traitor Within" follows the CIA's Aldrich Ames' dalliance with Russia. Many of these spy movies, such as the 2007 motion picture "Breach," about spy Robert Hanssen, are low budget. On average these movies cost just $15 million to make-but produce a 110 percent return on investment. There is a hardcore following of true-life spy movies-but one blockbuster story has never been made into a movie.

Think about an epic spy movie called "The Pollard Affair: the Soviet Connection." It would cover known facts about Jonathan Pollard's espionage for Israel, with new insights based on a Defense Intelligence Agency video declassified and released in 2011 revealing just how kooky and out-of-place Pollard was in his Naval intelligence job-a cross between the mania of Austin Powers and the hysteria of Larry Gopnik in the excellent Coen brothers movie "A Serious Man." My proposed movie unequivocally relays what many U.S. intelligence officials long have claimed: that Pollard collected U.S. secrets as "trade goods" which Israel then gave to the Soviet Union in exchange for increased Jewish émigrés to boost Israel's population. This is the only credible remaining explanation for why Pollard is still behind bars while most other spies for Israel have never been charged, much less prosecuted. …

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