What If? Ehud Barak on War and Peace

Really struggled to get through this. Kept stopping and starting and walking away from this. Couldn’t stand watching this murderous bastard shrug off or chortle over the death of women and children at his hands.

I know he’s meant to be a controversial figure, but I think controversial is a word that should be reserved for people who aren’t unrepentant killers. It is a hard watch to see him go through his participation in the assassinations of Palestinian leaders and the murder of their families, the violation of the sovereignty of other countries to commit acts of terrorism that killed innocent people in their own homes who were at peace with Israel, and just gloss over it like, que sara.

And as politicians go, he’s one of the ‘good’ ones. He spends his time in office pushing for peace, and enters Camp David peace talks with Yasser Arafat, mediated by the USA, with the intention of bringing an end to the endless war the Occupation had made necessary.

So this guy, who from my viewpoint, is up to his elbows in blood, has his political career end in Israel because he is seen as too lenient and too accommodating. It makes you think, “Jesus, what is the appetite for death like?” if this guy can be a military general, the most highly decorated soldier in Israeli history, and be seen by the Israeli public as too peace-loving, a wet willy.

The film itself is really well put together, conveying emotion without straying into sentimentality, asking the viewer to make their own judgements on these decisions, while guiding us through why this person saw things from their perspective. Ehud Barak is honest and forthcoming about the realities of the situation, that he obviously did what he thought was right, and doesn’t lose sleep at the thought of the people dead by his hand, because if he did, he would never have got into the job of being General or Prime Minister in the first place. It’s very much laid on the line.

All in all, a difficult film. The questions it poses about whether men make history or history makes the man, are not of as much interest to me as the swath of death Barak leaves in his trail, and how accepted that seems to be.