Jewish Journal

David Mamet’s Interview in Ha’aretz

by Orit Arfa

January 19, 2012 | 1:23 pm

After my last two posts on Howard Gordon—one praising him for the seeming moral clarity of his shows about terrorism and the other criticizing him for omitting Israel in his Golden Globe acceptance speech—someone said to me: “Orit, you might like David Mamet better.”

David Mamet is probably the most unabashed, unapologetic Israel lover and defender in Hollywood, as famous for his political about-face towards conservatism as he is for his beloved plays and movies. I doubt he’d ever hesitate to mention the “I” word at a Hollywood awards ceremony when warranted.

Here’s the start of Aluf Benn’s recent, fascinating interview with him in Ha’aretz. Interesting how Aluf Benn can’t seem to get over how a highly creative, prolific playwright and writer can fawn over Israel—Aluf: it’s called logic, and not all artists live in fantasyland.

(PS. I still like Howard Gordon and the fantasylands he created. I hope the two Hollywood heavyweights could have coffee some time.)

David Mamet likes to rile people. The playwright who brought street talk from the alleys of Chicago to Broadway, and upset theater-goers with plays about sexual harassment and white-black relations in America, has assumed a new public persona: that of a neoconservative fighter who is out to shatter the “dogma” of the liberal left and defends Israel aggressively.

In his new book, “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture,” published last June, Mamet describes his late political conversion to conservatism and launches a scathing attack on the value system and way of life of those on the left.

“The Israelis would like to live in peace within their borders; the Arabs would like to kill them all,” he writes. As he sees it, “The Liberal West would like the citizens of Israel to take the only course which would bring about the end of the disturbing ‘cycle of violence’ ... That course is abandoning their homes and their country ... Is this desire anti-Semitism? You bet your life it is.”

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