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The Scroll

No. 50: Exodus

Zionist agitprop

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(20th Century Fox)

1960, dir. Otto Preminger. Remember when Ari Ben-Canaan mocks the British officer who doesn’t recognize that he’s Jewish, which he doesn’t because Ben-Canaan is played by Paul Newman? Or when Ben-Canaan ends up with the comically Aryan Eva Marie Saint character? Or when the grizzled Menachem Begin stand-in convinces the activist that he learned to use explosives not in the ghetto but in the camp? Exodus will never cease to make up people’s minds about Zionism, even if, on certain souls, the agitprop is bound to backfire.

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I dare you to say with a straight face that “The Social Network” and “When Harry Met Sally” are better Jewish movies than “Young Frankenstein.” I DOUBLE dare you. And I write that with the authority of a man who now owns one share of the Green Bay Packers.

MethanP says:

All I can say is that you can not judge a book by its movie. And lots of Jews, then and now can pass as aryans. There were many problems with Exodus. Paul Neuman and Eva Marie Saint are not among them.

MethanP says:

Halfon Hill is a great movie. Unfortunately I haven’t seen it on TV in 20+ years.

My Jewish father was a dead ringer for Paul Newman who had a Jewish father, especially as he looked in Exodus. So I think we can safely say that Paul Newman was an appropriate choice to play the Ari Ben-Canaan if it matters at all.

Beatrix says:

Paul Newman was half Jewish. For some reason he was embarrassed when a magazine revealed that in the 1960s. I still liked him after that, but I never saw him as quite so manly.

Beatrix says:

One of the networks at the time had a special honoring Israel. Unfortunately for them, Israel won a controversial war before the special was shown, and so to protect their assets the only accomplishment the network acknowledged was that the Israelis had turned the desert into farmland.

It may have been the 1967 war which was very controversial at the time. Many people had spent their entire lives with their heads in the sand and so they had never heard of a pre-emptive strike before. Israel was condemned for not waiting to be attacked, but for striking first.

Anyway, Newman, trying to make up for seeming to hide the fact that he was Jewish, hosted the special along with Joanne Woodward, his wife. I have never seen a man so uncomfortable in my life. He’d made a movie honoring Israel, but this live special was beyond him. Luckily he had Joanne, who at times seemed to be holding him up.

It’s hard to believe Paul Newman is dead. It’s corny I know but a whole era is passing away. He had a terrible fake English accent in this film. Also (if I remember correctly) when he threatens to blow up the ship with all the passengers I thought he sounded like a modern day terrorist.

geri posner says:

Paul Newman was half Jewish.

alottadreck says:

Paul Newman was half Jewish but SAID, though mixed he preferred being a Jew in the Life Mags promoting EXODUS!!!
Although the movie EXODUS has some soapy scenes due to Premingers directing It still had a lot of power and still the only Big Production about the founding of Israel.
…also Paul’s English Accent was only in one scene and it was done on purpose.The “Grizzled Begin Stand-in” was played by the Great David Opatoshu and is one of the highlights of that movie!!!

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No. 50: Exodus

Zionist agitprop

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