Israel and America ‘In The Loop’
What a new movie can teach us
An op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times made a splash for accusing President Barack Obama of not speaking directly to the Israeli people. The article’s accompanying drawing—pictured, on top—cleverly depicted the alleged communication breakdown between the U.S. and Israel. It was also reminiscent of the second image, which comes from the poster of the new British film In The Loop. In addition to being really, really, really funny (seriously, you should go see it), the movie is a blistering satire of government bureaucracy, British and American politics, and how the dysfunctions of all those things could pave the way for, say, the invasion of a Middle Eastern country based on cooked-up intelligence (the country is unnamed in the movie).
In The Loop is made up, almost entirely, of talk (you could watch it with your eyes closed). It’s also about talk—about poor word choice, about good word choice that is mangled by spin doctors, about how people say one thing and mean another. But for all the talk, the one audience that is never spoken to in the movie is the public; In The Loop’s tidal wave of words takes place entirely behind closed doors. In In The Loop, all this empty and covert chatter results in farce. It strikes us, though, that unless the U.S. and Israel untangle their communication lines, and unless both of their publics are treated as grown-ups, what follows could be far less funny.