Jews and Apes

So Daniel Sapier posted this comment about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on Facebook:

Just as a thought – the other day I watched the new Planet of the Apes movie (which was amazing) and I think I learned more about the Israel-Palestine situation than ever before! [Not pointing fingers at which side was Israel and which was Palestine and, beware, this may contain spoilers]… The basic plot being that the general population on each “side” wanted to coexist peacefully alongside one another, but there was simply too much mistrust between the two, and simple misunderstandings kept on brewing until some idiot took advantage and there was all out war. It made me realise how primitive the whole conflict really is and it made me understand that a two-state solution will never ever be possible!

I personally did not want to go there not least because I haven’t yet seen the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes film. However, I have written two pieces commenting on the connections between apes and Jews and on how the original 1968 movie can be read as an allegory of Jews and Israel.

Aeroplanes, Airports, and the Jews

With the recent news stories regarding airplanes and airports I got to wondering about the connections between them and Jews on film.

They seem to fall into one of two categories: jokes about Jews and airplanes/airports and projections of Israeli power.

The most obvious example of the first category is Airplane! (1980) when we see a tallit-clad aircraft complete with beard and peyot, taking its time to taxi off the runway. The air traffic controller intones, somewhat irritatedly, “Air Israel, please clear the runway.”

There are the various re-tellings of the 1976 Operation Entebbe when Israeli commandos successfully rescued those Jewish passengers who had been taken hostage and flown to Uganda.

Shots of Ben Gurion Airport also appear in Delta Force (1986), starring Chuck Norris.

The Sum of All Fears (2002) is an unusual film in this respect. It opens with an image of Israeli military might, as a nuclear missile is loaded onto a tactical Israeli Air Force fighter aircraft. However, it morphs into one of weakness when its incompetent pilot stoops down to retrieve a fallen photograph of his wife and child, distracting him from an oncoming missile that hits his aircraft.

Shot down over the Golan Heights, the nuclear missile is recovered and sold to neo-Nazis who smuggle it out from under the Israelis’ noses at Haifa port no less. The bomb is eventually detonated in the United States bringing the world to the brink of all-out nuclear war.