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Sydney Pollack, gunrunner

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Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis in Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives

Sydney Pollack and Judy Davis in Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives

Everyone’s talking about the Israeli TV broadcast in which Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer, says that he spied for Israel in the U.S. and brought out nuclear triggers and such. (Back in the days when the U.S. was worried about a society that didn’t get along with its neighbors in the Middle East going nuclear). The BBC:

Mr Milchan, 68, said he was recruited to Israel’s Bureau of Scientific Relations, a secretive organisation founded to supply the nation’s nuclear programme, in the 1960s by Mr Peres.

Then the owner of a successful fertiliser company, Mr Milchan said he aided the bureau in obtaining scientific and technical information for confidential defence programmes.

At one point, Uvda alleges, Mr Milchan was operating 30 companies in 17 countries on behalf of Israel.

But I’m shocked by what Milchan says about the late Sydney Pollack, actor and director (of Out of Africa, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Tootsie, Jeremiah Johnson, Michael Clayton, The Day of the Condor, Absence of Malice).

During the interview, which aired on Monday, Mr Milchan also said Academy Award-winning director Sydney Pollack helped in covert acquisitions of sensitive military equipment.

More from Haaretz:

Another revelation is that director Sydney Pollack, who died in 2008, was Milchan’s business partner in many of his activities. The director of “Tootsie” and “Out of Africa,” Milchan said, “was my partner in aerospace manufacturing and airplanes, all kinds of things.” When asked if Pollack knew of and participated in all of Milchan’s activities, Milchan said: “He had to decide what he was willing to do and what he was not willing to do. On a lot of things he said no. On a lot of other things he said yes.”

Pollack was born in the U.S. His Jewish identity? From the LA Times, on Pollack’s death in 2008 at 73.

The son of a pharmacist, Pollack was born July 1, 1934, in Lafayette, Ind., and moved with his family to South Bend.

“I think of it with great sadness,” he said of his experiences in South Bend in a 1993 interview with the New York Times. “It was a real cultural desert. There weren’t many Jews like us, and it was real anti-Semitic.”

From the Times obit:

He increasingly sounded wistful notes about the disappearance of the Hollywood he knew in his prime. “The middle ground is now gone,” Mr. Pollack said in a discussion with Shimon Peres in the fall 1998 issue of New Perspectives Quarterly.

So was Peres his connection? Here’s the Peres interview, a pdf. Very cineaste. In the Israeli broadcast, Robert DeNiro says he knew of Milchan’s activities, and understood. He was fighting for his country… I wonder how many folks in Hollywood knew of the allegations regarding Pollack? And approved.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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37 Responses

  1. Marco on November 26, 2013, 5:48 pm

    Sydney Pollack was a great actor but it seems as if he was part of a clandestine world not dissimilar to the fictional secret society his character was a member of in “Eyes Wide Shut”.

  2. just on November 26, 2013, 5:54 pm

    Didn’t Netanyahu himself smuggle triggers from our very shores?

    (I am so disappointed in Sidney Pollack. Ken Pollack– not so much. At least Sidney made some amazing movies. Just goes to show what we don’t know might just destroy us and others.)

    • irmep on November 26, 2013, 8:49 pm

      Netanyahu was working in a node of the Milchan smuggling network, Heli Trading, which placed the orders for the Krytrons.

      None of the US MSM is mentioning the Netanyahu connection, which was well publicized in July of last year including here and some Israeli press. Not “on message” enough for American news.

      Can’t wait to see what MSM does when Israel finally declares its a nuclear power. Fall all over themselves. Treat it as day one of a new era? Holding breath.

      • hophmi on November 27, 2013, 2:46 pm

        “Can’t wait to see what MSM does when Israel finally declares its a nuclear power. ”

        Zero, since everyone already knows Israel is a nuclear power.

      • irmep on November 27, 2013, 3:27 pm

        Sure, they know. But US mainstream media still always qualifies its existence with the words “suspected”, “alleged, ” “unacknowledged,” etc, as if, after Vanunu’s pictures and Jimmy Carter’s confirmation, “Israel and the Bomb” “The Samson Option”, etc. there’s any legitimate doubt.

        I think the MSM headlines will be real stunners like, “US Officials Gasp in Disbelief as Israel Confirms Nuclear Arsenal, “

      • Taxi on November 27, 2013, 3:38 pm

        And you support the ‘acquisition’ of illegal thermonuclear warheads, hophmi?

      • lysias on November 27, 2013, 3:51 pm

        I think the media’s denial on this issue is a result of the policy of nonconfirmation that Nixon and Israel agreed on back around 1970.

  3. LanceThruster on November 26, 2013, 5:57 pm

    Eyes wide shut…

  4. EUR1069 on November 26, 2013, 7:19 pm

    I’d rather not have any comment on this one.

  5. RoHa on November 26, 2013, 7:34 pm

    When are Americans allowed to call people “traitors”?

    • pabelmont on November 26, 2013, 8:25 pm

      RoHa: You ask a good question here. “Robert DeNiro says he knew of Milchan’s activities, and understood. He was fighting for his country.” America? And all the people, like DeNiro, who knew and didn’t speak up? What of them? Perhaps I’ve misunderstood.

      • bilal a on November 27, 2013, 1:55 am

        Yes we need a House Un-American activities investigation and hearings (no kidding), these are the stakes from respectable elite institutions now sounding the alarm of impending Israeli nuclear preemptive ‘genocide’ :

        Carnegie Endowment ‏@CarnegieEndow 15h
        Iran deal “was as much to freeze Israel’s edging toward war as it was to freeze Iran’s nuclear program.” @djrothkopf:

        The Real Nuclear Option
        Why Israel might nuke Iran to prevent Tehran from going nuclear. Seriously.

        commenters are not happy:

        Then again, the editor-in-chief of Slate Group, Mr Jacob Weisberg is a former classmate and personal friend of Secretary of State John Kerry, in whose interest it is to have articles such as this alleging the likelihood of the perpetration of nuclear genocide by Israel.
        This article was the most scandalously inept article I have ever read on foreignpolicy.”

      • ziusudra on November 27, 2013, 6:58 am

        Greetings pabelmont,
        …DeNiro, who knew & didn’t speak up?…..

        Speak up to whom? His Congressman, Senator?
        He would have been blackballed immediately like
        the Dixie Chicks or Woopie Goldberg!
        PS I critizise De Niro only for his naivete apologizing
        for US citzens with loyalty to a foreign entity.
        PPS We remember the McCarty era of Blacklisting?
        We remember Edgar J Hoover’s Antics?

    • Obsidian on November 27, 2013, 12:16 am


      When there is enough evidence to warrant the charge, or when they’re dead and can’t defend themselves.

      • marc b. on November 27, 2013, 9:07 am

        1. we have the statements of an admitted spy describing his direct involvement with an American citizen in acts of espionage against the US. I’d say that’s ‘enough evidence to warrant the charge’.
        2. ‘death’ is the expiration date for relevance? so you’ll get the word out to all of your Zionist friends to shut the f*ck up about the mufti and Arafat and on and on, right?

        I congratulate you on fulfilling your ambitions: nobody is born this ignorant, it can only be the result of practice.

      • Obsidian on November 28, 2013, 4:03 pm

        @marc b

        What ‘acts of espionage against the US’ are you talking about?

  6. DICKERSON3870 on November 26, 2013, 7:55 pm

    RE: “Everyone’s talking about the Israeli TV broadcast in which Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer, says that he spied for Israel in the U.S. and brought out nuclear triggers and such.” ~ Weiss

    SEE: “Israel’s Nuclear Triggers”, by Grant Smith,, 3/22/12

    [EXCERPT] . . . Like the NUMEC case, the krytron caper benefited from flawed elite news coverage that today seems superficial if not suspicious. Among the final pages of the FBI’s file is a clipping of Thomas Friedman’s May 1985 New York Times interview with Milchan, who had suddenly decamped for Jerusalem after the Smyth indictments. Milchan said he had only recently learned “that a krytron was a small little gizmo which anyone can go buy freely in the United States. You can use them for all kinds of things, including, incidentally, making cholent.” Friedman clarified for readers that “Cholent is a stew of beans, carrots, potatoes and beef that is a traditional Jewish dish prepared on Friday night for eating on the Sabbath. Mr. Milchan said that with a krytron timer a stove could be set to turn on automatically to heat up cholent on the Sabbath without anyone working to light the fire.”* . . .


    * P.S. So you see, it is anti-Semitic not to allow the Israelis unfettered access to krytrons (nuclear triggers) so that they can be used to automatically heat up cholent on the Sabbath without anyone working to light the fire!

  7. tarski on November 26, 2013, 9:22 pm

    If that is true, I really think that the charge of dual loyalty is not so far-fetched and antisemitic after all. I know lots of people here have long come to think this way, but I always thought that it was rather those Jews whose own history was either linked to Israel (the place of emigration) or to own experience of antisemitism that forced them to see Israel as the safe haven it is often described. The longer I read this blog the more I am surprised by the following facts:

    That the non-Jewish American public still “trusts” US-Jews, especially those in power and ties with Israel. Furthermore, that antisemitism is generally low in the US as compared to other nations (especially given the fact that usually the charge of dual loyalty is in fact a point in the antisemitism inventory).

    That there is no outcry on part of US Jews with no allegiance to Israel fearing that the behaviour of those like Pollack will jeopardise their own status as fully committed citizens (as viewed by others).

    And lastly, whether Jews are really so perfectly integrated into society as it seems. Is it after all true that Jews (even in America) have ever really felt at home. I actually think so, but then I ask myself how has Israel managed to convince so many US Jews to develop these patriotic feelings for Israel to the point that the true home, the US, is there to be spied on.

  8. Obsidian on November 27, 2013, 12:13 am

    More dead celebrities.



    • annie on November 27, 2013, 2:59 pm

      i was wondering the same thing myself. why do you think Milchan dragged Sydney Pollack into the equation? a dead guy who can’t speak for himself anymore? don’t you think there are a few live collaborators he could have mentioned instead? it reminds me of einstein, the way zionists grabbed him after death.

      Sydney Pollack helped in covert acquisitions of sensitive military equipment……. “He had to decide what he was willing to do and what he was not willing to do. On a lot of things he said no. On a lot of other things he said yes.”

      so he only implies he said yes to nuclear triggers and such. how very cowardly of milchan. he’s trying to use pollack to gloss over his own criminality. so, why do you think he’s going down the dead celebrity track? or do you agree w/me?

      • lysias on November 27, 2013, 3:49 pm

        If Milchan names living collaborators, those living collaborators might not like the publicity. They might even bring suit.

        But, in any case, their unhappiness would probably not help the cause of Israel.

      • annie on November 28, 2013, 1:03 am

        those living collaborators might not like the publicity

        they might even deny the charges. milchan is a weasel coward.

  9. Bandolero on November 27, 2013, 1:00 am

    As Arnon Milchan is also a financier of Oliver Stone’s movie “JFK” I wonder why Oliver Stone’s movie fails to mention critical facts like that the murder of JFK opened the path for Shimon Peres to develop Israeli nuclear weapons, while JFK was dead serious to prevent Israel from getting nuclear weapons.

    • EUR1069 on November 27, 2013, 9:43 am

      Ditto. Here’s another excellent breakdown of the issue.

    • lysias on November 27, 2013, 3:34 pm

      You beat me to it. I was about to say that.

      Note that Stone’s movie is quite sympathetic towards Jack Ruby. (It also humanizes David Ferrie, which I suppose was a bow towards political correctness, to tone down the unsympathetic portrayal of other homosexuals, notably Clay Shaw. I can’t recall any toning down of the generally unsympathetic portrayal of Cubans.)

  10. Krauss on November 27, 2013, 1:04 am

    So Pollack was given everything by America. He betrayed the country. Then shortly before his death he called middle America a bunch of anti-Semites.

    And then people wonder why anti-Semitism exists.
    Still, America essentially has no anti-Semitism. And I am thankful for that.
    The American people are better than venal rats like Sydney Pollack.

    • EUR1069 on November 29, 2013, 8:17 pm

      @Krauss: there is an apt Russian proverb to that end, that translates roughly as “No matter how much you feed a wolf, he keeps eyeing the forest”

  11. Justpassingby on November 27, 2013, 4:42 am

    Something similar..

    “Netanyahu implicated in nuclear smuggling from U.S. — big story in Israel”

  12. Allison Deger on November 27, 2013, 8:39 am

    Pollack was real solid in Husbands and Wives, but Judy Davis was the star of all of their scenes together. Remember when he and her were fighting, then his date and her new boyfriend entered the room. Golden. And the way he dragged the girlfriend out of the party later. Oh he embarrassed himself.

    • marc b. on November 27, 2013, 9:15 am

      I don’t think that Pollack was a very good actor, which is made even more clear when he was paired with a real actor, like davis, as you point out. (his performance in ‘eyes wide shut’ was brutal.) i’ll give him credit though: ‘jeremiah johnson’ has always been one of my favorite movies, with its sensitive-macho 70’s kind of hero plunked down in the wilderness.

      • TomAmitaiUSA on November 27, 2013, 3:52 pm

        He did a good job as the incarcerated cancer doctor on The Sopranos.

  13. Taxi on November 27, 2013, 9:43 am

    Using fashionable channels, somebody out there wants to introduce the undiscerning American public to the ‘idea’ of israeli nukes in a positive, exciting and acceptable way.

    Can Hollywood save israel’s illegal MWD’s from the IAEA and the NPT etc by already brainwashing American public opinion to accept and protect israel’s illegal nukes?

    Has an ‘I Heart Israeli Nukes’ campaign been launched to preempt the eventual and nearing global discussion on israel’s illegal nuclear, biological and chemical weapons?

    This story sucks and smacks of hasbara royale.

    • marc b. on November 27, 2013, 10:58 am

      the mostest moralistest army in the world has increasingly played roles in Hollywood productions, the repellent ‘World War Z’ (is the Z for zombie or Zionist?) being one glaring example. (wasn’t there some commenter to this site complaining that the film ultimately puts WASP-y types in the leading hero roles in that bit of celluloid shite. iow, he was upset that the IDF didn’t get to play lead machine gunner-racist killer of swarming, rodent 3rd worlders, but had to play second fiddle to blondie brad pitt. oh the injustice of it all.)

  14. lysias on November 27, 2013, 3:37 pm

    South Bend a cultural desert? Wasn’t (and isn’t) Notre Dame there?

  15. kalithea on November 27, 2013, 9:01 pm

    These Israel First-ers would never think of moving to a backward place like Israel but have ignorant clanish attachments and irrational illusions that make them behave with stupid allegiance.

    One day in the future, when hopefully a more enlightened society prevails “Exodus” will be viewed as a totally biased, sensationalized, hypocritical, deceptive and racist film, much like old films about the pioneers and the portrayal of the Indians as the savage “invaders”.

    Hollywood is Zionist mecca. And where Zionism rules the truth doesn’t.

  16. irmep on November 30, 2013, 11:23 am

    “I wonder how many folks in Hollywood knew of the allegations regarding Pollack? And approved.”

    Actually, the FBI knew in 1992 according to files released under FOIA.

    “Record of a phone call between a supervisory special agent in Los Angeles and a special agent in Portland classified as “secret.” The special agent notifies LA of impending news media coverage of “an extremely successful movie producer in Hollywood” [Arnon Milchan] noting his ties to “Oliver Stone, Sidney Pollack, Barbara Streisand, Tom Cruise, Richar Dreyfuss and Robert DeNiro. The subject’s likely location and wealth “close to $1 billion” and close ties to “Labor Party officials in Israel” is noted. Milchan’s arms dealing through MILCO and ties to another American are explored in the heavily redacted file.

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