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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.

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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”.

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.)

Eyes wide shut…

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

When are Americans allowed to call people “traitors”?