Stunning moment at screening of Jolie film about Daniel Pearl

At Thursday’s Paramount Vantage Los Angeles screening of “A Mighty Heart,” which including an interfaith panel discussion with representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Progressive Christians Uniting (PCU) as well as Plan B co-producer Dede Gardner and Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak,

a Jewish activist decried the leanings of several of the participants, likening CAIR’s involvement to “David Duke co-sponsoring ‘Schindler’s List.’”

“The only reason they like this film is because it’s about a dead Jew,” said Allyson Rowen-Taylor, who has been involved in orgs such as the American Jewish Congress and Stand With Us. The activist found out about the event from a friend who’s a member of the Academy and immediately expressed her outrage to Judea Pearl, father of the late journo Daniel Pearl.

We’ve written about Allison Rowen Taylor, before. While still a high ranking staffer for the American Jewish Congress, she sent an “anonymous” email to the personal account of a Jewish staffer for the Quaker human rights group American Friends Service Committee, demanding to know, “why do you hate being a Jew, why are you in favor of murdering Jews?” (She later served as associate director of Stand With Us, “a pro-Israel advocacy organization active on California campuses,” though it is unclear from her remarks if she has also left there and why.)

Had Taylor suggested that the only reason Jews liked a movie was because it was about a dead Muslim, it’s likely she would simply have been shuffled out the door or ignored, instead of given a platform.

Having been told about the event and sponsors, Judea Pearl wrote somewhat cryptically in an email

“This is Hollywood’s idea of a ‘dialogue.’

Meanwhile, former WSJ reporter Asra Q. Nomani who was based in Pakistan, knew Daniel Pearl well, and played an essential role in the search for him, wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post this weekend called A Mighty Shame:

For me, watching the movie was like having people enter my home, rearrange the furniture and reprogram my memory. I’d known it was a gamble when I agreed to help with a Hollywood version of Danny’s kidnapping, but I’d done it because I thought the movie had the potential to be meaningful. I’d hoped it could honor the man I’d worked alongside for nine years at the Journal by explaining why he was so passionate about his work as a reporter. I’d hoped that it would tell the story of the unique team of law enforcement agents, government officials and journalists — of varying religions, nationalities and cultures — that had searched for him. And I hoped it could spark a search for the truth behind Danny’s death.

But the moviemakers and their PR machine seemed intent on two very different and much shallower goals: creating a mega-star vehicle for Angelina Jolie, who plays Mariane, and promoting the glib and cliched idea that both Danny and Mariane were “ordinary heroes.”

I think Danny would have rolled his eyes at that.

In the prologue to her book, Mariane wrote to her son: “I write this book for you, Adam, so you know that your father was not a hero but an ordinary man.” In a movie voiceover, that dedication becomes: “This film is for our son so he knows that his father was an ordinary man. An ordinary hero.”

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