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This was a good idea for a story, and Nicole Neroulias has done a good job with it. Following the release of "Inglourious Basterds," Quentin Tarantino's blood-soaked World War II revenge fantasy, the Religion News Service writer has asked several rabbis whether Judaism would condone the savagery inflicted by the film's Jewish heroes on their Nazi oppressors.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, places "Basterds" in what Neroulias calls "an emerging genre of celebrated Jewish resistance, including last year's 'Defiance,' about a community of Jews who found refuge in a Belarus forest during the Holocaust, and 2005's 'Munich,' about efforts to assassinate Arab terrorists who killed Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.""Tarantino's World War II fantasy and its orgy of violence are little more than cartoonish savagery and perhaps a cathartic experience for some Jewish viewers," Neroulias writes. "It's a sort of reverse form of Schadenfreude: Jews giving Nazis the ultimate taste of their own medicine.

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"Yet the film also represents a growing genre of Jewish-themed films in which the victims become the victors. Anne Frank is no longer hiding in the attic; the fate of Judaism no longer depends on benevolent gentiles like Oskar Schindler."

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