He won the Oscar for his Holocaust film, but the Holocaust his people experienced on Oct. 7 does not interest him

Opinion: The American film industry has always positioned itself as the defender of the rights of the weak and defenseless; Jewish director Jonathan Glazer's Oscar acceptance speech proves that Hollywood has lost its way

In 1938, the film "Olympia" by the famous director Leni Riefenstahl was released in Germany. The film documented the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and was intended to market the idea of white supremacy as a continuation of the muscular athletes in ancient Greece. The film and the director won countless praises and awards. However, during her visit to the U.S. half a year later, the events of Kristallnacht broke out and many of the Jews and members of the filmmaking community in Hollywood were less forgiving of the message.

Since then, things have changed, and today the trend is the complete opposite of the one that dominated Hollywood 86 years ago. While in Eastern European countries you can still find deep-rooted, religious antisemitism full of stereotypes, in the West, the lexicon has long been changed. Jew hatred OUT, Zionism hatred IN.

Members of Congress refuse to condemn the Hamas attack on October 7, and the presidents of the most prestigious universities stated that the attacks on the Jewish students on their campuses are "context dependent." None of them will admit that she or the organization she belongs to hates Jews, but they and their institutions have no problem opposing Zionism. Hatred of Jews is interpreted as racism that belongs to the "old" world, while hatred and the opposition to Zionism are welcomed in the West today, marketed as a compassionate flavor of romantic and righteous opposition to colonialism. All antisemites must do is change the language a little, deny Israel's right to exist and these same old ideas will be embraced by the entertainment and media elite.

In our current climate it is not easy to be a Jewish or pro-Israeli artist, as evidenced by the events of last weekend in the U.S,: the Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu was forced to cancel a performance in Chicago due to threats of demonstrations against him; and pro-Palestinian demonstrators broke into the artist Michal Rovner's exhibition in New York. These acts are a direct result of the violent pro-Palestinian protests currently taking place.

Still, it is impossible to understand the statement of the Jewish-British director Jonathan Glazer, when he went up to give an acceptance speech at the Oscar ceremony on Sunday, after his film "The Zone of Interest" won the best foreign film award. It was an extraordinary example of bowing to the standards of the entertainment world.

"Our film shows where dehumanization leads, at its worst," Glazer said. "Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people. Whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel, or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims, this humanization, how do we resist?"

In other words, here is irony at its best in that a Jewish director, who earned the highest of honors in filmmaking thanks to a Holocaust film full of superlatives, designed to illustrate the juxtaposition between the comfortable life of Auschwitz commander Rudolf Hess and his family and the horrors that happened right across the yard of their home, then draws a line between that time and present-day Israel. If in the movie the Nazis are the ones who are clearly responsible for the dehumanization, it is quite clear, reading between the lines, who embodies them in today's reality.

Not only do Glazer and his co-creators "refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked," but he also refuses to identify with Israel at this time and points an accusing finger at her. The victims of the October 7 massacre and the victims in Gaza are the same as far as he is concerned. What is happening in the Gaza Strip is not Israel's just war of existence but a "continuous attack," and the whole war was created in the first place because of the Israeli "occupation."

In a different time, this could have been considered another harsh yet legitimate criticism of Israel. But, in the days when the anti-Israel demonstrators call for its complete destruction - "from the river to the sea" - and the dehumanization of innocent citizens who were abducted from their beds into the tunnels in Gaza, is precisely where the moral courage of Jewish artists in the Diaspora is needed.

The problem is that if you want to continue to be a relevant and respected artist, you need to align yourself with those who call for an immediate cease-fire and call out Israel. In stark contrast to his film, at least in one way Glazer made us miss 1938, the days when Hollywood knew the difference between good and bad.

Source: Ynet News