450 Jewish creatives sign letter denouncing Jonathan Glazer’s Oscar speech

Jewish Hollywood figures and entertainters add their names to letter condemning ‘The Zone of Interest’ director’s speech


'The Zone of Interest' director Jonathan Glazer, who won the Oscar for best international film on 10 March, has sparked outrage for his controversial acceptance speech. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

Over 450 Jewish creatives, executives and Hollywood professionals have signed an open letter condemning “The Zone of Interest” director Jonathan Glazer’s Oscar acceptance speech.

Referencing Glazer’s controversial statement, the letter said: “We refute our Jewishness being hijacked for the purpose of drawing a moral equivalence between a Nazi regime that sought to exterminate a race of people, and an Israeli nation that seeks to avert its own extermination.

“Every civilian death in Gaza is tragic. Israel is not targeting civilians. It is targeting Hamas. The moment Hamas releases the hostages and surrenders, is the moment this heartbreaking war ends. This has been true since the Hamas attacks of October 7th.”

According to a Variety exclusive published last night, the list of signatories includes actors Debra Messing, Brett Gelman, Michael Rapaport and singer Montana Tucker, among others involved in the entertainment industry. Variety also noted that the letter was signed by an additional 50 people since it was published.

Taking issue with Glazer’s comments in which he said he refutes his “Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people,” the open letter continues: “The use of words like ‘occupation’ to describe an indigenous Jewish people defending a homeland that dates back thousands of years, and has been recognised as a state by the United Nations, distorts history.

“It gives credence to the modern blood libel that fuels a growing anti-Jewish hatred around the world, in the United States, and in Hollywood. The current climate of growing antisemitism only underscores the need for the Jewish State of Israel, a place which will always take us in, as no state did during the Holocaust depicted in Mr. Glazer’s film.”

Glazer, whose Holocaust film “The Zone of Interest” won best international film at the Oscars on 10 March, provoked the ire of members of the Jewish community in the following days for his comparison between the current war in Gaza with the Holocaust.

“Stranger Things” and “Fleabag” actor Brett Gelman explained his decision to sign the letter to Variety: “There was no concern for how Jewish people are going to react to a speech like that.... when not even our hostages are being mentioned, and it’s just incredibly hurtful, incredibly painful,” said Gelman. “It’s truly baffling to me that people were choosing to be silent that night.”

Jonathan Jakubowicz, director of the 2020 Holocaust film “Resistance,” also took issue with Glazer’s invocation of the Nazi regime’s mass murder of Jews to draw attention to Israel’s offensive in Gaza. He told Variety:

“If Israel had existed in the 1930s and 40s, Auschwitz would not have happened,” Jakubowicz said. “Mr. Glazer used the memory of the victims of the gas chambers to attack those trying to rescue Holocaust survivors and their relatives from captivity and sexual slavery. It’s important to call for peace, and we all do. But in this conflict, disinformation prolongs the war. And his comments unfortunately gave legitimacy to the propaganda networks interested in prolonging the war to demonize the Jewish people.”

The letter can be signed here

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