Shame on you, Holocaust survivor tells Zone of Interest director

Survivor, 94, says Jonathan Glazer equated Hamas brutality with necessary Israel’s self-defence


HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 10: (L-R) Leonard Blavatnik, James Wilson, and Jonathan Glazer accept the Best International Feature Film award for "The Zone of Interest" onstage during the 96th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A 94-year-old Holocaust survivor has penned an open letter denouncing the “factually inaccurate and morally indefensible” comments made by The Zone of Interest director Jonathan Glazer during his Oscar acceptance speech on Sunday.

Written by Holocaust Survivor’s Foundation (HSF) president David Schaecter and signed by 18 members of the organisation’s US executive committee, the letter attacks Glazer’s use of his platform “to equate Hamas’s maniacal brutality against innocent Israelis with Israel’s difficult but necessary self-defence in the face of Hamas’s ongoing barbarity”.

Schaecter refers to the moment when Glazer said he and Jewish colleagues were accepting the award for best international feature film “as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people.”

In response, Schaecter writes: “The ‘occupation’ of which you speak has nothing to do with the Holocaust. The Jewish people’s existence and right to live in the land of Israel predates the Holocaust by hundreds of years.”

Addressing Glazer, he adds: “Worse is that you chose to use the Holocaust to validate your personal opinion. You made a Holocaust movie and won an Oscar. And you are Jewish. Good for you. But it is disgraceful for you to presume to speak for the six million Jews, including one and a half million children, who were murdered solely because of their Jewish identity.

“You should be ashamed of yourself for using Auschwitz to criticize Israel. If the creation, existence, and survival of the state of Israel as a Jewish state equates to ‘occupation’ in your mind, then you obviously learned nothing from your movie.”

HSF has been vocal on behalf of Israel since October 7. In November, Schaecter wrote an open letter to Schindler’s List director Steven Spielberg for not speaking up on behalf of the victims of the October 7 massacre: “Mr. Spielberg, Schindler’s List was about one man having the moral courage to risk his life to save others. We are not asking you to risk your life. We are asking you to use your voice.”

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