Michael Douglas reveals his son was the target of antisemitism


Michael Douglas has described his outrage following an incident last year when his teenage son was the victim of antisemitism.

The Hollywood actor, 70, wrote in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday how his 14-year-old son Dylan had been upset by a man yelling at him in their hotel swimming pool in Southern Europe.

“I stared at him,” he said. “And suddenly I had an awful realisation of what might have caused the man’s outrage: Dylan was wearing a Star of David.”

Mr Douglas went to confront his son’s attacker: “We talked. It was not a pleasant discussion. Afterward, I sat down with my son and said: ‘Dylan, you just had your first taste of antisemitism.’”

The actor wrote that, although he has a Jewish father, the actor Kirk Douglas, and a non-Jewish mother, he had no religious upbringing. However, his son’s “deep connection to Judaism” – and studying for his barmitzvah – had encouraged him “to reconnect with the religion of my father”.

He continued by calling on politicians and religious leaders to speak up against antisemitism, which he said had recently returned to the public domain “with renewed vengeance”.

“That is our challenge in 2015, and all of us must take it up. Because if we confront antisemitism whenever we see it, if we combat it individually and as a society, and use whatever platform we have to denounce it, we can stop the spread of this madness”.

He added: “My son is strong. He is fortunate to live in a country where antisemitism is rare. But now he too has learned of the dangers that he as a Jew must face.

“It's a lesson that I wish I didn't have to teach him, a lesson I hope he will never have to teach his children.”

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