Controversy erupts over Jonathan Glazer's oscar speech, denounced by Michael Rapaport and several jews in hollywood | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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Controversy erupts over Jonathan Glazer's oscar speech, denounced by Michael Rapaport and several jews in hollywood

ByNikhita Mehta
Mar 19, 2024 07:56 PM IST

Jonathan Glazer's speech faced severe backlash from various A-list celebrities like Debra Messing, Julianna Margulies, and Michael Rapaport.

The director of “The Zone of Interest”, Jonathan Glazer, who won Best International Feature at the Oscars has angered many jews with this acceptance speech. During his note of thanks he connected the film’s theme of dehumanisation to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Director Jonathan Glazer wins the Oscar for Best International Feature Film for "The Zone of Interest" of United Kingdom during the Oscars show at the 96th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 10, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Blake(REUTERS)
Director Jonathan Glazer wins the Oscar for Best International Feature Film for "The Zone of Interest" of United Kingdom during the Oscars show at the 96th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 10, 2024. REUTERS/Mike Blake(REUTERS)

"Our film shows where dehumanisation leads at its worst," said Glazer. "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 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza—all the victims of this dehumanisation, how do we resist?”

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The film "The Zone of Interest” shows the life of a Nazi commander's family living near the horrifying Auschwitz concentration camps and won two Academy Awards, despite controversy surrounding Glazer's speech.

Glazer's speech faced severe backlash from various A-list celebrities like Debra Messing, Julianna Margulies, and Michael Rapaport, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tovah Feldshuh, Lisa Edelstein, Brett Gelman; top producer Amy Pascal; and filmmakers Eli Roth and Rod Lurie.

How did the executive producers of Jonathan Glazer's film express disagreement with his views?

Even one of the films' executive producers, Danny Cohen, disagreed with Glazer. Simply saying, "I just fundamentally disagree with Jonathan."

"It’s really important to recognize it’s upset a lot of people and a lot of people feel upset and angry about it. And I understand that anger frankly," Cohen said on the Unholy podcast. "The war and the continuation of the war is the responsibility of Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization which continues to hold and abuse the hostages which doesn’t use its tunnels to protect the innocent civilians of Gaza but uses it to hide themselves and allow Palestinians to die. I think the war is tragic and awful and the loss of civilian life is awful, but I blame Hamas for that.”

Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation angry with Glazer

The Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation condemned Glazer's speech, stating it to be "morally indefensible” in an open letter.

"I watched in anguish Sunday night when I heard you use the platform of the Oscars ceremony 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. Your comments were factually inaccurate and morally indefensible," Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation USA president 94-year-old Holocaust survivor David Schaecter wrote to Glazer.

"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. Today's political and geographic landscape is the direct result of wars started by past Arab leaders who refused to accept Jewish people as their neighbors in our historic homeland. Now that several Arab countries are making peace with Israel because security and prosperity are better for all people, Iran and its terrorist proxies started another war, abetted by too many, who, through naïveté or malice, blame ‘the occupation.’”

"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 half million children, who were murdered solely because of their Jewish identity," Schaecter continued. "And it is disgraceful for you to presume to speak for those of us who personally saw the world stand silent as our mothers, father, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were murdered. We actually had nowhere to go - no possible place for refuge.

No country would accept us even though world leaders knew full well that thousands of Jews were being murdered every day. There was no Jewish nation to which we could flee. You should be ashamed of yourself for using Auschwitz to criticize Israel."

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