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A new group of Jewish Hollywood artists supports Jonathan Glazer’s criticism of Israel | Culture

by News Room
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Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix, famous actor Elliot Gould, screenwriter and director Joel Coen, photographer Nan Goldin and writer and activist Naomi Klein are just some of the 151 Jewish celebrities who came out this Friday in support of the speech he gave Filmmaker Jonathan Glazer at the Academy Awards ceremony. Director of The area of ​​interest, winner of best international film, has been at the center of criticism in Hollywood for weeks for the brief words it uttered against the disproportionate Israeli offensive against the Palestinian people. “We have been alarmed to see that some of our colleagues in the industry have misinterpreted and denounced her words,” the artists say in a letter published this Friday in the magazine Variety.

“The attacks on Glazer are a dangerous distraction from Israel’s military escalation, which has already killed more than 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza and left hundreds of thousands on the brink of starvation,” say the signatories, who join the the growing voices within the United States demanding a permanent ceasefire. The artists dedicate a few words in their letter to remember the Jews who were murdered in the Hamas operation on October 7, the 235 kidnapped on that day and the victims left by both sides over “too many decades.”

The group highlights the climate of censorship that has been installed in the entertainment industry after the speech by Glazer, who is British and Jewish. A thousand professionals condemned the filmmaker’s words ten days after the gala speech, which went almost unnoticed among those present. “We reject that our Judaism is hijacked for the purpose of establishing a moral equivalence between a Nazi regime that tried to exterminate a race of people and an Israeli nation that tries to avoid its own extermination,” said those who charged against the filmmaker. Actresses Debra Messing and Jennifer Jason Leigh; Sony top producer Amy Pascal and studio executives such as Gary Barber were among those who accused the director of The area of ​​interest of promoting anti-Semitism.

“The attacks on Glazer have a silencing effect on the industry that contributes to the suppression of freedom of expression and dissent, qualities that we should treasure in our field,” artists such as director Todd Haynes consider this Friday; directors Nicole Holofcenter and Miranda July; writer Rachel Kushner, comedian David Cross and renowned British filmmaker Mike Leigh.

“We are proud Jews who criticize the use of our identity and the memory of the Holocaust to justify what many experts in international law, including some academics specializing in the Holocaust, have identified as an “ongoing genocide,”’ they continue. The letter quotes one of these Shoah specialists, Dr. Piotr Cywinski, director of the Auschwitz memorial. The Polish historian claims that Glazer’s two-Oscar-winning film is not just about the extermination carried out by the Nazis. “It is primarily a profound warning about humanity and its nature,” Cywinski said. “To preserve humanity and ensure the survival of all, we must sound the alarm when any group faces such brutality and acts of extermination,” the signatories say.

The 151 names backing Glazer are not alone. Before them, Tony Kushner, the influential screenwriter of films directed by Steven Speilberg such as Munich, Lincoln y The Fabelmanshe stated in an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the words of the English were “impeccable and irrefutable.” “What he is saying is that Jewish identity and our history, the history of the Holocaust, and suffering cannot be used as a campaign that aims to dehumanize or massacre others.”

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