Director of Oscar Winning Holocaust Film Slams Israel

Dennis [email protected]

Does it get any stranger than this? During his acceptance speech at the Oscars, Jonathan Glazer, the director of “The Zone of Interest,” expressed gratitude to the organizations that supported the making of his movie, which explored the story of a Nazi commandant at Auschwitz and won Best International Film. 

He then criticized Israel with unfounded allegations about the situation in Gaza.

“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,” he said, continuing, “Whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?” 

Max Abrahms, a professor with expertise in terrorism, suggested on X that a psychological study should be conducted on Jewish individuals who back Hamas. He stated that supporting Hamas is not the correct lesson to be learned from the Holocaust. He quipped on X, “And the award for drawing the completely wrong lesson about the Holocaust goes to… Jonathan Glazer.” 

Jonathan Glazer, a filmmaker of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, traces his ancestry to Ukrainian and Bessarabian Jews who fled the Chișinău pogrom to the United Kingdom in the early 1900s. His Jewish heritage notably influences his work, notably in his film “The Zone of Interest,” which addresses Holocaust themes.

Glazer’s connection to his faith has sparked discussions, particularly after his Oscar acceptance speech, where he addressed the Holocaust and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Interpretations of his speech vary, with some viewing it as a rejection of his Jewish identity while others call it “courageous.” 

Whatever it was meant to represent, it had no place onstage at the 2024 Oscars. 

Hussain Abdul-Hussain, research fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), criticized Glazer’s remarks. He notes, “In reality, it was the end of Israel’s occupation of Gaza in 2005, and the dismantling of settlements, which led to several rounds of conflict culminating in the Hamas massacre of 1,200 Israelis on October 7,” before adding, “Why not stick to acting or whatever he does in Hollywood?” 

Even politicians were horrified, with former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker posting on social media that Hamas is engaged in the mass killing of innocent Israeli civilians, with the ultimate goal of eradicating Israel and the Jewish people. He criticized Glazer for his profound lack of knowledge about the Holocaust, suggesting that such ignorance among the “elite” is “breathtakingly dangerous.”  

Most Jewish communities and organizations don’t support Hamas, an organization that many countries consider a terrorist group. The mainstream Jewish viewpoint typically backs Israel’s right to exist and defend itself against threats, including those posed by Hamas. 

But Glazer represents a small portion of Jewish people who don’t support Israel and criticize mainstream backing for the country, leading to bizarre anti-Israeli views. These perspectives often stem from political and humanitarian concerns, with some arguing that their stance is a way to resist what they see as unfair policies of the Israeli government. 

Of course, anti-Israeli views from those who support Hamas and the reasons they might do so are controversial. Science professor Gad Saad posted on social media, “From the annals of: ‘If I engage in sufficient self-loathing, perhaps they’ll spare me.’ A clown who knows nothing about the relevant realities.” 

The irony of a director winning an award for a Holocaust film while despising his faith is leading to mixed emotions.

Batya Ungar-Sargon, the Opinion Editor for Newsweek, expressed disbelief and criticism towards an individual who, upon winning an award for a Holocaust movie, used their acceptance speech to renounce their Jewish identity. She wrote that she “cannot fathom the moral rot in someone’s soul” that would cause them to win an Oscar for a movie about the Holocaust and then use that platform to say that he, and others, “stand here as men who refute their Jewishness.” 

But Glazer has seen his share of support for his actions at the show, including a group of Israeli Defense Forces veterans. Furthermore, an article in The Nation hailed Glazer’s speech as a representation of the finest aspects of Judaism, asserting that he is reclaiming his cultural identity from those who equate Judaism solely with Zionism.

TIME magazine also lauded Glazer for his “moral bravery.” The NGO Breaking the Silence, recognized for its anti-occupation stance, backed Glazer’s statements. 

However, New York Post journalist Jon Levine summed it up best when he wondered, “Where is Will Smith when you need him?”