Gary Fouse

The Oscars and Jonathan Glazer

Full disclosure: I don’t watch the Oscars. To me, it’s nothing but three hours of watching people tell each other how wonderful they all are and interspace that with acceptance speeches that all too often lecture us on what our values ought to be. Coming from Hollywood, no thanks. Throw in an obnoxious host like Jimmy Kimmel, and some guy walking onto the stage with no clothes on, and…. I think I have made the right choice.

It has taken me several days to digest the words spoken by Jonathan Glazer, a British Jew who got an Oscar for a film based on the Holocaust. Here is what he said:

“Thank you so much. I’m gonna read. Thank you to the Academy for this honor and to our partners A24, Film4, Access, and Polish Film Institute; to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum for their trust and guidance; to my producers, actors, collaborators. All our choices were made to reflect and confront us in the present — not to say, “Look what they did then,” rather, “Look what we do now.” Our film shows where dehumanization leads, at its worst. It shaped all of our past and present. 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 the — [Applause.] 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? [Applause.] Aleksandra Bystroń-Kołodziejczyk, the girl who glows in the film, as she did in life, chose to. I dedicate this to her memory and her resistance. Thank you.”

I have not seen Glazer’s film, so I have no opinion on the award itself. While I didn’t watch him live, I am appalled by what he said, as are many other people. His words were mostly jumbled and confusing, but what stood out were the words, “Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation…….”

I’ll end the quote there. This was said as pro-Palestinian demonstrators were blocking traffic outside the Oscars venue to wave their Palestinian flags and scream about genocide-which they know nothing about.

As a gentile teaching at the University of California at Irvine (1998-2016) and seeing first-hand the anti-Semitism disguised as anti-Zionism and human rights for the “beleaguered” Palestinians on our campus, I got involved in fighting this campus Jew-hatred. For the first time in my life, (and I grew up amongst many Jews in West Los Angeles), I learned that there were more than a handful of Jews who were siding with the Palestinians, actually marching hand in hand with the very people who wished to bring an end to the Jewish state-by any means necessary. I have come to hold contempt for these people, especially those in academia who are using their positions to advance the Palestinian cause-even in their classrooms in many cases. Let’s call it what it is: They are indoctrinating our youth. Even worse, the result of this never-ending anti-Israel campaign on campus is that Jewish students are living and studying in a climate of fear, bullying, and intimidation.

However, since October 7, the worst day in Jewish history since the end of the Second World War and the Holocaust, I have been downright shocked at the refusal of these same people who, rather than come to their senses after October 7, are actually doubling down on their condemnation of Israel. They continue to give aid and comfort to the monsters of Hamas and their followers. My contempt has turned into something much worse- I can’t even find the right word to describe it.

To think that at this moment in time, when anti-Semitism is now running rampant worldwide, largely thanks to the Palestinian propaganda machine, people can stand up in public and “refute their Jewishness” and imply there is a moral equivalency between Hamas’ actions on October 7 and the Israeli military response is sickening to this non-Jew. I can only imagine what the vast majority of Jews must feel hearing those words, particularly Israeli Jews.

During World War II, we reduced most major German and Japanese cities to rubble and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. Nobody spoke then of genocide. We were not trying to exterminate the German or Japanese people. We had been attacked, and we were desperately fighting a war for our very survival as is Israel today. Has Glazer forgotten that it was British and American bombers dropping bombs on German cities. His nation was also fighting for its survival. Does this man really understand his history?

I can’t speak for Britain and the rest of Europe, but most Americans are supportive of Israel even while our population changes demographically and people come from certain parts of the world who are opposed to Israel. They are still a minority. Their words and actions, however, do hurt. We also have a few people in Congress like Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. She is of Palestinian descent, born in the US, and has often said things many consider anti-Semitic in her constant campaign against Israel. But from the Palestinian point of view, who needs Rashida Tlaib when you have people like Jonathan Glazer? In Britain, you have your George Galloways and Jeremy Corbyns, among others, who have been accused of being anti-Semites. Similarly, who needs them when you have Jonathan Glazer?

About the Author
Gary Fouse worked from 1998-2016 as adjunct teacher at University of California at Irvine Ext. teaching English as a second language. Served three years in US Army Military Police at Erlangen, Germany 1966-68. 1970-1973- Criminal Investigator with US Customs 1973-1995 Criminal investigator with Drug Enforcement Administration. Stationed in Los Angeles, Bangkok, Milan, Italy, Pittsburgh and Office of Training, FBI Academy, Quantico, Va. until retirement. Author of Erlangen-An American's History of a German Town-University Press of America 2005. The Story of Papiamentu- A Study in Slavery and Language, University Press of America, 2002. The Languages of the Former Soviet Republics-Their History and Development, University Press of America, 2000.