Cheryl Levi

Three Jews at the Oscars

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Ah, the glitz and glamour of the Oscars. For actors, it represents the peak of their year. It’s a celebration of their art, their talent, and oftentimes, their stupidity. And this year’s Oscars was no exception.

Hollywood stars are extremely well-paid to do two things – look good and read a script. So, every year at Hollywood’s biggest ceremony when the stars choose which of their friends they want to bestow the most coveted award, they arrive in $10,000 gowns and $100,000 necklaces. They pose for pictures, practice their seemingly impromptu thank-you speeches, and smile…a lot.

At one point the ratings for the Oscars seemed to be in trouble. In 2021, the show hit its all-time lowest ratings with a mere 10.4 million viewers, as opposed to the 46.33 million viewers in 2000. It was decided that lack of diversity was one of the key reasons for the decline, so in this year’s Oscars, diversity was one of the key factors in the voting. Apparently, Oppenheimer did well with DEI rules, but mostly because of its off-screen employees. According to the New York Times, almost 12 women held senior positions, including hair stylists, costume designers, and editors, and the head of make-up was Hispanic. Fortunately for the nearly all-white male on-screen actors, they managed to find some women and one Hispanic to work behind the scenes.

But perhaps the biggest moment for the DEI movement at the Oscars came from the winner of the best international feature film, director Jonathan Glazer, who gave a speech backing the Ceasefire Now movement in support of the Palestinians in Gaza. It’s a movement that calls for Israel to stop the war before they finish their job of destroying Hamas. It is also a movement that has sparked the 400% rise of antisemitism in America. As a good Jew, Jonathan Glazer decided to represent this movement.

The speech itself was difficult to understand, and as an English teacher I would have given it a D.  I had to read it a couple of times to understand it, and I couldn’t help but to wonder why Glazer didn’t have one of his writers check it over. Here is the speech:

“Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It’s 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 that has led to conflict for so many innocent people. 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?”

Putting aside the structural errors, and the obscurity of the language, let’s focus on the content of the speech itself. He is arguing against an Israeli occupation that doesn’t exist.  Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005 and I would challenge anyone to find an Israeli (soldier or citizen) in Gaza since then. Gaza was handed to the Palestinians like a gift, and they then turned it into a terrorist stronghold. Furthermore, the argument that Israel is somehow using the Holocaust as a means of justifying this war is offensive and wrong. October 7th was its own Holocaust. Jews were brutally murdered, mutilated, and burned in front of their children. Women were gang raped in front of their friends. The elderly and babies were taken hostage to Gaza where they were starved and tortured. And Hamas has promised to do this again and again. Israel does not have to use the Nazi Holocaust as a means to justify this war; it is self-justified. Hamas is an existential threat to Israel, and it must be destroyed…completely.

Furthermore, the only people who have used the Holocaust as a means for their own benefit are the people sitting in the room at the Oscars including Jonathan Glazer. These people have used the Holocaust as a means to earn millions of dollars and (of course) Oscar awards. Jonathan Glazer, a Jew, should recognize that his award comes on the backs of the millions of Jews who were gassed and enslaved by the Nazis. Without this historical event, would Glazer have received his Oscar?

But let’s focus on the Oscars ceremony itself for a minute. While Glazer’s speech received much applause (not surprisingly), the Oscars is really about a bunch of celebrities celebrating their own work. Where does the Israeli-Hamas war fit into this?

Politics and the Oscars have a long unfortunate history.  Few of those who watched the Oscar ceremony in 1973 could forget Marlon Brando’s Oscar award speech after winning best actor for “The Godfather.” He sent up a young Apache female to make his speech. She slowly walked to the stand, refused to take the trophy and sadly spoke of the terrible treatment perpetuated by the film industry against Native Americans. She was in full Native American garb with her long pigtails hanging at her side. It was a dramatic moment…that had nothing to do with the Oscars or the movie “The Godfather.” It was simply out of place. Perhaps the film industry needed to work on their treatment of Native Americans, but this just seemed odd.

In 1993, before presenting the award for best film editing, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins made a plea for HIV-positive Haitians. In that same ceremony, Richard Gere asked the Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, to remove his troops from Tibet. Was this an award show or CNN?

In 2003, Michael Moore called “Shame on you, Mr. Bush!” for starting the war in Iraq.And in 2010, when “The Cove” a documentary about dolphins won the award for best documentary, Ric O’Barry held up a sign that read “Text DOLPHIN to 44144” in order to encourage viewers to learn more about saving dolphins.

The problem here is that Hollywood has come to think too highly of itself. Audiences shouldn’t be looking to them for their political opinions. Some of these Oscar winners have never even completed high school! The ones that have a higher education, have studied acting or film, not political science or domestic policy, and certainly not Middle Easten studies. The Oscars are there to celebrate the entertainment industry, and nothing else.

This year’s Oscars ceremony was watched by 19.5 million people. It was the largest audience in four years. Outside the studio, pro-Palestinian protestors shouted, “Cease-Fire Now!” and briefly interrupted the beginning of the show, so it started a few minutes late. But they needn’t have worried. The three Jews who created the Holocaust film fought the Pro-Palestinian fight for them on the Oscars stage.  It’s embarrassing to see Jews criticizing Israel for defending itself against a terrorist organization. If you are a Jew, you should be more informed about the only Jewish country in the world. You should know that there are about 100,000 displaced Israelis who cannot return to their homes because of the missiles being fired at them from the North and the South. You should know that almost 600 soldiers have been killed and 3,000 wounded (many severely), trying to protect the Israeli people from Hamas and Hezbollah, both Iranian proxies. You should know that the Israeli government has bent over backward to protect the Palestinian people, even if it meant putting their soldiers at greater risk. You should know that Israel has sent in over 15,000 trucks with humanitarian aid for Gazans. You should also know that those trucks cannot reach the people because Hamas is stealing the aid and selling what they don’t use on the black market.

As a Jew, you should also understand that the number of Palestinian deaths that we hear about in the news has been artificially constructed by the Hamas-run health industry of Gaza. Recently, an article in Tablet magazine entitled “How the Gaza Ministry of Health Fakes Casualty Numbers” written by Abraham Wyner, professor of statistics at Wharton Business School, proved that those numbers are unrealistic.

An informed Jew would have known about this article.

Jonathan Glazer and his two Jewish friends have proved themselves to be uninformed at best, and antisemitic at worst. They have used the Nazi Holocaust to promote their own success and then falsely accused Israel of doing the very same thing. They have chosen to ally themselves with pro-Palestinian calls for a ceasefire that could eventually lead to the destruction of Israel. And, at the one time in their lives that they stood before an audience of 19.5 million people, they decided to introduce themselves as Jews and then use their podium to preach Pro-Hamas propaganda. There is no question in my mind: These three Jews at the Oscars have forfeited their rights to call themselves Jews.

About the Author
Cheryl Levi is a writer and a high school English teacher who lives with her family in Bet Shemesh, Israel. She has a master's degree in medieval Jewish philosophy and has written numerous articles about faith crisis in Judaism. Her book, Reasonable Doubts, was published in 2010.
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