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Zone of Interest's Jonathan Glazer's speech at the 2024 Oscars divides opinion

Jonathan GlazerIt is red-hot Oscar acceptance speechin which the Area of ​​interest the filmmaker referred to the Israel-Gaza conflict and said he refuted that “Jewishness and the Holocaust are being hijacked by an occupation,” which sparked a fierce reaction on social media.

In his speech prepared for the acceptance of the 2024 Oscar for best international film, Glazer thanked his partners on The area of ​​interest, a haunting film about Auschwitz and the Holocaust, then made a statement addressing both his work and a reference to the Israel-Gaza conflict. “All of our choices were made to reflect and confront the present, not to say, ‘Look what they did then’; rather 'what we're doing now,'” Glazer said. “Our film shows where dehumanization comes to a head. It has shaped our entire past and present.

Glazer, who is Jewish, added: “At this moment, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the hijacking of the Holocaust by an occupation that has led to conflict for so many innocent people,” he said. Glazer said, pausing briefly to applaud.

He continued: “Whether it is the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how can we resist?

Glazer then dedicated the film's win to Alexandria, a 90-year-old woman he met while working on the film and who inspired one of the key characters in The area of ​​interest.

Reaction to Glazer's speech was swift, although much of the initial negative sentiment occurred because some news sites had not fully quoted the British filmmaker, or because his quotes had been taken out of their context with the rest of his speech. Some people, incorrectly, interpreted Glazer's speech to mean that he was refuting his Jewishness, rather than refuting his “Jewishness and the Holocaust hijacked by an occupation that led to conflict for so many innocents”, such as he said it in his speech.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes was quick to correct people who misquoted Glazer. “I see (several) people saying that about Glazer's speech, and it's clearly false,” Hayes tweeted with Glazer's full quote.

“It was (a) bit of awkward wording, but he makes it clear that he denies that his Jewishness has been misused. I’m not refuting his Jewishness,” Hayes added in a follow-up tweet.

Still, several prominent Israeli and Jewish X users criticized Glazer for his comments. Michael Freund, an Israeli political activist who served as deputy communications director under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 1990s, written the“Jonathan Glazer is a self-hating Jew of the worst kind who is exploiting the Holocaust to publicly attack Israel Oscars ceremony.”

News week opinion columnist Batya Ungar-Sargon, another who misquoted Glazer, written the“I simply cannot understand the moral rot in someone's soul that leads them to win an award for a film about the Holocaust and, with the platform given to them, accept that award and say : “We are here as men who refute their Jewishness. .”

Among a flood of tweets and responses to Ungar-Sargon, Yonah Lieberman, co-founder of IfNotNow, an American Jewish group that opposes the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, written the, “You are lying about what they said by adding a period in the middle of their sentence. They clearly wanted to refute the way their Jewishness was misused. You're supposed to be a journalist.

Liberman tweeted Monday, “Almost everyone who distorts Glazer's words is themselves Jewish. Can you imagine any other minority group so willing to lie about one of their own in order to maintain a status quo in which an ethno-state can kill women and children with impunity?

In a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter of the Movement to Combat Anti-Semitism (CAM), CEO Sacha Roytman wrote: “Unfortunately, Jonathan Glazer has turned a magnificent feat into another 'as a Jew' moment, where he takes ownership of his religious and ethnic identity to attack the national homeland of the Jewish people. which is waging a seven-front war against those who openly call for the genocide of the Jews.

“Without comparing the two, Jews are once again being dehumanized for mass destruction, just as they were during the Holocaust. Rather than deflecting the Holocaust, the overwhelming majority of Jewish people have learned that when someone says they are coming to destroy us, we should not doubt their intention. »

Abraham Foxman, director emeritus of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted“I'm happy that Area of ​​interest won the Oscar for Best International Film – but as a Holocaust survivor, I'm shocked that the director is slapping the memory of over a million Jews who died because they were Jewish by announcing that he refutes his Jewishness. Shame on you.” Foxman's tweet, however, was accompanied by a community note for taking Glazer's quote out of context.

Similarly, conservative journalist John Podhoretz took Glazer's comments out of context. “By claiming to refute his Jewishness on the world's biggest stage five months after the attack on Israel, Jonathan Glazer instantly transformed himself into one of Judaism's historic villains,” said Podhoretz, editor-in-chief. of Comment, tweeted.

Also on Monday morning, conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, a staunch supporter of Israel's military campaign in Gaza, wasted no time in attacking Glazer, write on“In Jonathan Glazer’s book Area of ​​interest, we don't see a single Jew. These are the best Jews, according to Glazer: the faceless victims screaming in the distance. Ironically, he's the bad guy: pick up price bodies of these anonymous dead Jews while ignoring the living massacred in the envelope of Gaza by genocidal murderers.

Glazer received support from his fellow Hollywood filmmakers. Jewish American filmmaker Boots Riley was among Glazer's prominent peers who tweeted his support Sunday evening. “Hi to Jonathan Glazer. Not just for denouncing the atrocities in Gaza and saying his film was about the present – ​​but I finally saw Area of ​​interest last night. From Under the skin he showed that you don't have to wait to post to understand sound design.

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