Tony Kushner Speaks Out In Support Of Jonathan Glazer, Calls Oscar Speech An “Unimpeachable, Irrefutable Statement”

One of America’s most celebrated writers and one of Steven Spielberg’s go-to collaborators on films such as Munich and The Fabelmans spoke out today on the Haaretz Podcast about the controversy over Jonathan Glazer’s speech after Zone of Interest won Best International Feature Film at the Oscars.

Speaking about protests in the U.S. and their impacts, Tony, Emmy and Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner expressed surprise at what he called “the blowback after Jonathan Glazer’s really sort of unimpeachable, irrefutable statement at the Oscars.”

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Asked if he identified Glazer’s comments, Kushner replied, “Of course. I mean, who doesn’t?”

For context, here is a portion of Glazer’s 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 which has led to conflict for so many innocent people.

Whether the victims of October — 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?

“What [Glazer’s] saying is so, is so simple,” maintained Kushner. “He’s saying Jewishness, Jewish identity, Jewish history, the history of the Holocaust, the history of Jewish suffering must not be used in a campaign as an excuse for a project of dehumanizing or slaughtering other people. This is a misappropriation of what it means to be a Jew, what the Holocaust meant, and he rejects that.”

He continued, “Who doesn’t agree with that? What kind of person thinks that what’s going on now in Gaza is acceptable? If you find yourself saying out loud and in public, ‘It’s fine with me, what they’re doing,” because you feel that it’s your only choice as a Jew is to defend everything Israel does, shame on you.”

More than a thousand entertainment industry professionals signed a letter this week denouncing the Glazer’s speech.

“We refute our Jewishness being hijacked for the purpose of drawing a moral equivalence between a Nazi regime that sought to exterminate a race of people, and an Israeli nation that seeks to avert its own extermination,” the letter states in part (read it in full in full here).

Still others, like She Said star Zoe Kazan, have gone public with support for Glazer, and a petition in his favour has amassed 1670 signatures.

Speaking specifically about the situation in the Middle East, Kushner seemed to suggest his views are evolving, in terms of how to respond.

“In my journey over the past five months, I’ve moved closer to the idea that maybe a boycott is necessary, but I can’t do it. I can’t separate myself from Israel.”

The goal, he said, is peace for everyone, including Israelis.

“I want Israelis to be able to live in peace…I believe the occupation in Gaza…all of these things, do not make Israel safe.”

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