Wednesday, March 13, 2024

An Oscar Night Visit

The Zone of Interest: Yes, Abq Jew is entirely aware that Oscar Night was days ago and nobody wants to talk about it any more. Except that everybody - well, everybody Jewish - still wants to talk about it. 

And everybody else should also talk about it.

The Zone of Interest

Jonathan S Tobin, Editor-in-Chief of the Jewish News Syndicate, tells the story. He begins:
‘As a Jew’ Oscar moment shows how woke antisemitism works

Unless you’re a film buff, you may not have heard of Jonathan Glazer before his viral moment at this year’s annual Academy Awards ceremony. 
After “The Zone of Interest”—a highly-praised film about the commandant of the Auschwitz death camp that is very loosely based on a Martin Amis novel with the same title—was named the winner of the Oscar for Best International Feature Film, Glazer appeared on the stage along with the rest of the production team to accept their trophies. 
Standing with producer James Wilson and their billionaire financial backer Leonard Blavatnik, Glazer, who wrote and directed the movie, chose not to speak extemporaneously but instead read the following prepared statement:
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 in a Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which 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?
The tortured syntax of his comments notwithstanding, what Glazer said wasn’t merely deeply offensive. It marked a new low in Hollywood’s descent into fashionable rationalizations of hatred for Jews. 
It also showed us how the new woke antisemitism works, especially when its standard-bearers are Jews with little or no connection to their heritage. 
As such, it was the quintessential “as a Jew” moment in which persons invoke their Jewish identity to denounce other Jews.
Rodger Kamenetz

It would appear that the least of Jonathan Glazer's problems is the syntax of his statement, which he read, carefully, from the podium. So let's deal with that first. Or, better yet, let's let author Rodger Kamenetz (see August 2011's Burnt Books) deal with that. As he did on Facebook.
Apparently diagramming sentences is a lost art. 
Clearly the direct object of refute is the gerund phrase “being hijacked”. That said it is a principle of clear writing to keep related words together. 
In this case the ear would naturally at first hear the adjacent nouns Jewishness and Holocaust as direct objects before getting to the gerund phrase. So a very poorly constructed sentence. 
And the verb refute is incorrect which makes the poor syntax even worse. Altogether a poor sentence and in my opinion it is ill advised to make necessarily brief statements about this complex situation. 
Also I don’t watch boring award shows so I was spared listening. 

But among those who, like Abq Jew, did watch and were listening - once we figured out what Jonathan Glazer meant by what he said - the condemnations were overwhelming, if not universal. 

At His Oscar Moment, Jonathan Glazer
Hijacks His Jewishness and the Holocaust

Shame on Jonathan Glazer for his Oscars speech

A Disgraceful Acceptance Speech at the Oscars

Jew In The City

Of the many, many, many who rightfully condemned Glazer's enigmatic statement, Abq Jew here chooses to amplify the words of Allison Josephs, founder of the exemplary communications channel Jew In The City.
Glazer could have spoken about how the dehumanization of Jews led people to not believe that sexual violence was used against Israeli women or that it was ‘justified resistance.’ 
He could have said that the dehumanization of Jews led people to celebrate and/or deny that October 7 happened at all. 
He could have noted that October 7 was the most deadly day for Jews since the Holocaust.

Instead Glazer used a common refrain from Jew-haters — that the Holocaust is the ‘get out of jail free card’ for Jews. 
He blamed Jews for their own massacre by saying that ‘the occupation led to conflict for so many people,’ which is why he was refuting his Jewishness and the Holocaust being used for this purpose. 
Cillian Murphy accepted his award as ‘a very proud Irishman.’ 
If only we had a SINGLE Jew in Hollywood who could accept their award as a very proud Jew.
Abq Jew

Abq Jew's response to Jonathan Glazer's crypticism, while supporting all those who have proffered condemnation, is, in his own humble opinion, much more succinct, direct, and to-the-point:

What The Hell Is Wrong With You
But it's Adar (again)!
This time we really mean it!
Be happy! Purim is coming!

It's Adar

Thank God it's Adar Bet Adar Sheni Adar II (and has been since we changed the clocks)! When Adar Bet Adar Sheni Adar II arrives, our happiness goes way up. Which is good - because God knows we can use all the happiness we can get.

Chabad Purim Story

Tzvi Freeman of Chabad captures the Purim Zeitgeist:

On Purim, it’s a mitzvah to hear the story of Esther read from a scroll—called a “megillah”—both by day and by night.

The Talmud tells us, “If you read the story backwards, you haven’t read the story.” (Megillah 2a.)

Of course, that means you have to read the story in the order it’s written. But the Baal Shem Tov provided a deeper meaning:

If you read the story of Esther and of her people, of the rise of Haman and his own self-destruction, of secret heroes and hidden miracles…

…if you read all this as though it was all a backstory —something that occurred a long time ago and now provides only historical context —you haven’t read the story.

Because Jews have never had the luxury to retell this story as something we have put behind us.

Haman persists to reappear in his many incarnations, as a dictator, as a terrorist, as an ideology, as an advocate of war, as an advocate of peace, or, most pernicious of all, as the cold apathy that chills our own hearts from within.

He remains to remind us that as a nation, as well as individuals, we rely every day on G‑d's miracles simply to remain the nation we were chosen to be. And when we stand firm and united, we see those miracles.

A Jew looks around and discovers: We are standing in the middle of the story of Purim right now.


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