Jonathan Glazer Oscars Speech Backed by Joaquin Phoenix, Chloe Fineman

Jonathan Glazer Oscars Speech Backed by Joaquin Phoenix, Chloe Fineman

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Boots Riley, Debra Winger, Joel Coen and Lenny Abrahamson are also on the list of signees

Joaquin Phoenix, Elliott Gould, Chloe Fineman and more than 150 other Jewish creatives have signed an open letter in support of Jonathan Glazer’s Oscars speech.

The list of 151 signees obtained by Variety also includes Phoenix’s sister Rain, three-time Oscar nominee Debra Winger, “May December” director Todd Haynes, “Sorry to Bother You” helmer Boots Riley, acclaimed filmmaker Joel Coen, “Room” director Lenny Abrahamson, “Arrested Development” star David Cross, documentarian Amy Berg, “Barbie” actor Hari Nef, legendary playwright Tom Stoppard, former Focus Pictures CEO James Schamus, comedian Kate Berlant, “You Hurt My Feelings” director Nicole Holofcener, “Secrets & Lies” auteur Mike Leigh, “Passages” filmmaker Ira Sachs, “Gossip Girl” actor and writer Tavi Gevinson, “The Princess Bride” actor Wallace Shawn, “Bottoms” director Emma Seligman, “Mistress America” star Lola Kirke, “Zola” helmer Janicza Bravo, “Broad City” stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson and IndieWire film critic David Ehrlich.

Variety has reached out to personal representatives for many of the signatories, as well as independently reviewed documents confirming their participation.

In a statement to Variety, Ilana Glazer said, “I signed this letter to help counter the climate of silencing that many workplaces and industries are facing around Israel’s war on Gaza, now entering its seventh month. This controversy surrounding Jonathan Glazer is just one example.”

Added Schamus, “It has been weeks since Jonathan Glazer’s acceptance speech at the Academy Awards, but, as we’re reminded by this week’s unconscionable killing of seven World Center Kitchen aid workers — and of countless more Palestinian civilians — his plea for humanity has only become more urgent, as has our duty as Jewish creatives to protest the vicious smear campaign waged against him.”

After Glazer’s Holocaust drama “The Zone of Interest” won the Oscar for best international feature at the March 10 ceremony, the director used his speech to address the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. “All our choices were made to reflect and confront us in the present, not to say look what they did then, but rather look what we do now. Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It’s shaped all of our past and present,” Glazer said. “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?”

His words were met with both backlash and praise. In an open letter published on March 18, over 1,000 Jewish creatives and execs denounced Glazer’s speech for helping to fuel “growing anti-Jewish hatred around the world,” while others like director Ken Loach have come to his defense by calling his statement “brave” and “hugely valuable.” Glazer has yet to publicly address the backlash to the speech, but earlier this week the director donated seven signed “Zone of Interest” posters to a Cinema for Gaza auction raising money for Medical Aid for Palestinians.

“We are Jewish artists, filmmakers, writers and creative professionals who support Jonathan Glazer’s statement from the 2024 Oscars. We were alarmed to see some of our colleagues in the industry mischaracterize and denounce his remarks,” the open letter reads. “Their attacks on Glazer are a dangerous distraction from Israel’s escalating military campaign which has already killed over 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza and brought hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation. We grieve for all those who have been killed in Palestine and Israel over too many decades, including the 1,200 Israelis killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and the 253 hostages taken.”

The letter continues, “The attacks on Glazer also have a silencing effect on our industry, contributing to a broader climate of suppression of free speech and dissent, the very qualities our field should cherish. Glazer, Tony Kushner, Steven Spielberg and countless other artists of all backgrounds have decried the killing of Palestinian civilians. We should all be able to do the same without being wrongly accused of fueling antisemitism.”

“We honor the Holocaust by saying: Never again for anyone,” the statement concludes.

Read the full open letter and see the list of signees below.

We are Jewish artists, filmmakers, writers, and creative professionals who support Jonathan Glazer’s statement from the 2024 Oscars. We were alarmed to see some of our colleagues in the industry mischaracterize and denounce his remarks. Their attacks on Glazer are a dangerous distraction from Israel’s escalating military campaign which has already killed over 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza and brought hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation. We grieve for all those who have been killed in Palestine and Israel over too many decades, including the 1,200 Israelis killed in the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and the 253 hostages taken. 

The attacks on Glazer also have a silencing effect on our industry, contributing to a broader climate of suppression of free speech and dissent, the very qualities our field should cherish. Glazer, Tony Kushner, Steven Spielberg and countless other artists of all backgrounds have decried the killing of Palestinian civilians. We should all be able to do the same without being wrongly accused of fueling antisemitism.

In his speech, Glazer asked how we can resist the dehumanization that has led to mass atrocities throughout history. For such a statement to be taken as an affront only underscores its urgency. We should be able to name Israel’s apartheid and occupation — both recognized by leading human rights organizations as such — without being accused of rewriting history. 

As the Director of the Auschwitz Memorial, Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński, wrote, “’The Zone of Interest’ is not a film about the Shoah. It is primarily a profound warning about humanity and its nature.” We must not reserve this warning for a single group. To preserve our humanity and ensure our mutual survival, we must sound the alarm when any group faces such brutality and acts of erasure.

We are proud Jews who denounce the weaponization of Jewish identity and the memory of the Holocaust to justify what many experts in international law, including leading Holocaust scholars, have identified as a “genocide in the making.” We reject the false choice between Jewish safety and Palestinian freedom. We stand with all those calling for a permanent ceasefire, including the safe return of all hostages and the immediate delivery of aid into Gaza, and an end to Israel’s ongoing bombardment of and siege on Gaza. 

We honor the memory of the Holocaust by saying: Never again for anyone.

Signed,

  1. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz 
  1. V (formerly Eve Ensler) 

*Ehrlich is a critic at IndieWire, which shares a parent company, Penske Media, with Variety.



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