Tony Kushner Defends Jonathan Glazer’s Oscar Speech as an ‘Unimpeachable, Irrefutable Statement’ About the Israel-Hamas War

Screenwriter and playwright Tony Kushner has defended Jonathan Glazer’s Oscar speech against critics.

While accepting the Academy Award for best international feature for his Holocaust movie “The Zone of Interest,” Glazer spoke about the ongoing violence in the Middle East, saying the Auschwitz-set film “shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It 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 Oct. 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization — how do we resist?”

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The speech has been met with both kudos on social media and dissent in the industry, including an open letter from over 1,000 Jewish creatives and execs denouncing his words.

Kushner, who he himself has received four Academy Awards nominations for “Munich,” “Lincoln” and “The Fabelmans,” was a guest on Wednesday’s episode of “Haaretz Podcast.” When asked about the speech, he said Glazer’s words were an “unimpeachable, irrefutable statement.”

Asked if he identified with the speech, Kushner answered, “Of course. I mean, who doesn’t? What he’s saying is so simple. 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 of — 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 [Glazer] 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?”

Kushner’s work often ties in thematically to his Jewish identity, and he has publicly spoken out in the past about Israel and Palestine.

The “Haaretz Podcast” is a weekly show hosted by Allison Kaplan Sommer from Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, which tackles topics such as Israel, the Middle East and Jewish politics and culture.

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