‘Zone of Interest’ Oscars Speech Is Defended by Jewish Film Artists

More than 150 Jewish actors, filmmakers and other artists signed an open letter that was published on Friday in defense of remarks about Jewishness and the war in Gaza that the director Jonathan Glazer made in his Oscars acceptance speech for “The Zone of Interest,” his film about the Holocaust.

Glazer’s speech has become one of the most hotly debated in Oscars history, drawing an open letter of strong denunciation from other Jewish film professionals last month and now one of support.

“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,” Glazer, who is Jewish, said at the Academy Awards on March 10. “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 new letter expresses support for Glazer. “In his speech, Glazer asked how we can resist the dehumanization that has led to mass atrocities throughout history,” it says. “For such a statement to be taken as an affront only underscores its urgency.”

Its signatories included the actors Joaquin Phoenix, Hari Nef and Debra Winger; the directors Joel Coen, Nicole Holofcener and Boots Riley; the playwright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard; and the artist Nan Goldin, according to Variety, which reported the existence of the letter on Friday. Its signatories were confirmed by Sarah Sophie Flicker, an artist and cultural organizer who helped organize the letter.

“We stand with all those calling for a permanent cease-fire, 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,” the letter says.

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