Tony Kushner Backs Jonathan Glazer’s “Unimpeachable, Irrefutable” Oscars Speech: “Who Doesn’t Agree With That?”

Tony Kushner has come out in support of Jonathan Glazer’s Oscars acceptance speech, describing the British director’s comments at the ceremony as an “unimpeachable irrefutable statement.”

Speaking on the Haaretz Podcast which was released Wednesday, Kushner, a four-time Academy Award nominated screenwriter, was asked about his feelings on a number of topics related to the Israel-Gaza conflict and brought up Glazer’s speech, which has been attacked by some Jewish figures in Hollywood and was the subject of a recent open letter signed by 1,000 people.

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During the podcast, Kushner, who is promoting a production of his Tony-award winning play Angels in America that is playing in Tel Aviv, brought up the blowback to Glazer’s Oscars speech, which he described as “really sort of unimpeachable, irrefutable statement.” The playwright was then asked if he agreed with Glazer’s comments, to which Kushner said, “Of course, I mean, who doesn’t?”

Kushner said, “What [Glazer’s] saying is so, 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 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. Who doesn’t agree with that?” he continued.

“What kind of person thinks that what’s going on now in Gaza is acceptable?” Kushner added. “And if you find yourself saying out loud and in public, ‘Oh it’s fine with me what they’re doing,’ because you feel that it’s the only choice for you, because you’re a Jew, is to defend everything that Israel does, you know, shame on you.”

Earlier in the podcast, Kushner, who has been a longtime critic of Israel’s, and particularly Benjamin Netanyahu’s, policies and treatment of Palestinians, addressed accusations that calling for a ceasefire was antisemitism. “The people that I know who are passionately involved in calls for a ceasefire, these are not people who are antisemites, their interest is not in destroying Israel and certainly their interest is not in pogroms against Jews elsewhere.

“What they’re really interested in, and the passion and the rage that you’re seeing, is because thousands of lives are at stake, tens of thousands, millions of lives are at stake. Because before our eyes, what really looks a lot like ethnic cleansing, to me, is going on,” Kushner said. “I mean, I tend to believe the people on the extreme right in Netanyahu’s cabinet who say, ‘Yeah, it’s ours now,’ how is that not ethnic cleansing?”

Kushner said he wanted “Israelis to be able to live in peace and security,” but added the “treatment of the Palestinians, as many Israelis have been saying for decades, the occupation of the West Bank and the imprisonment of people in Gaza, and the checkpoints, and the wall, and all this stuff actually doesn’t make Israel safe.”

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