Jonathan Glazer Was the Only Oscar Winner to Condemn Israel’s War on Gaza

“Right now we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and a Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation,” the director of Zone of Interest said while accepting the Oscar for Best International Feature.

Jonathan Glazer Was the Only Oscar Winner to Condemn Israel’s War on Gaza

At the Oscars Sunday night, director Jonathan Glazer used his acceptance speech for Best International Feature for Zone of Interest to criticize Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza and occupation of Palestinian land. “Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It’s shaped all of our past and present,” Glazer, who’s Jewish, said to scattered applause from the audience. “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.”

Several celebrities, including Billie Eilish, Ramy Youssef, Ava DuVernay, and Mark Ruffalo attended the Oscars wearing pins calling for a ceasefire, and Anatomy of a Fall’s Milo Machado Grenier and Swann Arlaud wore Palestinian flag pins on the red carpet. Pro-Palestine protesters also convened outside the Dolby Theatre, which hosted the award show. But Glazer’s acceptance speech stood alone as the only moment of the night to address the ongoing crisis in Gaza, which has seen Israeli forces kill over 30,000 Palestinians—including more than 13,000 children—in five months.

“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?” Glazer said. “All our choices are made to reflect and confront us in the present. Not to say, ‘Look what they did then,’ rather ‘look what we do now.”

Glazer’s speech has since been met with praise on social media, though some have pointed out that the speech doesn’t name Palestinians or Israel directly.

Glazer’s Zone of Interest depicts the relatively monotonous lives of a Nazi family living near the Auschwitz death camp during World War II, rendering his speech—which invoked his Jewish identity to condemn the atrocities that Israel is perpetrating in Gaza—particularly powerful. Glazer’s speech also comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday pledged to defy President Biden’s warnings and attack refugee camps in Rafah, along the southernmost border of Gaza, even after Biden called Rafah a “red line” that Israeli forces shouldn’t cross. “We’ll go there. We’re not going to leave. You know, I have a red line. You know what the red line is, that October 7 doesn’t happen again,” Netanyahu told Politico.

Over the last five months, award shows have been conspicuously quiet about the war in Gaza—especially in contrast with robust displays of support for Ukraine in 2022. In February, Annie Lennox honored Sinéad O’Connor, who vocally supported Palestine, by calling for a ceasefire while performing O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” at the Grammys… but that was also the only moment at the Grammys to mention Gaza.

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