Taking Woody Allen Seriously as a Jew

Having recently completed a biography of Woody Allen, David Evanier comments on the filmmaker’s Jewish affinities:

[Woody Allen] is the most identifiable, brazen, and forthright Jewish artist in the world, insistently reminding his viewers about the Holocaust in many of his films. Jewish Hollywood, with many of its moguls refugees from Hitler, had been reluctant to place Jewish actors in leading roles. Maurice Schwartz of the Yiddish Art Theater was cast as the Native American Geronimo; John Garfield and Paul Muni played Italians. But times were changing, with the ascendancy of comics [like] Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Shelley Berman, and Nichols and May. By 1967 films with Jewish content and Jewish stars had emerged. . . . .

[When] I finally visited Allen, . . . [we] talked about Israel, about anti-Semitism (including its masked permutation, anti-Zionism), and about the Holocaust. “It can happen in a minute,” he said. He talked of Lucy Dawidowicz’s The War against the Jews, of Victor Klemperer’s diaries of life in Nazi Germany, of Michael Thomas, a resister to Nazism he’d known, [and] of Rossellini’s Il generale della Rovere.

Read more at Jewish Book Council

More about: Anti-Semitism, Arts & Culture, Comedy, Film, Hollywood, Holocaust, Woody Allen


Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University