Why the Academy Is Erasing Jews from Hollywood’s History

“It’s always been a rich irony,” writes Rob Long, “that indelibly ‘American’ movies such as Some Like It Hot and High Noon were directed—and in many cases, written and directed—by Jews” whose families had come to America seeking better circumstances, and sometimes fleeing extremely bad ones. But although this irony is well known, not everyone wants to recall it:

[T]he history of Hollywood, which is to say the history of 20th-century American culture, is impossible to talk about without talking about Jews. So it was a surprise to learn that the Academy Museum—a newly opened space dedicated to movies and moviemaking by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, built at a cost of $500 million—doesn’t have much to say about the Jews who made it all happen in the first place.

Indeed, when the museum opened in September, the exhibitions seemed carefully orchestrated to avoid the issue altogether. There were galleries devoted to diversity, to special effects, to women. There were exhibits about cameras and composers and art directors. All the collections are glossy and polished, and the whole museum—much of which can be experienced online—is a fascinating and well-assembled telling of the history of the movie business . . . as long as you don’t notice that there aren’t any Jews in it.

But this was more than a case of “diversity” being understood to include every possible grouping of people besides Jews, or so Long suspects:

After some critics spoke up about the oversight, its directors announced a six-week film and lecture series highlighting the contributions of Austrian Jews. Vienna in Hollywood: Émigrés and Exiles in the Studio System. [But when] the men and women of Vienna in Hollywood arrived in Los Angeles, they found an industry in full bloom. The studios were up and running and making payroll every week, restaurants were full of carousing movie stars, the boulevards were lined with shops and apartment towers—the stage, in other words, had been set.

The men—and they were all men—who did the building, men with names like Goldwyn and Zukor and Warner and Laemmle, had arrived years before. And it’s they who are missing from the galleries and exhibitions of the Academy Museum, and here’s why: because, for the most part, they were rat bastards. . . .

And they also made some amazing motion pictures that helped Americans understand who they were and what they were becoming. Any truthful telling of the history of the movie business needs to tell their story, too. But we’re having a hard time these days figuring out how to tell a warts-and-all tale. We’re still tying ourselves into knots about Thomas Jefferson. . . . So cultural institutions like the Academy Museum elect to sweep the ugly parts off-screen.

Read more at Commentary

More about: American Jewish History, Hollywood, Jewish history

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