By: Morton A. Klein
October 21, 2010
ZOA Condemns Hollywood’s Awarding Oscar To Anti-Semite Film-Maker Jean-Luc Godard
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for intending to award an honorary Oscar to French-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, a virulent anti-Semite of long-standing. Godard, one of the French New Wave film directors, like Francois Truffaut, with whom Godard fell out over anti-Semitic remarks he made (Truffaut had a Jewish father), is shown by both his recent biographers, Antoine de Baecque (Godard, 2010) and Robert Brody (Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard, 2008), to have an unremitting obsession with Jews.
Godard’s anti-Semitic record:
· In 1968, Godard, in the presence of Truffaut, called producer Pierre Braunberger, an early supporter of New Wave filmmakers, “sale juif” (“filthy Jew”), after which Truffaut immediately broke from Godard.
· In his 1976 documentary, Ici et Ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere), Godard contrasts the lives of a French and Palestinian family and features alternating, flickering images of Golda Meir and Adolf Hitler, proposing them as comparable tyrants.
· Also in Ici et Ailleurs, Godard defended the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, suggesting that “before every Olympics finale, an image of Palestinian [refugee] camps should be broadcast.”
· In 1991 as well as on other occasions, Godard described the State of Israel as “a cancer on the map of the Middle East.”
· In a 2007 documentary, Morceaux de Conversations (Fragments of Conversations With Jean-Luc Godard) made by film historian Jean Narboni, an editor of the influential French film magazine Cahiers du Cinema, Godard said that Israelis currently occupy a territory that belongs to “their eternal fiction, from biblical times onward.”
· Godard justifies every act of Arab terrorism by saying that “Israel is a paradoxical form of Nazism’s historical resurgence.”
· In a 1970 short documentary filmed for German TV, Godard brandished a tract with the slogan “NazIsrael” emblazoned on it and told the cameraman, “Write us a check from German television, which is financed by Zionists and that idiotic Social Democrat, Willy Brandt, and that will let us buy weapons for the Palestinians to attack Zionists.”
· In Godard’s 1964 film, Une Femme Mariée (A Married Woman), a character states: “Today, in Germany, I said to someone, ‘How about if tomorrow, we kill all the Jews and the hairdressers?’ He replied, ‘Why the hairdressers?’”
In 1967’s “Two or Three Things I Know About Her” (“Deux ou Trois Choses Que je Sais D’elle”), the director brags that ParisMatch magazine “always affixes a star to my films, as it does to Jews.” The allusion to the Nazi law forcing Jews to wear yellow stars in Occupied France is symptomatic of a sensibility, usually found among Europe’s ultra-right-wing politicians, that produces crushingly unfunny jokes about such historical tragedy. Godard’s 2010 film, “Film Socialisme” (“Socialism Film”), which premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival, features a typical pseudo-aphorism of this ilk: “Strange thing Hollywood — Jews invented it.”
· In a 2009 article in Le Monde, ‘Godard and the Jewish Question’ by Jean-Luc Douin, Godard is quoted as making an off-camera comment during the filming of a 2006 documentary: “Palestinians’ suicide bombings in order to bring a Palestinian State into existence ultimately resemble what the Jews did by allowing themselves to be led like sheep to be slaughtered in gas chambers, sacrificing themselves to bring into existence the State of Israel … Basically, there were six million kamikazes … Hollywood was invented by Jewish gangsters.”
· In 1973, French-Jewish filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin contacted Godard to be paid for his collaborative work on the 1972 film, Tout Va Bien (Everything’s Fine), to which Godard responded, “Ah, it’s always the same: Jews call you when they hear a cash register opening.”
Scandalously, when the Forward newspaper submitted some of Godard’s anti-Semitic utterances to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy responded in a shockingly dismissive manner to Godard’s Jew-hatred with the following words, “The Academy is aware that Jean-Luc Godard has made statements in the past that some have construed as anti-Semitic. We are also aware of detailed rebuttals to that charge. Anti-Semitism is of course deplorable, but the Academy has not found the accusations against M. Godard persuasive.” The only “detailed rebuttal” cited by the Academy was from Bill Krohn, a Hollywood correspondent for Cahiers du Cinema, to which Godard and many of the early New Wave directors contributed, who made only one specific rebuttal, arguing absurdly that Godard’s calling Pierre Braunberger a “filthy Jew” was nothing more than a case of banter between friends (Benjamin Ivry, ‘Are They Giving an Oscar to an Anti-Semite?’ Forward, October 8, 2010).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “It is a disgrace that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has seen fit to bestow an honorary Oscar on an outspoken, long-standing anti-Semite like Jean Luc Godard. His directorial talents are in this instance irrelevant: the academy would never consider bestowing an honorary Oscar on another director, no matter how brilliant or accomplished, if he was an anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-gay, or anti-Muslim bigot. Quite rightly, they would not wish in any way to lend honor and respectability to such a person. However, when it comes to hatred directed towards Jews, the Academy looks the other way and finds blatant examples of hatred, like those reproduced above, as ‘not persuasive.’
“The Academy’s decision to bestow an honorary Oscar on Godard should be rescinded immediately and we call upon all American Jewish organizations and all people of goodwill to demand likewise.”