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Oscar-winning director calls out 'hijacking' of Holocaust by Israel in acceptance speech

Jonathan Glazer called for people to resist the dehumanisation of Israelis and Palestinians in the 7 October attacks and the war in Gaza.
Jonathan Glazer poses with the Oscar for Best International Feature Film for "The Zone of Interest" (Reuters/Carlos Barria).
Jonathan Glazer poses with the Oscar for Best International Feature Film for "The Zone of Interest" (Reuters/Carlos Barria).

At the 96th Academy Awards, ThZone of Interest director Jonathan Glazer used his Oscar acceptance speech to speak out against what he called the hijacking of Jewishness and the Holocaust by Israel’s occupation and conflict in Gaza.

“Our film shows where dehumanisation leads, at its worst,” Glazer said, accepting his award for Best International Feature Film.

“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.”

The Zone of Interest revolves around a Nazi commandant and his wife attempting to build their dream life in their home next to the Auschwitz concentration camp, portraying the dehumanisation of detainees in the camp.

“Whether the victims of 7 October in Israel, or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanisation, how do we resist?” Glazer added, referring to both the people killed in the Hamas-led attacks on Israel and in Israel’s war on Gaza.

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Glazer’s speech went viral on social media and received heavy backlash from supporters of the Israeli assault, which has so far killed more than 31,000 Palestinians and destroyed much of the enclave’s infrastructure while causing starvation in northern Gaza.

The director also received praise as the only award recipient to mention the conflict in Gaza and the struggles of Palestinians under Israeli occupation, with Palestine’s deputy permanent observer at the UN, Majed Bamya, thanking him for his “powerful speech”.

This year’s Academy Awards saw several celebrities, including singer Billie Eilish and actors Mark Ruffalo, Ramy Youssef and Mahershala Ali, wear red pins in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.

Pro-Palestine protesters also temporarily shut down the flow of traffic leading to the Oscars red carpet, causing several attendees to leave their cars and reach the venue by foot.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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