Joaquin Phoenix and Joel Coen among Jewish creatives backing Glazer's Oscars speech

Pair sign open letter with more than 150 Hollywood figures supporting British director

Oscar winners Joaquin Phoenix, left, and Joel Coen, right, are publicly backing Jonathan Glazer after his speech 'refuting his Jewishness' following the war in Gaza. EPA; Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

Oscar winners Joaquin Phoenix and Joel Coen lead a group of more than 150 Jewish Hollywood figures publicly backing director Jonathan Glazer's controversial speech.

The pair have signed an open letter alongside the likes of comedian David Cross, three-time Oscar nominee Debra Winger and Titanic actress Frances Fisher. In it, they state they are “alarmed to see some of our colleagues in the industry mischaracterise and denounce his remarks” and that “attacks on Glazer are a dangerous distraction from Israel’s escalating military campaign which has already killed over 32,000 Palestinians in Gaza and brought hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation".

It also refers to grieving for the 1,200 Israelis killed in the October 7 Hamas attacks as well as the 253 taken hostage. However, it further states that attacks on Glazer have a “silencing effect” on the industry and contribute to the suppression of free speech and dissent.

It continues: “Glazer, Tony Kushner, Steven Spielberg and countless other artists of all backgrounds have decried the killing of Palestinian civilians. We should all be able to do the same without being wrongly accused of fueling antisemitism.

“We honour the Holocaust by saying: Never again for anyone.”

What Glazer said during his Oscars speech

The Zone of Interest, a German-language film set during the Holocaust, won the Best International Film award at this year's Oscars.

During his acceptance speech, Glazer said the film showed “where dehumanisation leads at its worst”.

He added: “All our choices were made to reflect and confront us in the present – not to say: 'Look what they did then', rather: 'Look what we do now'."

The film tells the disturbing story of a group of people living near the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-controlled Poland during the Second World War, who block out the horrors happening nearby and lead apparently normal lives.

“Our film shows where dehumanisation leads at its worst,” Glazer continued. “It shaped all of our pasts and present. Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation that has led to conflict for so many innocent people.

“Whether the victims of October 7 in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanisation. How do we resist?”

His words were met with both backlash and praise. In a different open letter on March 18, more than 450 Jewish creatives and execs denounced his speech for helping “fuel growing anti-Jewish hatred around the world.”

Who signed the letter of support?

  1. Lenny Abrahamson
  2. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz
  3. Erin Allweiss
  4. Mark Asch
  5. Liran Atzmor
  6. Erin Axelman
  7. Annie Baker
  8. Todd Banhazl
  9. Ariela Barer
  10. Morgan Bassichis
  11. Joshuah Bearman
  12. Abner Benaim
  13. Amy Berg
  14. Kate Berlant
  15. Gregg Bordowitz
  16. Agnes Borinsky
  17. Janicza Bravo
  18. Margaret Brown
  19. Dan Bucatinsky
  20. Simone Bitton
  21. Daniel Chalfen
  22. Joel Coen
  23. Dan Cogan
  24. Dominic Cooke
  25. Molly Crabapple
  26. David Cross
  27. Cyrus Dunham
  28. David Ehrlich
  29. Deborah Eisenberg
  30. Isaac Feldberg
  31. Chloe Fineman
  32. Jordan Firstman
  33. Frances Fisher
  34. Sarah Sophie Flicker
  35. Esther Freud
  36. Bella Freud
  37. Uri Fruchtmann
  38. Noah Galvin
  39. Sarah Gavron
  40. Tavi Gevinson
  41. Ilana Glazer
  42. Natalie Gold
  43. Sam Gold
  44. Jimmy Goldblum
  45. Daniel Goldhaber
  46. Nan Goldin
  47. Josh Gondelman
  48. Josh Gordon
  49. Elliott Gould
  50. Miles Greenberg
  51. Doron Max Hagay
  52. Gordon Hall
  53. Todd Haynes
  54. Fred Hechinger
  55. Lee Hirsch
  56. Eliza Hittman
  57. Nicole Holofcener
  58. Ilan Isakov
  59. Abbi Jacobson
  60. Kristi Jacobson
  61. Rachel Leah Jones
  62. Miranda July
  63. David Katznelson
  64. Deborah Kaufman
  65. Ella Kemp
  66. Sara Kiener
  67. Lola Kirke
  68. Dan Kitrosser
  69. Alison Klayman
  70. Naomi Klein
  71. Pamela Koffler
  72. Jess Kohl
  73. Maris Kreizman
  74. Lisa Kron
  75. Justin Kuritzkes
  76. Rachel Kushner
  77. Serge Lalou
  78. Nadav Lapid
  79. Julliette Larthe
  80. Michael Lieberman
  81. Alison Leiby
  82. Mike Leigh
  83. Cindi Leive
  84. Jonathan Lethem
  85. Mica Levi
  86. Avi Lewis
  87. Kyle Lukoff
  88. Darius Marder
  89. Miriam Margolyes
  90. Sam Marks
  91. Daniel Mate
  92. Gabor Mate
  93. Jane Mayle
  94. Jonathan Meth
  95. Lise Mayer
  96. Collier Meyerson
  97. Avi Mograbi
  98. Sophie Monks Kaufman
  99. Mik Moore
  100. Michael Morris
  101. Hari Nef
  102. Chani Nicholas
  103. David Osit
  104. Nira Park
  105. Zeena Parkins
  106. Joaquin Phoenix
  107. Rain Phoenix
  108. Max Posner
  109. Jeff Preiss
  110. Sarah Ramos
  111. Allon Reich
  112. Leo Reich
  113. Boots Riley
  114. Howard A Rodman
  115. Jon Ronson
  116. Jacqueline Rose
  117. Martin Rosenbaum
  118. Jason Rosenberg
  119. Tessa Ross
  120. Ira Sachs
  121. Tilly Scantlebury
  122. James Schamus
  123. Jane Schoenbrun
  124. Sarah Schulman
  125. Emma Seligman
  126. Wallace Shawn
  127. Mel Shimkowitz
  128. Noam Shuster Eliassi
  129. Amy Sillman
  130. Nathan Silver
  131. Michael Skolnik
  132. Gillian Slovo
  133. Robyn Slovo
  134. Shawn Slovo
  135. Sarah Adina Smith
  136. Alan Snitow
  137. Morgan Spector
  138. Tom Stoppard
  139. Kae Tempest
  140. Lynne Tillman
  141. Rachel Traub
  142. V (formerly Eve Ensler)
  143. Alicia Van Couvering
  144. Adam Weber
  145. Madeline Weinstein
  146. Debra Winger
  147. Matt Wolf
  148. Jeremy Yaches
  149. Gary Yershon
  150. Jeremiah Zagar
  151. Alexander Zeldin
Updated: April 06, 2024, 9:09 AM