CiF Culture published an article by Paul Harris on November 14th on the subject of the controversy surrounding the award of an honorary Oscar to Jean Luc Godard due to what some perceive as the ageing director’s anti-Semitic opinions.
Is Godard an anti-Semite or just something in the style of that embarrassing, cantankerous old relative whose views on the world were formed in an era very different to the present and whom we all occasionally encounter at family get-togethers? I don’t know, and to be honest I’m not sure that it is important, although Godard’s own reaction to the recent accusations of anti-Semitism do suggest a rather fossilised mindset perhaps not entirely unexpected from someone who spent most of their long life committed to the totalitarian religions of Maoism and Marxism.
“That’s nonsense! What does ‘anti-Semite’ mean? All peoples of the Mediterranean were Semites. So anti-Semite means anti-Mediterranean. The expression was only applied to Jews after the Holocaust and WWII. It is inexact and means nothing.”
In addition, Monsieur Godard may also care to ponder the fact that if one finds oneself being defended by Philip Weiss, that may well be an indication that a review of one’s position is clearly necessary.
Even so, the Academy’s decision to honour Godard’s work is based on professional criteria and whilst the ‘Nouvelle Vague’ did little to impress me personally, such is the case with the majority of other Oscar recipients too. Does it in fact matter? When all’s said and done, the Oscars are of no consequence in the general scheme of things, being little more than an introspective exercise in extravagant mutual self-congratulation within the privileged confines of a closed club. And the fact is that even racists can produce good art, literature or music and boycotting someone’s achievements or creations because of unconnected opinions or beliefs, whilst eminently fashionable in the politically correct world in which we live, is undoubtedly a double-edged sword, as many a Zionist in the European academia, arts and media world is well aware.
But the interesting thing about the CiF report on this incident is not the controversy itself, but the rather hazy implication made within it.
“The question on many people’s lips was: is Godard anti-Zionist or is he anti-Jewish?
In Hollywood there is no greater sin.”
This seemingly casual statement of course plays to believers in the old canard that ‘the Jews control Hollywood’ and implies that were Godard perceived to be a racist of any other stripe the reaction would be considerably less vociferous. Indeed, it even suggests that those seemingly closed ranks of near omnipotent Jewish movie moguls could be seen as persecuting Godard for his stance as a heretic.
In fact, if one takes the trouble to read much of the criticism of Godard’s award, it is quite clear that the opinions expressed come within a framework of a general condemnation of racism and bigotry of all kinds – a point which Paul Harris has obviously either missed or chosen to ignore for the sake of an opportunity to play to the gallery.
So let’s remind Mr. Harris of one of the definitions of anti-Semitism according to the EUMC Working Definition:
“Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.” (My emphasis)
There is something disappointingly lazy about a journalist who resorts to spicing up a bit of a non-event of a story about anti-Semitism by employing old-fashioned Jewish conspiracy stereotypes himself. Yes, it’s easy, effective, tried and trusted but it’s not exactly the hallmark of serious journalism, is it?