Director Jonathan Glazer Criticized Over Oscars Speech

Source: X/BFI

Jonathan Glazer set the internet ablaze when he spoke out about the Israel-Hamas war during his Oscars speech on Sunday (March 10). Many people took offense to his comment, but others accused the gallery of misquoting and misinterpreting his comment. Don’t worry – we’re going to clear everything up for you!

Who Is Jonathan Glazer?

Jonathan Glazer is a 58-year-old film director and screenwriter. While he was born in England, his family is of Bessarabian and Ukrainian origin – and he is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. He considers himself Jewish and is proud of his ancestry.

Source: Wikimedia/Raph_PH

“My great-grandparents were born in Vilnius and Odessa,” he said in an interview with L’Obs earlier this year. “The Holocaust was never talked about when I was growing up, but I believe there is a trauma that is passed down from generation to generation.”

Glazer Wins First Oscar Award

Glazer was in attendance at the 96th Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars) on Sunday. His historical drama, The Zone of Interest, was nominated for three awards – Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film.

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Best Director went to Christopher Nolan (Oppenheimer), and Best Adapted Screenplay went to Cord Jefferson (American Fiction), but Glazer – along with producer James Wilson (also Jewish) – finally got to take center stage when they won Best International Feature Film.

What Did Glazer Say During His Oscars Speech?

During his acceptance speech, Glazer briefly discussed the meaning behind the making of his film – a harrowing film about the Holocaust told through the eyes of a Nazi commander. At that moment, he took a hard stance against Israel and their continued attacks on Gaza and Palestine.

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“Right now, 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,” he said. “Whether the victims of October 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of this dehumanization, how do we resist?”

Some People Supported His Comment, While Others Didn’t

His comment drew a light applause from those in attendance – causing him to briefly stop his speech until the applause stopped. He ended up receiving a lot of praise from those who support a cease-fire in Gaza, but was met with a lot of criticism from pro-Israel supporters.

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His comments weren’t lost on him, either. Many people were quick to point out the fact that his hands were shaking as he read the prepared speech off a piece of paper. He knew he would be met with backlash, but that didn’t stop him from saying what he felt needed to be said.

Rabbi Shmuley Calls His Speech ‘Absolutely Disgusting’

One of his harshest critics, Rabbi Shmuley (considered ‘the most famous Rabbi in America’ by some), took to X and called Glazer’s speech ‘absolutely disgusting.’ While he praised Glazer’s film, he accused the filmmaker of betraying his people, disgracing himself, and trivializing the six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust.

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“How dare you compare the two?” Shmuley wrote – referring to the Israel-Hamas war and the Holocaust. “The whole purpose of Israel’s war in Gaza is to make sure THERE ISN’T A SECOND HOLOCAUST so we don’t need more of your films because Jews actually remain alive. HAMAS HAS ONE INTENTION. GENOCIDE OF JEWS.”

Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation President Pens Open Letter

David Schaecter, president of the Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation USA (HSF), was also quick to condemn Glazer’s speech. The 94-year-old Holocaust survivor penned and published an open letter on Tuesday – describing his comments as ‘factually inaccurate and morally indefensible.’

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“You should be ashamed of yourself for using Auschwitz to criticize Israel. You made a Holocaust movie and won an Oscar. And you are Jewish. Good for you,” Schaecter wrote – further describing the comments as ‘disgraceful.’

Combat Antisemitism Movement CEO Echoes Schaecter’s View

Sacha Roytman, CEO of Combat Antisemitism Movement, echoed Schaecter’s criticism in a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter on Monday. While he called Glazer’s movie and Oscar win a ‘magnificent achievement,’ he criticized Glazer for turning it into another ‘as a Jew’ moment.

Source: X/Sacha Roytman

“While not comparing the two, Jews are once again being dehumanized for mass destruction, much as they were in the Holocaust,” Roytman wrote. “Rather than hijacking the Holocaust, the overwhelming majority of the Jewish People have learned that when someone says that they come to destroy us, we should not doubt their intent.”

Vox Attempts To Clarify What Glazer Really Meant

As the condemnation continued to pour in, Vox Media took a different stance – one that accused Glazer’s critics of misinterpreting what he was trying to say in the now-infamous speech.

Source: Wikimedia/Federal Communications Commission

“What Glazer actually said is much clearer: He and his collaborators reject that Jewishness and the Holocaust are being used to justify the ongoing military offensive in Gaza,” they wrote in an article – adding that it’s a sentiment shared by a lot of Jewish people.

Speech Not Yet Available On Oscars’ YouTube Page

As of right now, Glazer’s speech isn’t available on the Oscars’ official YouTube page, though it is available on,, and ABC’s YouTube page. One source, however, told The Hollywood Reporter that it has to do with a distribution agreement between ABC and the Academy.

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The agreement bars the Oscars from sharing the clip on their social media platforms, but they’ll gain access to it after the 30-day agreement window closes next month.

Glazer Was The Only One To Speak About Palestine

While many people are denouncing Glazer’s speech as hateful, others are applauding him for standing up for what he believes. In fact, he was the only person to speak about Palestine during the award ceremony.

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That said, quite a few celebrities wore red pins on the red carpet and during the ceremony – the pins represented their support for a cease-fire. Some of those celebrities include Ramy Youssef, Mark Ruffalo, Billie Eilish, Mahershala Ali, and Ava DuVernay.

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Ryan Handson

Written by Ryan Handson

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