By Erin Levi

At the 96th Annual Academy Awards, the biopic «Oppenheimer» dominated, winning best picture and several other awards. However, the most talked-about moment came from Jonathan Glazer, director of Holocaust drama «The Zone of Interest.»
Glazer used his acceptance speech for best international feature to criticize Israel’s «occupation» of Palestine:
«Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It’s shaped all of our past and present,» Glazer said.
«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, whether the victims of October the 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza,» he added. «All the victims of this dehumanization. How do we resist?»
His speech sparked controversy. Some praised his comments against Israeli actions, while others misinterpreted them as a rejection of his Jewish identity.
A founder of IfNotNow, a Jewish progressive group that has accused Israel of «genocide» and called for a ceasefire, said Glazer’s speech offered evidence of growing dissent against Israel among Jews. «More and more Jews are making clear that their Jewish values lead them to speak out against Israel,» Yonah Liberman tweeted.

The US Holocaust survivors’ foundation, on the other hand, called Glazer’s Oscars speech «morally indefensible.»
In an open letter published on the organization’s website, the foundation’s chairman David Schaecter, wrote: «You made a Holocaust movie and won an Oscar. And you are Jewish. Good for you. But it is disgraceful for you to presume to speak for the six million Jews, including one and a half million children, who were murdered solely because of their Jewish identity.»
He added: «You should be ashamed of yourself for using Auschwitz to criticize Israel. If the creation, existence, and survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish state equates to ‘occupation’ in your mind, then you obviously learned nothing from your movie.»
While Glazer was the first person to mention the conflict on the stage, several other celebrities wore red pins in support of a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
Meanwhile, «Oppenheimer» explored its Jewish protagonist’s life and featured a win for Robert Downey Jr. portraying a Jewish character.
Overall, the Oscars saw a larger than usual number of Jewish nominees and winners, with films like «Barbie» and «Maestro» also receiving recognition. Another was Arthur Harari, the co-writer of French best-picture nominee «Anatomy of a Fall,» who won for best original screenplay alongside his life and writing partner, Justine Triet. Harari has Mizrahi ancestry.