Creating people's geographies
There are evidently not enough “pro-Jewish” movies being produced by Hollywood of late for Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress. Cantor has launched an extraordinary verbal attack on Hollywood, and specifically the makers of Slumdog Millionaire:
“I have seen two movies recently made by Jews in Hollywood,” said Dr. Moshe Kantor. “One was Valkyrie, which is a pro-Nazi film. The other is Slumdog Millionaire, which deals with the Muslim population in India, and in which one of the characters says, ‘Allahu Akhbar’ before dying.”
“This is strange in my opinion,” Kantor said at a press conference at the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University.
Kantor added that it is crucial for Jews to understand the educational value of cultural and artistic works.
“Schindler’s List was the [popular] movie at the end of the last century,” said Kantor. “What is the popular movie today? Slumdog Millionaire, which deals with Muslims. This reflects the fact that values in the world have changed.”
What is strange is Mr Kantor’s statement. First, that he should find a popular movie with Muslims as its principal subjects as somehow objectionable is cause for concern. Kantor’s paranoia — and utter lack of film summation skills — is evidenced in the fact that he considers Valkyrie a “pro-Nazi” film and Slumdog Millionaire as being about India’s Muslims.
Second, Kantor’s curious claim that “it is crucial for Jews to understand the educational value of cultural and artistic works.” The domination of Hollywood movie studios in the past century by Eastern European Jews is well documented, including in the sympathetic and ethnocentric work, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood. (As this review notes, Jews hardly “invented” Hollywood and the book underplays the significant and crucial Gentile contribution, though Jews did come to dominate the studios).
Third, what does Kantor really want from America’s Dream Factory, more Holocaust movies, more Schindler’s Lists? Is he worried that historic Jewish dominance of Hollywood is slipping even a bit?
Kate Winslet has a suitable tongue-in-cheek response by way of reply: