Jewish actor Seth Rogen has courted controversy after saying that Israel’s existence “doesn’t make sense,” and that young Jews are misled to believe the state was created peacefully, without displacing thousands of Palestinians.
“If it is truly for the preservation of Jewish people, it makes no sense, because again, you don’t keep something you’re trying to preserve all in one place especially when that place has proven to be… pretty volatile,” Rogen told comedian Mark Maron on his ‘WTF’ podcast on Monday.
Rogen – who has been promoting his upcoming movie, ‘An American Pickle,’ a comedy-drama which tells the story of a Jewish immigrant who comes to the US in 1920 – told Maron that the idea of the Israeli state had been spoon-fed to him and many fellow Jews since childhood.
“And I also think that as a Jewish person… I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life,” he said. “You know, they never tell you, that oh by the way, there were people there.”
They make it seem like it was just sitting there, oh the f**king door’s open!
Rogen then said that he is prepared to be torched by Zionists for his remarks, which are very much at odds with the prevailing narrative promoted by the Israeli government.
While half-jokingly observing that it was “scary” to challenge the status quo and that he was “100 percent afraid of Jews,” the comedian said that he would not backpedal.
It’s scary. But we’re Jews – we can say whatever we want. If anyone can say whatever they f**king want about this shit, it should be two famous Jewish people
Rogen’s progressive views have drawn mixed reactions on Twitter. Some have hailed the actor for refusing to toe the mainstream line while being part and parcel of mainstream culture himself.
“Genuinely incredible to see prominent mainstream Jews speaking out like this, this rules,” Slate senior writer Ashley Feinberg wrote.
genuinely incredible to see prominent mainstream jews speaking out like this, this rules https://t.co/qq7aGnCs0Z
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) July 28, 2020
Writer and podcaster Alyssa Klein also weighed in to say that, like Rogen and Maron, she had also been indoctrinated to believe in “a lot of lies about Israel” while in school, noting she didn’t realize how the facts were “skewed” until she arrived at university.
“When I was growing up, they didn’t tell us about the Palestinian people that were there. That was conveniently glossed over,” she added.
When I was growing up, they didn’t tell us about the Palestinian people that were there. That was conveniently glossed over.
— Alyssa Klein (@dj_diabeatic) July 28, 2020
“I think @Sethrogen has stated something many Jews feel. More power to all those who speak up and out,” another commenter said.
I think @Sethrogen as stated something many Jews feel. More power to all those who speak up and out. Keep going. It’s not in vain.
— WAYOUNIHAN (@wayounihan) July 28, 2020
seth rogen must be protected at all costs pic.twitter.com/1WrjN1rDCd
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) July 28, 2020
In other news, Seth Rogen is hot to me now 🥴
— Bolu Babalola (@BeeBabs) July 28, 2020
While some netizens have professed their new-found love for Rogen, supporters of the Israeli state were up in arms over his comments, denouncing them as “disappointing” and “ludicrous.”
Wow @Sethrogen as a fellow BC’er and Jew, who is only alive today because Israel has been a refuge for my family… I am incredibly dissapointed in your comments. Seems to come from a place of extreme privilege. I was a huge fan… not anymore I guess
— Orgth BC זאב בן מאייר (@arbutus_pointBC) July 29, 2020
Went from super excited to see #AnAmericanPickle to saying fuck that bullshit… @Sethrogen wants to spread lies and misinformation about Israel and endanger the Jewish community.. But still exploit us for profit… Hard pass. pic.twitter.com/aEjdNbo7tH
— Noah Fence מיכה “Hairy Phil” (@ZealouslyQuoted) July 29, 2020
Lots to unpack in Seth Rogen’s claims, but the argument that Israel makes “no sense” as a means of preserving Jewish life is particularly ludicrous.It was Israel where airlifted Iraqi, Yemenite and Ethiopian Jews found a safe haven, along with the majority of Mizrachi refugees. pic.twitter.com/A5nrbRgFHS
— Shiri Moshe (@shirimoshe) July 28, 2020
More than 700,000 Arabs were forced to flee or were expelled from their homes in the area that became Israel during and after the 1948 Palestine war – an event known as the ‘Nakba,’ or ‘the catastrophe,’ to Palestinians.