Seth Rogen promotes ‘most Jewish movie ever’ while making hateful comments about Israel and Judaism
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 02: Honoree Seth Rogen speaks onstage at The Workers Circle 2019 Annual Benefit at JW Marriott Essex House on December 02, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Last week Seth Rogen, the Hollywood actor and producer, unleashed vile comments about Israel and Judaism while promoting his new film “American Pickle.” The movie is about a Jewish immigrant pickle maker in New York City who falls into a brine-filled vat of pickles in 1919 and wakes 100 years later.
Rogen bantered for an hour with the show’s host, Marc Maron, another Jewish comedian in his “WTF” podcast. Maron warned listeners “We’re gonna piss off a bunch of Jews.”
Both Rogen and Maron are professional comedians and have high profiles. Their conversation, which has been widely reported in the news and on social media, wasn’t just controversial, it was pervasively offensive, riddled with their own myopic biases.
Rogen explained that he grew up in a Jewish home in Vancouver, Canada, attended Jewish day school and Jewish summer camps. Throughout the conversation, Rogen chortled, as he spewed forth derogatory invective about Israel, Jews and Judaism.
“Growing up I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel,” he said. Now, he questions Israel’s legitimacy.
“To me it just seems an antiquated thought process. If it is for religious reasons, I don’t agree with it, because I think religion is silly. If it is for truly the preservation of the 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 is proven to be pretty volatile, you know. ‘I’m trying to keep all these things safe, I’m gonna put them in my blender and hope that that’s the best place…that’ll do it.’ It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Maron called the conversation “the most Jewy talk” he has hosted on his podcast. He added “I get frightened to talk about it,” a reference to his views on Judaism and Israel.
Rogen added “I’m afraid of Jews! I’m 100% afraid of Jews.”
Rogen’s opinions about Israel, as well as Maron’s gratuitous rejoinders, are pervasively ignorant and belie the history of the Jewish people and Israel.
Zionism was not born because 19th century Jews were on a shopping spree. Zionism was born in the aftermath of the notorious Dreyfus Affair. Captain Alfred Dreyfus, served in the French army. He was found guilty of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment in a milieu of anti-Semitic invective. Dreyfus was ultimately pardoned by French President Emile Loubet in 1906 after vast evidence of his innocence was widely disseminated.
The Dreyfus Affair sparked the imagination of Theodor Herzl, an Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist, who had written about the Dreyfus Affair. Herzl plainly stated that the Dreyfus Affair transformed him into a Zionist, and he wrote an acclaimed book, “The State of the Jews,” in 1896 that argued that Jews should emigrate from Europe to Palestine to create a Jewish homeland.
What Rogen and Maron missed during their hourlong stream of consciousness, is that modern-day Israel started as a dream, but Jews have lived in Eretz Yisrael throughout history. Herzl’s writings and organizational efforts inspired tens of thousands of Jews to relocate to Eretz Yisroel with little but the clothes on their backs and the belongings they could carry.
The Jewish community confronted and overcame the harsh realities of Israel’s barren land, formed moshavim and kibbutzim and reclaimed the land. Rogen’s spewed invective that he was never told that Arabs lived in Israel at the time of the 1948 partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states ignores core historical facts.
The aftermath of the Holocaust galvanized emigration to Israel. Rogen and Maron bantered jocularly about the Holocaust and referred to widely published photographs of mounds of shoes, spectacles and other possessions stripped from Jews.
Israel’s 1948 War of Independence was not launched as an Israeli land grab, as Rogen implies. Rather, within hours of declaring its independence and being recognized by the United States, the fledgling nation was savagely attacked by five Arab nations — Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Israel’s freedom has come at a steep price, paid for in blood and bodies. It has fought to survive in the 1956 Sinai campaign, the 1967 Six-Day War, the 1974 Yom Kippur War, and has staved off countless terrorist incidents, including intifadas.
“I don’t want Jews to think I don’t want Israel to exist and I understand how they could have been led to think that,” Rogen told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I was not given a full picture of the situation and it’s a wildly complex picture to give a child.”
Rogen is a sophisticated and successful Hollywood operator. He is an adult. Every individual has a responsibility to learn about the world, its history, and to become knowledgeable about a subject before commenting upon it.
Rogen told the JTA he is not apologizing for his remarks. His comments are already the fodder of propaganda by the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, in order to bring about an economic collapse in Israel. BDS’s goal is to squeeze Israel economically and choke it into submission instead of ongoing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. BDS websites are already touting Rogen’s remarks making him the new poster boy for the BDS movement.
In the podcast, Rogen said that “American Pickle” may be “the most Jewish movie ever made. Such chutzpah dismisses great Jewish movies like “Schindler’s List,” “Exodus,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Funny Girl.”
Seth Rogen may be a very funny man. But his ill-informed views on Israel, Judaism and Jewish culture are nothing to laugh about.
This editorial was published in the Aug. 6 issue of the Jewish Herald Voice and is reprinted with permission.

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