Op-Ed: Frankly my dear, Scarlett Johansson doesn’t give a damn
Jack EngelhardJack Engelhard’s classic international bestselling novel Indecent Proposal, which later became a worldwide hit movie, has been republished to meet readers’ demands. His other major works include Compulsive: A Novel, his award-winning post-Holocaust Montreal memoir Escape from Mount Moriah, plus Slot Attendant: A Novel About A Novelist. His website: www.jackengelhard.com
Will boycott slut Emma Thompson refuse to shake hands? Will Johansson be snubbed by Steven Spielberg and his moral equivalency pal Tony Kushner?
Why the uproar over Scarlett Johansson? Is it that a prominent Jewish American woman openly supports Israel? This is shocking? Actually it is. Or is that an A-List Hollywood personality - named the “sexiest woman alive” - has found her inner chutzpah and gone rogue against Hollywood’s 99 percent liberal establishment?
Note that in the movie business, no more than a handful is favorable to Israel. I do mean a handful. Five. Two are outspoken, like Jon Voight, to name one.
The rest are in the Witness Protection Program.
So Johansson is all over the news for her refusal to be intimidated. The boycott clowns want her to drop her sponsorship for SodaStream, an Israeli-made soda confection that does huge business around the world but is headquartered in the “West Bank’s” Ma’ale Adumim. That puts it on the wrong side of the tracks if Mahmoud Abbas draws your map.
Hollywood’s leading lady has no problem with Ma’ale Adumim, says she is “building bridges for peace,” but the boycotters are restless. Be certain that those mixed multitudes are after Jewish blood. This week, for Holocaust Remembrance, thousands marched in my native France in imitation of Kristallnacht, shouting, “Jew, Jew, France is not for you.”
In a world once again plunged in such depravity, it is a comfort to find at least one luminous public figure arising in protest.
So undeterred, this Sunday’s Super Bowl will feature Johansson’s commercial for SodaStream. The firm employees more than 500 Palestinian Arabs.
They get the same pay and benefits as their Israeli co-workers.
This is good news.
No it isn’t.
Johansson is being denounced for endorsing an Israeli-owned but Arab-made product because, people say, that makes her part of the “occupation.” But Johansson is standing tall against this deluge of criticism and she had removed herself from the ravings of the boycott hucksters.
Are we finally seeing a woman of valor coming to us from Hollywood?
Standing for Israel, however big or small the gesture, cannot be a career move prescribed by, say, Woody Allen, for whom she has made some movies – the same Woody Allen who denounced, cursed and molested Israel in The New York Times, January 28, 1988. That op-ed still reeks.
Make no mistake. Johansson is taking a chance.
Supporting Israel in Hollywood is a lonely business. Ben Hecht is gone. So is Frank Sinatra. Leon Uris could never film Exodus in this climate. Once upon a time Cecil B. DeMille had no fear presenting a heroic and Hebrew Moses and Gregory Peck gave us a handsome King David. But that was old Hollywood. Barbra Streisand is the new Hollywood.
In today’s Hollywood, Israel is on “rewrite.” Please name the last big movie that gave Israel some love. Exodus came out in 1960; Cast a Giant Shadow, 1966. To get a green light for your script about the Conflict, you’d better have the Palestinians come out as the good guys.
Is Johansson too big a star to care, or is there a risk that she will never “eat lunch in this town again?” Will boycott slut Emma Thompson refuse to shake hands? Will Johansson be snubbed by Steven Spielberg and his moral equivalency pal Tony Kushner?
Some will argue that Johansson is only “half kosher.” She does converse in Liberal-Speak. Well, what do you want, Golda Meir?
From that glittering galaxy far away, Scarlett Johansson is a rare find. She is to be admired.
Movie stars have it over the rest of us. They live forever. Some do so honorably.
If Hollywood’s most sought-after actress is truly coming home, she ought to consider Orit Arfa’s "The Settler" for her next project. Meantime there is talk about a remake of a movie based on the novel "Indecent Proposal". This time, producers say, they will be true to my pro-Israel book.
The book finds the heroine in a tug of war between two men, one Jewish, one Arab – a plotline inconvenient for Hollywood the first time with Demi Moore. Two histories are war over an American blonde bombshell. Among others, Scarlett Johansson’s name has been whispered for the role.
She’d be perfect – and let the filming be done in Ma’ale Adumim.
New from novelist Jack Engelhard, a Jewish filmmaker is being forced to produce an anti-Semitic film to pay off his gambling debts in Compulsive: A Novel.