The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned a decision by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to award an honorary Oscar to French-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, who will be receiving an award for his lifetime contribution during the second annual Governors Awards.
In a statement released by ZOA, it described Godard, 79, as “a virulent anti-Semite of long-standing.” ZOA brought several examples of what it called Godard’s “unremitting obsession with Jews”.
In 1968, said ZOA, Godard called Jewish producer Pierre Braunberger “sale juif” (“filthy Jew”); in a 1976 documentary he contrasted the lives of a French and Arab family and featured flickering images of Golda Meir and Adolf Hitler, proposing them as comparable tyrants.
According to the statement, Godard has also defended the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, described the State of Israel as “a cancer on the map of the Middle East,” and has justified acts of Arab terrorism by saying that “Israel is a paradoxical form of Nazism’s historical resurgence.”
A more recent anti-Israel comment made by Godard was in a 2009 article in Le Monde, in which he is quoted as making an off-camera comment during the filming of a 2006 documentary: “Palestinians’ suicide bombings in order to bring a Palestinian State into existence ultimately resemble what the Jews did by allowing themselves to be led like sheep to be slaughtered in gas chambers, sacrificing themselves to bring into existence the State of Israel … Basically, there were six million kamikazes …". The odious comparison was followed by his saying that "Hollywood was invented by Jewish gangsters.”
ZOA expresses its disappointment at the Academy’s response when presented by the Forward with some of Godard’s remarks, which read: “The Academy is aware that Jean-Luc Godard has made statements in the past that some have construed as anti-Semitic. We are also aware of detailed rebuttals to that charge. Anti-Semitism is of course deplorable, but the Academy has not found the accusations against M. Godard persuasive.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said in the statement: “It is a disgrace that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has seen fit to bestow an honorary Oscar on an outspoken, long-standing anti-Semite like Jean Luc Godard. His directorial talents are in this instance irrelevant: the academy would never consider bestowing an honorary Oscar on another director, no matter how brilliant or accomplished, if he was an anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-gay, or anti-Muslim bigot.
“The Academy’s decision to bestow an honorary Oscar on Godard should be rescinded immediately and we call upon all American Jewish organizations and all people of goodwill to demand likewise,” added Klein.
Meanwhile, Canada’s CBC reported on Monday that Godard will not stand fly to Hollywood to accept his honorary Oscar. This was confirmed by Academy president Tom Sherak, who was informed by Godard that he would not be at the Oscars ceremony.
"He reiterated his thanks for the award and also sent his good wishes to the other individuals being honored the same night — Kevin Brownlow, Francis Ford Coppola and Eli Wallach — who he refers to as 'the three other musketeers'," Sherak said in a statement.
The report said that Godard is “notoriously critical of Hollywood”. The Academy will arrange for the statuette to be delivered to him in Switzerland.