about the Oscars



A number of celebrities — including Billie Eilish, Finneas, and longtime antisemite Mark Ruffalo — wore “Artists 4 Ceasefire” pins to the Oscars. The pins depict a red hand with a heart on the palm. 

The Artists 4 Ceasefire website does not say who is behind the initiative, nor who designed the symbol. While their letter calls for the release of the hostages, it does not mention Hamas or even 10/7. It does not mention Hamas’s track record of rejecting or violating ceasefires, both before and repeatedly since October 7. The only reason there is no ceasefire is because Hamas has continued to reject one, as recently as a few days ago. Of course, Artists 4 Ceasefire lays the blame on Israel.

The red hands might seem like an innocent image, but for Jews, and specifically in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the imagery has a charged, violent, and painful history. 



A dogwhistle refers to coded or suggestive language that appears “normal” to the majority of people but is in reality communicating something specific to its intended audience. The term comes from ultrasonic dog whistles, which are inaudible to humans, but audible to dogs. In other words, in the case of antisemitism, a term, phrase, or image might appear inconspicuous to the general population but specifically communicates something antisemitic to its intended audience.

For example, last year, Within Our Lifetime held a pro-Palestine rally in front of the Israeli embassy. Many of the marchers wore red armbands on their upper arms. While these armbands had no symbols, these armbands are a call to the red armbands that Nazi soldiers wore on their upper arms. Similarly, at a Berlin concert, Roger Waters also sported the red armband.

Dogwhistles rely on plausible deniability. Because the messages are not explicit, people can later deny sinister or malicious intent. 



The Farhud was a Nazi-inspired pogrom (anti-Jewish massacre) in Baghdad, Iraq, on June 1-2, 1941. The number of total Jews murdered varies per estimate, but it’s possible that up to 1000 Jews were killed, with another 1000 injured. The Farhud is considered an event that is a part of the Holocaust.

During the Farhud, Jewish homes were marked with red hands, so that the mob would know who to target. 

There are two accounts of how the violence began: (1) some claim Iraqi Arab mobs began attacking Jews who were on their way to the Palace of Flowers, and (2) some state that it was incited by antisemitic preachings in the Jami-Al-Gaylani mosque, and that the pogrom was premeditated.

The violence lasted for 48 hours, with the British slow to respond. In addition to the murders, some 600 Jewish businesses and 100 Jewish homes were destroyed.

A Farhud survivor, Shlomo Mansour, 85, is currently in Hamas captivity. 




On October 12, 2000, two Israeli soldiers, Vadim Norzich and Yosef Avrahami, accidentally entered the Palestinian city of Ramallah. The two soldiers were detained by Palestinian Authority police, who took them to the el-Bireh police station. 

At the same time, a funeral procession was passing by. Rumors spread that Israeli undercover agents were in the police station. A mob of 1000 Palestinians, many of them coming from the funeral procession, gathered in front of the station and called for their death.

Eventually, the rioters broke through the building and murdered and mutilated the two soldiers. The Palestinian Authority police reluctantly tried to stop the lynching, though they were slow to take action. Aziz Salha, one of the rioters, peeked through the police station window, displaying the bloody palms of his hands. 

One of the soldier’s bodies was hurled out the window, while a cheering crowd stomped on his body and ripped out his internal organs. One of the bodies was burnt. Eventually the rioters grabbed the corpses and dragged them along to the city center for a victory celebration. 

Since the Ramallah lynching, Palestinians have periodically displayed red hands as a symbol of “resistance.” In 2007, for example, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy reported that Palestinian schoolchildren dipped their hands in red paint to commemorate the lynching. 


Because we don’t really know who designed the image, we don’t know whether they intended to allude to the Ramallah lynching. At best, it’s an incredibly poorly thought out image, given its context.

As mentioned, dogwhistles rely on plausible deniability. It could’ve been intended as a hateful symbol, or it could’ve not. But if it was, we will be gaslit about it, because that’s what dogwhistles are for. If the designer grew up in the Palestinian Territories, they almost certainly know what the image represents.


The image with the heart is all the more disconcerting because during the lynching, the mob mutilated the bodies of Vadim Norzhich and Yosef Avrahami and ripped their organs — including their hearts — from their bodies.

After his arrest, Aziz Salha, one of the perpetrators, raised his hands in a similar gesture, directly and proudly alluding to the lynching.



Jonathan Glazer won an Oscar for his Holocaust film, Zone of Interest. I have a lot to say about that film, but I’ll leave that to another time. Glazer’s speech was offensive to most in the Jewish community because: 

(1) he did not mention Holocaust victims or survivors at all. Instead, he honored a Polish white savior. 

(2) he universalized the Holocaust. For decades, the world has stripped the Jewish genocide of its specifically antisemitic nature (in other words: it could’ve happened to anyone! And it still could!). The problem is that the Holocaust couldn’t have existed without the 2000 years of European antisemitism that preceded it. Holocaust universalization is a form of Holocaust distortion, which, in turn, is a form of Holocaust denial. It’s absolutely mind-boggling that an award acceptance speech for a Holocaust movie would dabble with Holocaust distortion. 

(3) he victim-blamed, blaming the “occupation” for the slaughter on October 7. This is ahistorical to begin with, because (1) the occupation of Gaza ended in 2005, (2) occupations are not the cause of conflicts; they are a consequence of them, and (3) there is no occupation in the world that would excuse the rape of girls and decapitation of babies. 

(4) he said that Israel is “hijacking” Jewishness and the Holocaust to slaughter Palestinians, implying that we have not “learned our lesson” from the Holocaust. The abhorrent accusation that Jews didn’t “learn our lesson” implies that there was a silver lining to our own genocide, a teachable moment. But in reality it’s the perpetrators that should learn the lesson, not the victims. 

Similarly, accusing Israel of hijacking the Holocaust and Jewishness is absolutely infuriating given that most Holocaust survivors live in Israel, some of whom were taken hostage or killed on 10/7. Half of the world’s Jews live in Israel. The only person hijacking the Holocaust and Jewishness was Jonathan Glazer, who stood on a lecture to admonish literal Holocaust survivors for claps. 

(5) there’s something so twisted about rich, out of touch Jews lecturing Israelis about dehumanization when five months ago it was Jewish bodies — dead and alive — that were paraded in the streets of Gaza for crowds of thousands to spit on. 



I would’ve dedicated my win to the six million Jews who were exterminated like cattle. 10,000 a day gassed to death in Auschwitz alone, and that’s not including the Jews who were gassed in other camps, starved to death, executed, tortured, or died of illnesses. I would’ve dedicated my win to the survivors who were left with nothing by liberation — no family members, no belongings, no place to go. I would dedicate my win to the international Jewish community, from Mandatory Palestine to the United States, which came together after liberation to provide social services for Jews in Displaced Persons camps, because the care of the Allied soldiers, many of whom were virulently antisemitic, was subpar at best. I’d dedicate my win to the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, who still, to this day, are at higher risk for a number of lifelong illnesses due to intergenerational trauma. I’d dedicate my win to the third of survivors that live in poverty in Israel and the United States. 

Most of all, I’d dedicate my win to the Holocaust survivors barbarically slaughtered or injured on 10/7, such as Moshe Ridler. I’d dedicate my win to Yaffa Adar, a Holocaust survivor taken hostage to Gaza. 

Most importantly, I’d dedicate my win to Shlomo Mansour, a Farhud/Holocaust survivor who is still hostage in Gaza, who has seen those red palms before. 

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