Michael Douglas Details His Teenage Son’s First Experience With Anti-Semitism In Op-Ed
Michael Douglas is speaking out against Anti-Semitism, writing an op-ed in detailing his teenage son’s first experience with anti-Jewish hate.
Michael Douglas Writes Op-Ed On Anti-Semitism
In an op-ed published Sunday, March 15, in the Los Angeles Times, Douglas shared the experience of his teenage son, Dylan, who was berated by a man at a European hotel last summer. As Douglas recounts, when Dylan told his father that a man had yelled at him y the pool of their hotel, Douglas first thought that Dylan might have been misbehaving.
“I stared at him. And suddenly I had an awful realization of what might have caused the man’s outrage: Dylan was wearing a Star of David,” Douglas wrote.
Douglas wrote that he then went down to the pool to speak to the man, and was then forced to sit his son down and tell him, “Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.”
Douglas, himself, inherited his Jewish faith from his father, Kirk Douglas, but was not brought up particularly religious, and Dylan’s mother, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, is not Jewish. Still, Douglas revealed, his son Dylan discovered “a deep connection to Judaism” and celebrated his bar mitzvah in 2013.
In his piece, Douglas related his son’s experience to a growing surge of anti-Semitism evidenced in recent international tragedies, such as the shootings in Paris and Denmark. Douglas wrote that he sees three causes for anti-Semitism today: the bad economy, “an irrational and misplaced hatred of Israel” and an Islamic “extremist fringe.”
Douglas thanked the work of politicians who stand up against anti-Semitism, such as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, and noted the work of non-Jewish religious leaders, such as Pope Francis and New York’s Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan. However, Douglas stressed, it is not only up to political and religious officials to take a stand against anti-Semitism.
“…If we confront anti-Semitism whenever we see it, if we combat it individually and as a society, and use whatever platform we have to denounce it, we can stop the spread of this madness,” Douglas wrote.
Douglas concluded his op-ed with the hope that his son’s experience will not be repeated in generations to come, writing, “My son is strong. He is fortunate to live in a country where anti-Semitism is rare. But now he too has learned of the dangers that he as a Jew must face. It’s a lesson that I wish I didn’t have to teach him, a lesson I hope he will never have to teach his children.”
Douglas will soon be heading to Israel to receive the 2015 Genesis Prize, awarded by the Prime Minister of Israel, given to him for his work in promoting diversity in the Jewish faith. “The Genesis Prize Foundation is proud to honor Michael Douglas, both for his professional achievements and for his passion for his Jewish heritage and the Jewish State. The Douglas family’s experience of connecting with its heritage and embracing it on their own terms embodies an inclusive approach for Jews of diverse backgrounds,” said Stan Polovets, Chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation.