Glazergate: The director’s challenge and the Zionist riposte
Jonathan Glazer at the Academy Awards

Jonathan Glazer, the Academy Award- and BAFTA-winning director of Zone of Interest, a film that highlights, as he says, “dehumanization” as practiced outside the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, where the carnage only appears on the off-screen soundtrack, has come under attack not for anything in the film but for daring to insinuate in his Academy acceptance speech that there is an echo of the film in the “dehumanizing” way the genocide in Gaza is being routinely fostered, facilitated and ignored in the West.

Glazer’s film is about the callousness of the family of Rudolf Höss, the German commandant of the death camp, whose job it is to oversee extermination. The film’s perspective, in some ways all the more chilling, is that of an intimate glimpse of the family as they go about their daily activities, surrounded by offscreen cries, screams, and orders to shoot and drown the victims just beyond the family garden. The commandant’s wife makes the claim that in their privilege, with lush vegetation and swimming pool, guaranteed by Jewish slavery, they have fulfilled the Führer’s dream of Lebensraum, a living space in the east for Germans.

The Zionist Reaction

The most incendiary part of Glazer’s speech is not the claim about his Jewishness being used to rationalize the Israeli occupation of Gaza, which is what his now over 1000 Hollywood critics have focused on in a letter denouncing the speech, but rather that he had the audacity to state that his film is not just about the past but also about the present. The parallel, then, in the present and in the West, would be with those who watch this new holocaust, for that is what it is being called in the Arab world, being live streamed, and not just ignore it but actively refute that it is happening. By suggesting that it is not “look what we did then” but “look what we do now,” Glazer is in fact placing American and Western complacence, and in some cases active cheering on of the genocide in Gaza, in line with the commandant and his privileged family in the film. In this case, the complacent benefit from the carnage, as Israel remains the key to American dominance of Middle Eastern oil necessary for fueling its allies in Europe, and proving the U.S. and its puppet Israel remain the hegemon in the region.

If the Nazis sought to create more “Lebensraum” for the German nation to expand eastward, one might extrapolate to ask how distinct is that from the Zionists’ pursuit of the entire landmass “between the river and the sea” for exclusive occupation by the Jewish people, completing and fulfilling the Nakba of 1948?

The attack on Glazer gives credence to this identification of the West as situating itself just outside of what has been called the concentration camp of Gaza. His attackers simply cannot stand, or let stand, the accusation that they are complicit in genocide. Instead, they resort to Zionist arguments and talking points to refute his accusation, speaking of “an Israeli nation that seeks to avert…its own extermination,” an “indigenous Jewish people defending a homeland” and a “distortion of history.”

The Zone of Interest: Languishing by the pool.

The “extermination” is not being carried out by the Palestinians but by the Zionists against the actual indigenous people of the region who 75 years ago saw their homeland usurped by the creation of the apartheid state, perhaps a new homeland for some of the dispossessed Jews of the world, but also, as members of the U.S. military have often described it, an “American aircraft carrier in the Middle East.” Each day we, in our privileged position outside the camp, in the garden where life goes on as usual, hear the sounds and watch as the terror increases, now at the point with way more than the official number of 30,000 Palestinians dead and with Al Jazeera reporting that 25,000 of them are women and children. Israel is worried that gunshots are too noisy and might disturb us in our gardens, so now they have decided on the more “humane” method of starvation, though they are not above mowing down Palestinians who, when one of the few aid trucks gets through, clamor for the food—and murdering the volunteers delivering it.

If any voices are raised to challenge this carnage, as Glazer’s was, the attempt is to quickly silence them so we can all go back to our finely manicured front lawns and backyards as we join Commandant Rudolf, his wife, and their children at the refreshing pool.


Dennis Broe
Dennis Broe

Dennis Broe, a film, television and art critic, is also the author of the Harry Palmer LA Mysteries, the latest volume of which, The House That Buff Built, is about the real estate industry, dispossession, and appropriation in the shaping of “modern” Los Angeles.