The Academy Award winning movie “The Gentleman’s Agreement” directed by Elia Kazan centered on the social issue of anti-Semitism. The movie centered on Phil Green, a journalist who was tasked to write assertive articles about anti-Semitism. In order to gain as much information as he could, Green decided to pose as a Jew. Throughout the movie, he not only experienced the prejudices that Jewish people face, but also how these anti-Jewish treatments are taken for granted (MSN Movies).
Anti-Semitism has been defined as the hatred towards Jews and its manifestation through verbal abuse, physical abuse, or damage to the property and institutions of Jews which causes pain, discomfort and fear (“Executive Summary”, 7; “Report on Global Anti-Semitism”; Tuchman, 13, “’Working Definition’ of Anti-Semitism”). Perhaps the greatest example of anti-Semitism was the Holocaust of the Jews in Germany during the Second World War in which Adolf Hitler harshly persecuted and murdered six million Jews and destroyed five thousand Jewish communities (“History of the Holocaust – An Introduction”).
Since the start of the 21st century, there has been an increase in the frequency and severity of anti-Semitic events that the number of incidents had reached its highest point in 2006 over the last sixteen years (“Global Rise in Anti-Semitism”, 13). In fact, anti-Semitism today is rampant all over the world, unlike the Holocaust incident in World War II which was localized. In Argentina, for example, over 580 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported in 2006 ranging from bomb threats to physical attacks of Jews and desecration of Jewish graves (Braylan).
Incidents such as those happening in Argentina have been documented by the Anti-Defamation League are present in other countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and Australia to name a few (“Global Anti-Semitism: Selected Incidents Around the World in 2006”; “Report on Global Anti-Semitism”). As a result of these anti-Semitic activities, other violent and prejudicial campaigns have risen, complicating further the anti-Semitic concern worldwide.
These include prejudice and hatred towards Islam called Islamophobia, towards Christians called Christianophobia and the condemnation of Israel’s rights to exist as a Jewish stated, or anti-Zionism (“Executive Summary”, 7; “Measuring Improvement since June 2004”, 14). These new acts of hatred, especially anti-Zionism, could have been a result of the various political issues surrounding Israel and its governmental policies as well as Jews who have developed feelings of hatred and degradation towards the cultures and religions of those who have done acts of anti-Semitism towards them.
This was exemplified by a professor at Columbia University in New York who antagonized a Jewish student claiming that she had no right to express her opinion about the Israeli-Palestine Arab issues because her eyes were colored green and as such, cannot be a Semite (Stern, 23; Tobin, 30; Tuchman, 14). Disturbing as it may be, little could be done towards these acts, especially since most of the anti-Semitic acts, as well as other acts of hatred are more often than not done verbally.
Various leaders have seen these as ways of expressing one’s position. In the United States, administrators are wary to reprimand both members of the faculty and the student body in reference to verbal anti-Semitic abuse since they believe that by reprimanding them, administrators would be hindering academic freedom and freedom of speech which is a violation of the First Amendment (Tobin, 32-33). Another reason is that academic leaders and community leaders themselves commit anti-Semitic acts.
In the towns of Darien and New Canaan located in Fairfield, Connecticut, community leaders and members have been unwelcoming and even hostile towards families from a different race, religion, and culture other than White Protestants since doing otherwise would tarnish the socio-economic homogeneity image that led to positive ratings made by federal appraisers on their communities (Jackson, 194-195).
One Jewish graduate student sent a letter to the Chancellor and several administrators of the University of California – Irvine in 2002 about her growing concern for her safety and security because of the growing anti-Semitic activities in the campus. Instead of addressing her grievance, one administrator advised her to go to the Counseling Center of the university “to help her work through her feelings.
” This is because they believed that these acts are problems that the administration does not need to deal with since it is the Jewish students themselves who have the problem and that they should deal with the matter themselves (Tuchman, 15-16). In the province of Corrientes in Argentina, one senator stated that the bombing of the AMIA-DAIA in 1994 was self induced. Florentin Jimenez, a Church minister, was known to have stated that “Jews are the destructors of Jesus” (Braylan).
Lastly, attempts to address the issues during conferences in the United Nations to arrive with a resolution have been prevented by a majority vote (“Measuring Improvement since June 2004). In closing, there is no doubt that the “Gentleman’s Agreement” still happens today, protected rather thinly by freedom of expression laws. The issue of anti-Semitism is a two-faced coin. On the part of the victims, they view it as a form of persecution. On the part of the ones committing the act and those not affected, it is merely an expression of opinion, views and the exercise of an individual’s right to free speech.
Unless state and community leaders open their eyes to the problem, address the issue and take action, anti-Semitism would not only remain a global issue, but would even encourage acts like this towards other cultures and religion to spring out.
Works Cited Braylan, Marisa. Report on Anti-Semitism in Argentina 2006. 13 August 2007. Anti- Defamation League Website. 21 January 2008. <http://www. adl. org/Anti_Semitism/ as_argentina_report_2006. pdf>. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. “Report on Global Anti-Semitism. ” 5 January 2005. U. S. Department of State Website.
21 January 2008. <http://www. state. gov/g/drl/rls/40258. htm>. “Executive Summary. ” The United Nations and Anti-Semitism. 1 November 2007. Yale University Website. 21 January 2008. <http://www. yale. edu/yiisa/ UNW_002_report_final. pdf>. “Gentleman’s Agreement: Synopsis. ” MSN Movies Website. 21 January 2008. <http://movies. msn. com/movies/movie. aspx? m=483343&affid=100037&mp=syn>. “Global Anti-Semitism: Selected Incidents Around the World in 2006. ” Anti-Defamation League Website. 21 January 2008. <http://www. adl. org/Anti_semitism/anti-semitism_global_incidents_2006. asp>.
Courtney from Study Moose
Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out https://goo.gl/3TYhaX