May 16, 2024
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‘Motion Pictures Arts’ Museum Erases Jews Who Built Hollywood

Although history has acclimated Jews to exile, exclusion and erasure, there is a strong attempt in America to rewrite history. One comes from Los Angeles, the very place Jews made into a thriving metropolis by creating film factories. The major ones founded and run by Jews were Universal, Paramount, MGM, Warner Brothers and Columbia. Jews didn’t own and run all the studios but they were a very, if not the most, significant part of the new industry, one that was originally disdained as salacious and lowlife by the American establishment. It was therefore open to Jews and other marginalized people, who took the opportunity and built it into the vast global phenomenon it now is.

Studios were not synagogues (or churches) and studio heads were not selfless saints. Those who ran them often operated in a man’s pre- #MeToo, pre-woke world. Yet, for all their flaws, the Jewish pioneers used their Jewish heads along with hard work to create a huge industry spun mostly out of dreams and moxie. Many created films of cultural or educational merit that celebrated the inspirational and spiritual American values. Studio bosses provided jobs for thousands upon thousands of people of diverse talents and trades, making considerable economic and social contributions to America and the world. They also greatly increased the fame and fortune of many American writers, including Pearl S, Buck, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, by employing them as scriptwriters or turning their novels into films.

These men are now dead, buried and on track to oblivion. The immense, newly opened Academy Museum of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, created to display the history of moving pictures, has shamelessly chosen to omit Hollywood’s pioneer movie studios from its inaugural exhibit. It was built at a cost of $484 million, much of it raised from Jews, including the Steven Spielberg family, the Tisches, Barbra Streisand and David Geffen. The building itself is named for Cheryl and Haim Saban, who donated $50 million. Yet, the museum’s directors made a deliberate decision to downplay the Jewish connection to the film industry in an effort to be “inclusive” (i.e., politically correct or “woke”).

There are galleries dedicated to the work of Spike Lee, Hiyao Miyazki and Pedro Almodovar and others, all highly deserving. There are pillars to women, including Rita Moreno and Sophia Loren. However, the Jewish founders of the film studios are not deemed worthy of a mention. The inaugural exhibit was created to maximize both foot traffic and income. Adult tickets are $25, with an additional $15 fee for the Oscars Experience. This is hardly affordable entertainment for the average American family, as the early movies were.

Despite the many contributions of Jews in America, erasure and exclusion abound and continue to surprise. One of the latest assaults comes from a school administrator in North Texas. She advised teachers she was training that when teaching the Holocaust, they also needed to present opposing views. This nonsense is akin to acknowledging the earth is flat because some people still believe it. It’s absurd except in a world where opinions are tantamount to fact-based evidence.

Would schools in the U.S. dare allow anyone to voice opposition to teaching about the genocide of indigenous people and slavery? Holocaust victims were not just Jews but millions the Nazis and their collaborators considered unworthy of life because of physical or political reasons. It’s irrelevant that it’s the most thoroughly documented genocide in history and includes eyewitness testimonies of actual perpetrators Debate, denial, minimization is the name of this perverse and deadly game.

This “about us without us” is bitter irony given that Louis B. Mayer created the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and its Oscar Awards. Nevertheless, Mayer, William Fox, Adolph Zukor, the Warner brothers, Carl Laemmle, Sam Goldwyn and Harry Cohn have been ghosted. Their absence is a poignant presence to all who know the origins of Hollywood and the tremendous entertainment industry it created. However, their deliberate erasure serves to ensure that most visitors will be unaware of the tremendous contributions Jews made to America and the world.

Even more egregious and dangerous is the Associated Press’ decision not to publish the most recent findings of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). In early September, the IAA announced the discovery of a 2,700-year-old private latrine, an extremely rare find of a royal estate of the First Temple era. Nor did they publicize the early October IAA announcement of the unearthing of a 1,500-year-old wine press complex, Yavne. This oldest and largest known wine producing factory should be of interest to wine drinkers worldwide.

Why did the AP, Reuters and Agence France Presse choose to ignore these revelatory news items and extraordinary finds? A good guess is that publishing evidence of a pre-1948 Jewish presence in Israel runs counter to the Palestinian and Islamist narrative. Obliterating evidence of previous civilizations is a common device of dictatorships intent on rewriting history. Islamists are intent on destroying such historical evidence. They also punish those who would maintain their old churches and synagogues, hoping that these edifices will be destroyed by time and climate.

The Nazis were masters of media. Totalitarian governments control the presses and arrest and incarcerate those who dare to oppose them by speaking truth to power. Democracies value and depend upon the Fourth Estate for their continuity. When the free press and social media in democratic nations accede to political correctness, mob rule and/or economic pressures, readers, viewers and listeners end up suspicious, distrustful and dismissive. Omission, after all, is a form of suppression of facts. It not only questions the integrity of news sources, it is, in essence, a form of aggression that is passive but destructive.

During the Soviet era, there was a running joke about the USSR’s two official newspapers: Pravda (ruth) and Izvestia (news). People quipped, often at risk to their lives, that there was no truth in Pravda and no news in Izvestia. A similar accusation can apply to the Associated Press and some major news agencies.

By Barbara Wind

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