Oliver Stone and his anti-semitic comments

He’s already attempted to apologize, but Oliver Stone said the following in a newspaper interview published Sunday:

During an interview for his new documentary, South of the Border, the British newspaper asked why there was such a focus on the Holocaust in Hollywood. Stone pointed to “the Jewish domination of the media. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f----- up United States foreign policy for years.”

Jewish domination of the media. That old conspiracy theory.

And it’s not really the first time he’s stumbled in this regard, having referred to Hitler as “an easy scapegoat” in a public forum.

Kind of an odd aspect of Stone. Not what I would have expected given the other issues he’s chosen to champion.

Oliver Stone believes conspiracy theories? No!

I know I’m going to get nailed for asking this, but how exactly are those comments anti-Semitic? He’s saying that Jewish people have a powerful lobby, and the emphasis on Israel has messed up our foreign policy. I’ve seen lots of people say that, and I’ve never thought of them as anti-Semitic.

Huh? While saying the media is all Jewish is dumb and thick-headed, that quote isn’t anti-semitic at all. Since when does being critical of Israel equal hating Je…oh. I almost forgot, we are in America. Carry on.

I think one issue is that it implies a sort of homogeneity among Jews that is similar to the sort of collective stigmatization one hears about “the blacks” or “the Hispanics” or what not. Saying that Hollywood is controlled by Jews–rather, say, than by a cabal or rich people or even by supporters of Israeli policy–puts it on the level of implying a sort of “racial” identity that he associates with specific behaviors and beliefs.

I know it doesn’t sound like much, but to a Jew, it has a sadly familiar ring to it. “The Jews” did this, “the Jews” control that, don’t trust “the Jews,” despite that fact that American Jews are so amazingly diverse in their political, economic, and cultural approaches to pretty much everything that it’s just as silly as saying “Blacks do this” or “Hispanics all like that.” It’s hardly Mel Gibson territory, but I do think it’s fair to point it out as rather unfortunate phrasing at the very least. Not that I’m losing any sleep over what Oliver Stone says, to be sure.

I just wish I controlled Hollywood. As I’ve told my rabbi before, if we control the world, where the hell is my share? I need a new PC.

Just out of curiosity, is it racist or Islamophobic to say Muslims dominate America’s oil supply, and that this fucks up America’s foreign policy?

This. But calling Oliver Stone anti-semitic over this is sort of conceding his point.

Because it is one of the classic anti-semetic canards that generally end up inciting violence against Jews. It also has its origin in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

It is a fair question and perhaps Jews have a heightened sensitivity to it, but millenia of brutal anti-semitism doesn’t go away in a few years.

Reliance on oil does fuck up America’s foreign policy. Our dysfunctional friendship with Israel fucks up America’s foreign policy. Often the two work together at the same time to super fuck it up doubletime.

Yeah, it’s the “Jews control the media” bit that’s offensive, not the Israeli policy bit (although opposition to America’s policies towards Israel frequently results in accusations of anti-semitism).

Edit: Even the way he frames it in his comment makes me a little uneasy, as though those Jews in Israel are secretly controlling US policy. The relationship between the US and Israel is considerably more complicated than that, even if you don’t like its current form.

OTOH, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that Muslims “dominate America’s oil supply.” We only get about 12% of our oil from Persian Gulf countries. Something like 75% of our oil comes from the US, Canada, and Mexico. So unless Canada has been building a lot of mosques…

Persian Gulf countries largely control the price of oil, though, through OPEC. Which in peacetime is really all that matters. It’s not really important if that barrel of oil we burn has MADE IN CANADA stamped on it if we pay more for it based on decisions made in Saudi Arabia.

… So is Oliver Stone saying Rupert Murdoch is Jewish?

According to reliable sources, he is!

It’s true! CBC even made a documentary series about it!

Well, it’s factually incorrect.

Aside from domestic production, our top source of imports is Canada.

Yeah, Saudi Arabia is #2, but then comes Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela.

On a world scale, the Muslim dominated Middle East controls a big chunk of the oil obviously, and even countries from which we import little or nothing affect us through market pricing mechanisms. Still though, let’s be cautious about overreaching on this point.

EDIT: Blah - I jumped in to respond to Tim’s comment before noticing that two others already had.

We should just not import from Saudi Arabia then! They would totally double not be important then!

Islam isn’t restricted to the Persian Gulf. Majority Muslim countries (that includes Nigeria) made up a third of US imports of Crude Oil in 2009. That, and the fact that they make up the majority of OPEC members, means that Islamic countries clearly “have or exert strong authority or mastery” over US crude oil imports. Or something like that.

But that’s obviously not the point! I wasn’t trying to start discussion about how much influence Islamic countries have over American oil supply now was I? :)

It would have been nicer if you could just say “well I don’t agree with the statement, but assuming it was true…”

Yes, Nigeria is Muslim majority, but just barely so. The oil producing regions are, I think, mainly in the Christian dominated south, and the current president of Nigeria is Christian.

Or, to put it another way, “well I don’t agree with [the implication of] the statement, but assuming it was true…”


A fair question. Leaving aside the factual aspect, yes, I’d say it was offensive to blame Muslims as a group. OPEC, Middle Eastern sheikocracies, rapacious petrolords, sure, but the Islamic bit (or even Arab bit) is pretty immaterial. Those Norwegians are pretty cut-throat too! Certainly our foreign policy is affected by our need for foreign oil, but that’s regardless of where it comes from.

But your point is worth noting–if we are going to be sensitive in one area we should be consistent across the board, perhaps. I just happen to think there is a historically unique aspect to “blame the Jews” comments that is missing in other discourses.

He’s been inching up to this sort of a thing for quite a while now.