One of Hollywood’s most loved and respected veteran actors, Michael Douglas, recently published an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, in which he describes suffering anti-Semitism while on a southern European family vacation last summer.
More accurately, according to Douglas, it was his son, Dylan, who was the recipient of some Jew hate. The boy was shouted at by a man who screamed obscenities of a racial nature at the hotel pool, sending Dylan crying to his father.
When Douglas looked at his son and realized he was wearing a star of David around his neck, it dawned on him that the incident may have been anti-Semitic.
Douglas says he then went to speak to the man about the incident, a conversation he said was less than comfortable or pleasant.
He then went to his son, telling him, “Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.”
As Douglas wrote in his enlightening piece, “My father, Kirk Douglas, born Issur Danielovitch, is Jewish. My mother, Diana, is not. I had no formal religious upbringing from either of them, and the two kids I have with Catherine Zeta-Jones are like me, growing up with one parent who is Jewish and one who is not. Several years ago Dylan, through his friends, developed a deep connection to Judaism, and when he started going to Hebrew school and studying for his bar mitzvah, I began to reconnect with the religion of my father. While some Jews believe that not having a Jewish mother makes me not Jewish, I have learned the hard way that those who hate do not make such fine distinctions.”
Douglas went on to explain what he sees as the three main reasons for the recent resurgence of anti-Semitism. First is that Jew hate also heightens when the economy is bad, and second is the world’s irrational and misplaced hatred of Israel vis-a-vis the Palestinian issue. And the third, according to Douglas, is a question of demographics, with Europe being home to 25 million to 30 million Muslims.
In conclusion, Michael Douglas wrote that his son, Dylan, is strong and therefore wasn’t too affected by the incident at the pool.
As he said about Dylan, “[N]ow 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.”