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Ron Radosh

Oliver Stone Reaches a New Low: Anti-Semitism

July 25th, 2010 - 5:05 pm

Oliver Stone is at it again. I previously wrote about him months ago. Stone, now in London to do publicity for his agitprop film on Hugo Chavez, took the opportunity to do some advance publicity for his forthcoming Showtime TV series, The Secret History of America. In his new gem, he will show us how Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were all unappreciated in their own time, since they were “vilified” and he wants to show — particularly in the case of  Stalin — how he “has a complete other story.”

Well, if  Stone wants to really let us know that it is not just Fidel and Hugo Chavez he loves, but all previous monsters in the 20th century past, he is certainly free to do so. But in his new interview with Camilla Long in the London Sunday Times, he certainly ups the ante.  Added to his list of the misunderstood is Iran’s leadership. First, he informs Long that although “Iran isn’t necessarily the good guy,” the fact is that “we don’t know the full story!” Since Stone was given access exclusively to Ahmadinejad when he visited Iran, we can be certain we won’t have to wait long to see the results.

Stone gets exercised when critics like me (whom you’ll recall he personally rebuked a short time ago — you can read my response here) expose his ignorance of history and his treatment of it as a vehicle for left-wing propaganda.  It is no wonder that Castro “had been pleased” with the three documentaries Stone made about him, as was Hugo Chavez.

When Long gently asks him whether he is presenting a balanced picture, Stone replies, “The internet’s fully free [in Venezuela]. You can say what the hell you like.” He conveniently ignores last week’s news that Chavez has arrested two Venezuelans who dared to write a few words on Twitter that he found demeaning. And like those in the old Soviet Union who always said when someone was arrested, “If only Stalin knew of this injustice, this would not be happening,” Stone says there is a “section of the Chavista party that is over the top,” and which “inherited shit” from the pre-Chavez government. (Any repression is always the fault of the old “bourgeois” regime.)

Then, Stone finally gets to the forthcoming documentary on our supposed secret history. Stalin and Hitler will be put “in context,” he says, as if historians have not been doing just that for a long, long time. What he means by that, however, is that if Hitler was a Frankenstein, so were “German industrialists, the Americans and the British,” all of whom, he hints, gave Hitler his support.

Next, Stone insists that Jewish deaths must be put “in proportion.” After all, “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 [million killed].” Then Stone pulls out all the stops in an example of anti-Semitic vitriol not heard in our country openly since the days of the Gerald L.K. Smith, the World War II-era American anti-Semite. Here, in bold, is the key paragraph in the Long interview:

Why such a focus on the Holocaust then? “The Jewish domination of the media,” he says. “There’s a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f***** up United States foreign policy for years.”

Stone’s revolting words turn one’s stomach. How different from President Harry S. Truman’s reaction, when he first heard reports of what the Nazis had done to Europe’s Jewish population and could not sleep at night. One also remembers General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s response, when he saw the Nazi concentration camps and quickly ordered a press trip as well as a tour for members of the House and Senate, so that the world would learn what had taken place, would never forget, and would never be able to deny.

Turning to Stone’s daughter, Long asks whether she always agrees with her father. “Yes I do,” the young girl replies. Stone pretends to want her to be critical, and says: “You shouldn’t! You should look at the other side!”  Young Tara replies: “I know. But I’ve been, like, sooo brainwashed.”

With his new documentary, Oliver Stone wants to brainwash us too. Unlike his daughter, however, we do not have to subject ourselves to his film when it is finally shown on TV. In fact, I suggest a campaign of viewers who now subscribe to Showtime to write and ask the network to cancel the film’s showing. Secondly, I suggest a boycott in which current subscribers cancel their subscription to the network the week before the film goes on the air.

Let us show CBS, which owns Showtime, that there is no market in our country for blatant anti-Semitism or for putting Hitler and Stalin “in context.”

UPDATE: Monday, July 27, 10:30 am, EST

I have received in the discussion and privately many objections to my call for a boycott. Some have said I seek to resurrect a blacklist. Let me explain why I do not think the analogy holds. The blacklist in film was introduced by craven Hollywood producers, whose box office was already dwindling due to the growth of TV, then a new medium. HUAC didn’t call for one; the producers  did it on their own. It was wrong, and unnecessary. They blacklisted writers, directors and actors for their private political views—not for anything to do with what was in the films. (See the book my wife and I wrote, “Red Star Over Hollywood.

In radio and TV, the blacklist took place when a “patriotic” supermarket executive threatened to take sponsor’s goods off his shelves unless they withdrew ads on the TV and radio programs he singled out. He was applying economic pressure on his own to fire people that no one had a problem with in the public—again, for their privately held views.

Remember that CBS and Showtime will be seeking new subs for their cable network when they run this 10 part series, which they will advertise widely. Viewers do not get it free—they have to purchase the product. We have as much right, I think, to let them know that rather than its being broadcast is a reason to subscribe—it is the opposite- a reason not to subscribe, or a reason to cancel if one already does. If they have the power to use Stone’s Secret History of America as a vehicle to get new viewers, don’t viewers say in fact they have hurt their own cause. Stone had a right to make his film. Showtime had a right to buy it and show it. We also have a right to let them know we think that rejecting their argument is also valid, and that distorting history by a film that may be artistic and well made- but done by a person who knows nothing about history-is a cause for deep concern. Hasn’t Howard Zinn’s million copy best seller hurt our country already- with the miseducation  that has taken place by scores of leftist teachers who use it as a textbook? Why let Stone compound the narrative with an even worse distortion of history- that thousands will see.

Let us at least consider whether some kind of protest to Showtime and CBS can be made.

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