Special Screening & In Theatres: VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS

Coming to NYC’s JCC Manhattan tonight, Tuesday, February 18 and to theatres this Friday, February 21:
VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS

Director:
Andrew Goldberg

World Premiere:
Theatrical release (February 2020)

About:
An investigation of the growth of antisemitism around the world.

As signaled by the awkward title of director Andrew Goldberg’s film, his premise is that antisemitism is ever-evolving, taking on different forms and appealing to different groups for various reasons, and, to borrow the social media-related meaning, spreading like wildfire. To that end, Goldberg explores the rise of anti-Jewish sentiment in four different countries and among different populations: the far right in the US, the far left in the UK, Islamic radicals in France, and nationalists in Hungary. For all this, however, the talking heads and narration-heavy doc doesn’t really demonstrate the supposed mutability of antisemitism – the arguments, stereotypes, and blatant lies used by its proponents in these and other places have been used for generations against the Jewish people, and are not particularly differentiated in any major way. Goldberg covers large issues in a cursory manner, moving from an older would-be politician in NC who espouses long-debunked antisemitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds, to Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban, who, using a very similar playbook, scapegoats George Soros as a manipulative Jewish bogeyman. In France, the disturbing number of hate crimes against Jewish people are perhaps too easily placed within the context of a population of disenfranchised and radicalized Islamic immigrants, while in the UK, attention is paid to ongoing charges of antisemitism in the Labour Party, where a disturbing general conflation of antisemitism with criticizing Israeli government policies ought to be more fully parsed, among other more overt issues. While the film is decidedly imperfect, it does serve the purpose of alerting viewers to the dangerous rise of nationalism, scapegoating, and attacks against Jewish people and other “others.”

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

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