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Tags: Michael Douglas | Dylan Douglas | Europe | anti-Semitism

Son of Actor Michael Douglas Faces Anti-Semitism in Europe

By    |   Monday, 16 March 2015 11:06 AM

Actor Michael Douglas's son came face-to-face with ugly anti-Semitism during a European vacation.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Douglas said he confronted a man who had screamed insults at his weeping son at a hotel swimming pool because Dylan, 14, was wearing a Star of David necklace.

"After calming him (Dylan) down, I went to the pool and asked the attendants to point out the man who had yelled at him. We talked. It was not a pleasant discussion," Douglas wrote.

"Afterward, I sat down with my son and said, 'Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.' "

Douglas, whose father Kirk, is Jewish but whose mother, Diana, is not, was not raised in a religious Jewish home, but when his son developed an interest in Judaism, Michael began to rediscover his own roots.

The family traveled to Israel last year for Dylan's bar mitzvah ceremony at the Western Wall and will go back to Israel in June for Douglas to receive the prestigious Genesis Prize from the Israeli prime minister, Ynet News reports.

The award, for Jews who "serve as an inspiration to young Jews and others across the globe," carries a $1 million prize, and Douglas says he plans to "invest the prize award into initiatives which will resonate with Jews like himself — those who come from parents of mixed heritage who wish to be part of the Jewish community," Stan Polovets of the Genesis Prize Foundation told Ynet News.

Recalling a hurtful incident from his youth when a friend casually commented, "all Jews cheat in business," Douglas wrote in the LA Times, "anti-Semitism, I've seen, is like a disease that goes dormant, flaring up with the next political trigger."

He cited three reasons for anti-Semitism, including bad economic times, an "irrational and misplaced hatred of Israel" from those who "see Israel as an apartheid state and blame the people of an entire religion for what, in truth, are internal national-policy decisions," and demographics.

"Europe is now home to 25 million to 30 million Muslims," Douglas wrote, "twice the world's entire Jewish population. Within any religious community that large, there will always be an extremist fringe, people who are radicalized and driven with hatred, while rejecting what all religions need to preach — respect, tolerance and love."

Citing recent terrorist attacks against Jews in France and Denmark, Douglas wrote: "We're now seeing the amplified effects of that small, radicalized element. With the Internet, its virus of hatred can now speed from nation to nation, helping fuel Europe's new epidemic of anti-Semitism," the LA Times noted.

He praised French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Pope Francis and New York's Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan for their support for Jews, and wrote: "My son is strong. He is fortunate to live in a country where anti-Semitism is rare. But now 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.

"Because if we confront anti-Semitism whenever we see it, if we combat it individually and as a society, and use whatever platform we have to denounce it, we can stop the spread of this madness."

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Actor Michael Douglas's son came face-to-face with ugly anti-Semitism during a European vacation.
Michael Douglas, Dylan Douglas, Europe, anti-Semitism
Monday, 16 March 2015 11:06 AM
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