Julianna Margulies, David Schwimmer and Over 260 More Implore Academy to Include Jews in Inclusion Standards | Exclusive

“An inclusion effort that excludes Jews is steeped in antisemitism,” the JITC Hollywood Bureau for Jewish Representation’s open letter reads

Julianna Margulies, David Schwimmer, Debra Messing
Julianna Margulies, David Schwimmer, Debra Messing (Credit: Getty Images)

Julianna Margulies, David Schwimmer and Debra Messing are among over 260 actors and other industry figures to sign an open letter demanding the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences include Jews in its representation and inclusion standards.

The letter, published Tuesday by the JITC Hollywood Bureau for Jewish Representation and shared exclusively by TheWrap, said that “an inclusion effort that excludes Jews is steeped in antisemitism and misunderstands it.”

“Jewish people being excluded from the Motion Picture Academy’s Representation and Inclusion Standards is discriminating against a protected class by invalidating their historic and genetic identity,” the letter read. “This must be addressed immediately by including Jews in these standards.”

Other notable signees on the letter’s growing list of supporters are Ginnifer Goodwin, Tiffany Haddish, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Brett Gelman, Michael Rapaport, Iliza Schlesinger, Nancy Spielberg and “Friends” cocreator Marta Kauffman and producer Kevin Bright.

In 2020, the Academy voted to add inclusion standards for films to be eligible for the Best Picture Oscar. Starting this year, films have to meet inclusion and diversity standards in two out of four areas: On-Screen Representation, Themes and Narratives; Creative Leadership and Project Team; Industry Access and Opportunities; and Audience Development.

Jew in the City (JITC) started the first and only Jewish Hollywood Bureau in 2021 to advocate for “whole and human Jewish depictions.” Bureau representatives told TheWrap the open letter was to be mailed to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday morning, the day of the 14th annual Governors Awards.

The letter also came in the midst of what the bureau called an “all-time high” of antisemitic incidents in the United States, citing a 400% increase since Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and the ensuing Israel-Hamas War in Gaza. As it stood prior to the Middle Eastern military conflict, Jews were already “the most attacked minority group in the U.S. per capita, according to the FBI 2022 hate crimes report.”

“Cutting down perceived Jewish power has been an excuse for abusing Jews for centuries, most notably during the Spanish Inquisition and 1930’s Germany,” the letter read, adding that echoes of such antisemitism have been present in Hollywood since the days of “The Jazz Singer.”

“The absence of Jews from ‘under-represented’ groupings implies that Jews are over-represented in films, which is simply untrue,” the JITC letter continued in its address to the Academy. “There are very few films about Jews, aside from ones about the Holocaust. Moreover, when Jewish characters are featured, they are often played by non-Jews, a rare practice for other marginalized groups.”

Additionally, the letter asserted that a “toned-down Jew” is the only “certain type of Jew” that has been traditionally accommodated in Hollywood. “A more flagrantly looking or observing Jew has never had a home in Hollywood,” it asserted. “Even with today’s increased standards of inclusion and diversity, that Jew continues to not be welcome.”

Prioritizing Jewish inclusion as part of its heightened DEI initiatives of recent years gives the Academy “an opportunity to combat Jew hatred by creating a framework for nuanced and authentic representation,” the letter concluded.

“There is a duty for the entertainment world to do its part in disseminating whole and human depictions of Jews, to increase understanding and empathy in viewers in these dangerous times. We ask the Motion Picture Academy leadership to do its part in advancing a just cause that has been ignored for too long.”

Read the JITC Hollywood Bureau for Jewish Representation’s open letter in full below:

Letter To The Motion Picture Academy On Its Diversity Requirements

We write as actors, directors, producers, executives, agents, screenwriters, and other industry professionals. While we applaud the Academy’s efforts to increase diverse and authentic storytelling, an inclusion effort that excludes Jews is both steeped in and misunderstands antisemitism. It erases Jewish peoplehood and perpetuates myths of Jewish whiteness, power, and that racism against Jews is not a major issue or that it’s a thing of the past.

While many mistakenly believe that Judaism is only a religion, Jews are actually an ethnic group, with varied spiritual practices that not all observe. Jews are an indigenous people to the Middle East with a continuous presence there for over 3000 years. This is not negated by the fact that Jews, like all marginalized groups, have white-passing members. Their colonization and exile led to millennia of persecution, and many Jews still carry the DNA of their foremothers’ oppressors. Antisemitic incidents are at an all-time high, with an increase of 400% since October 7–and Jews were already the most attacked minority group in the US per capita, according to the FBI 2022 hate crimes report. Online vitriol has also taken Jew-hatred to a new level. Cutting down perceived Jewish power has been an excuse for abusing Jews for centuries, most notably during the Spanish Inquisition and 1930s Germany.

Systemic racism against Jews in the United States included segregation, redlining, quotas, and gatekeeping, and was the motivation for the founders of Hollywood to start an industry where antisemitism wouldn’t harm them. Unfortunately, many of these founders had internalized shame and self-loathing, which meant that Jews in Hollywood often changed their names and told stories about Jews with caricatures, tropes, appropriation, and self-erasure. The first talkie film, “The Jazz Singer,” was about a Jew leaving the ways of his people. This dynamic is alive today, in films released as recently as this year. One of last year’s Oscar winners, “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” cast a Jewish woman to play a stereotypical “Jewish American Princess” called “Big Nose.”

The absence of Jews from “under-represented” groupings implies that Jews are over-represented in films, which is simply untrue. There are very few films about Jews, aside from ones about the Holocaust. Moreover, when Jewish characters are featured, they are often played by non-Jews, a rare practice for other marginalized groups. While there have always been Jews working in the industry, the industry has only accommodated a certain type of Jew: the toned-down Jew. A more flagrantly looking or observing Jew has never had a home in Hollywood. Even with today’s increased standards of inclusion and diversity, that Jew continues to not be welcome.

Jewish people being excluded from the Motion Picture Academy’s Representation and Inclusion Standards is discriminating against a protected class by invalidating their historic and genetic identity. This must be addressed immediately by including Jews in these standards. In addition, we’d like to propose further changes to the Representation and Inclusion Standards. When films use writers and consultants with expertise, pride, and cultural competency, when casting is done authentically, when film sets are set up to truly accommodate a diverse group of people, then a space of accommodation, inclusion and authenticity is created. These modifications would benefit everyone. A space like this has never existed for Jews in Hollywood, and the Motion Picture Academy has an opportunity to combat Jew-hatred by creating a framework for nuanced and authentic representation.

There is a duty for the entertainment world to do its part in disseminating whole and human depictions of Jews, to increase understanding and empathy in viewers in these dangerous times. We ask the Motion Picture Academy leadership to do its part in advancing a just cause that has been ignored for too long.

A.M. Driver 
Aaron Buchsbaum
Aaron Erol Ozlevi
Aaron Stone
Aaron Tabackman
Abigail Marshall 
Abram Cox
Adam Glass
Adam Horowitz
Adam Sidman
Adam Wells
Adrien Finkel
Alan Rifkin
Alec Sokolow
Alex Anhalt
Alida Michal
Aline Brosh McKenna
Alissa Vradenburg 
Allan Spielman
Allana Miller
Allison Josephs
Altara Michelle 
Amy Davidson 
Amy Robinson
Amy Schumer
Amy Sherman-Palladino
Andrea Epstein 
Andrea Gabriel
Andrew Avner
Andrew Stearn
Annelise Bianchini
April Mills
Ari Mark
Ariel Vromen
Ariyela Wald-Cohain
Arnon Z. Shorr
Assaf Bernstein
Avram Butch Kaplan
Batia Parnass
Ben Berkowitz
Ben Cosgrove
Ben Mor
Ben Younger
Benjamin Gober
Benji Aflalo
Beth Rosner
Bob Bookman
Bob Kushell
Brad Holtzman
Bradley J. Fischer
Brett Gelman
Brett Gursky
Brian Liebman
Brian Murphy 
Brian Ross
Brian Stern
Brianna Brown
Brianna Oppenheimer 
Bruce Burger
Bruce Rubenstein 
Carly Berg
Carmi Zlotnik
Charles Papert
Charlie Wachtel
Chelsea Gosnell
Chen Drachman
Cheyenne Schneider 
Chloe Nicole 
Cindy Kaplan
Clara Baum
Cooper Shaw
Cory Richman
Courtney Platt
Dan Adler
Dana Aliya Levinson
Dana Kraft
Dana Lustig
Dana Nachman
Dani Abraham
Daniel Finkelman
Daniel Katz
Daniel Kaufman
Daniel Rosenberg
Daniel Shere
Daniella Rabbani
Danielle Launzel
Danielle Pretsfelder Demchick
Danielle Schwob
Danielle Solzman
David Abrookin
David Baddiel
David Bornstein 
David Brandes
David Gordon
David Kohan
David Lipper
David Mazouz
David Morton 
David N. Weiss
David Price
David Schwimmer
David Shaw
David Shore
Dean Craig
Deborah Kaufman 
Deborah Marcus
Debra Messing
Dennis Staroselsky
Diane Robin
DJ Nash
Dodi Rubenstein
Dorit Simone
Doug Davis
Eddie Schmidt
Eden Malyn
Eduardo Rossoff
Edward Kitsis
Elana Barry
Elana Rubin
Elliot Gaynon
Elon Gold
Emma Newman
Emmanuelle Chriqui
Erez Rosenberg
Eric Feig
Eric Tuchman
Etai Benson
Ethan Zohn
Evan Silver
Evan Silverberg
Eve Brandstein
Fernando Szew
Franklyn Gottbetter
Fred Raskin
Freddy Zalta
Frederic Richter
Gabriela Tscherniak 
Gail Berman
Gary Barber
Geoffrey Cantor 
Gil Baron
Ginnifer Goodwin
Golan Ramraz
Golan Ramraz 
Greg Berlanti
Greg Reitman
Greg S. Bernstein 
Gregg Simon
Guri Weinberg 
Halle K Stanford
Hallie Brookman
Hank Steinberg
Hannah Bergstrom
Hannah Shankman 
Harold Kugelmass
Helen Levi
Hillary Blanken
Iddo Goldberg
Ido G.
Ilana Wernick
Ilia Kneller
Iliza Shlesinger
Iris Grossman
Isaac Dunham
Iselle Slome
Ivy Thaide
Jack Plotnick
Jacob Fenton
Jacob Krueger
Jaime Eliezer Karas
James Sampliner
Jamie Bialkower
Jamie Denbo
Jamie Patricof
Jan Oxenberg
Jared Miller
Jared Weisfelner
Jason Alexander
Jason Newman
Jason Venokur
Jay Winnick
JD Lifshitz
Jeff Astrof
Jeff Melman
Jeff Schwartz
Jennifer Apple
Jennifer Holmes
Jennifer Smith 
Jenny Cooper
Jeremy Drysdale 
Jeremy Guskin
Jeremy Kagan
Joanna leeds
Jodi Angstreich
Joel Fields
Joey Slotnick
Jon Hess
Jon Miller
Jonah Platt
Jonathan Lipnicki
Jonathan Louis Lewis 
Jonathan Walik
Jonathon Timpanelli
Jordan Bunshaft
Jordan Ross Schindler
Jory Weitz
Josh Dallas
Josh Fox
Josh Gad
Joyce Kurtz
Judie Aronson
Julia Tan Kozlowski
Julianna Margulies
Julie Falls 
Justin Arnold
Justin Bartha
Kadia Saraf
Karen Hermelin
Katie Walder 
KC Mussman 
Keetgi Kogan Steinberg
Ken Luber
Kevin Asch
Kevin Berntson
Kevin Bright 
Kevin Koster
Kimberly Ehrlich
Kimberly Peirce
KJ Steinberg
Lana McKissack
Lana Melman 
Landon Rohwedder
Lane Sparber 
Larry Stuckey
Laura Brody
Laura Salvato
Laura Summer
Lauren Abrahams
Lauren Avinoam
Lauren Harris
Lauren Levy
Lauren Milberger 
Lauren Rosenberg
Laurie Seidman
Laurie Sharpe
Lawrence Grey
Lee Stone
Lena Roklin
Leo Pearlman
Leonard Dick
Leslie Belzberg
Leslie Schapira
Lesly Kahn
Limor Gott Ronen 
Limor Hakim
Lindsay Howard Parker 
Lisa Matkowsky
Lola Maltz Cohen 
Lola Sandra
Louise Kaufman
Lynn Harris
Lynn Roth
Lynne Spillman
Malina Saval 
Mara Maxfield
Marc Caplan
Marci Liroff
Marco Henry
Marco Moschi
Margaux Susi
Mark Feuerstein
Mark Sable
Marla Levine
Marta Kauffman
Matthew Hiltzik
Max Berkowitz
Maya Jade 
Maya Schwartz
Mayim Bialik
Melanie Brooks
Melissa Center
Michael Addis
Michael Aharfi 
Michael Auerbach
Michael Epstein
Michael Jonathan Aharfi 
Michael Kagan
Michael Kalifa
Michael Markowitz
Michael Rapaport
Michael Smith
Micky Levy
Mike Burstyn
Mike Fishbein
Mila Brener
Miranda Bailey
Nancy Spielberg
Natalia Fedner
Natalie Marciano
Natalie Romeo
Natalie Shmuel
Nicola Posener
Nicole Goldman
Oran Zegman
Oren Kaplan
Patty Arnold 
Paul Adelstein
Rabbi Steve Leder
Rachel Goldberg
Rachel Kamerman 
Rakefet Abergel
Raphael Margules 
Rebecca Mall
Rebecca Spigelman 
Remy Bohrer 
Revital Rahmani 
Rhonda Price
Rich Dwe 
Richie Keen
Rick Senat
Robb Skyler
Robert Rovner
Robin Carus
Robin Lippin
Rochel Saks
Romy Rosemont
Ron West
Rona Geller
Roni Geva
Rose Frankel
Rosser Goodman
Ruth Jacobson
Ryan Guiterman
Sabrina Fonfeder
Sam Feuer
Sam Friedlander
Samantha Fetner
Sarah Beitch
Sari Knight
Sascha Knopf
Sasha Roiz
Saul Blinkoff
Scott Melrose
Scott Rosenfelt
Sean Liebowitz
Seth Fisher
Seth Nesenholtz 
Shane Stanger
Shani Atias
Shannon Makhanian
Shara Ashley Zeiger 
Sharon Lieblein 
Sheer Aviram
Shira Rose
Shirly Brener 
Shoshanna Richman
Siri Garber
Smadar Brener 
Spencer Reiss
Stacey Garratt
Stacey Maltin
Stacey Tenenbaum
Stav Meishar
Stephanie Klapper
Stephanie Liss
Steven C. Beer
Steven E Gordon
Steven Kane
Steven Levitan
Steven R. Monroe
Stuart Acher
Susan Greenblatt Neuffer
Susan Rovner
Susan Zachary
Susana Benaim
Swell Or
Tamar Pelzig
Tamar Simon
Tamar Teifeld 
Tamar Vacca
Terry Serpico
Thor Freudenthal
Tiffany Haddish
Todd Waldman
Tracy Ann Oberman 
Valerie Weiss
Victoria Gordon
Wendy Hammers
William Schmidt
Yahm Steinberg
Yolanda Woodard
Yuval David
Zachary Grashin 
Zak Resnick
Zusha Goldin

Comments

6 responses to “Julianna Margulies, David Schwimmer and Over 260 More Implore Academy to Include Jews in Inclusion Standards | Exclusive”

  1. Jack Thorne Avatar
    Jack Thorne

    This has to be a parody…

    1. Golan Avatar

      Why? Is your comment meant to let us know you’re racist, or is your comment referring to some legitimate reason you’d like to share with the group?

      1. Hahaha Avatar
        Hahaha

        Is there a reason jews didn’t push back until they realized they were being counted among the Whites who were being discriminated against by these standards?

        Is there a reason jews aren’t pushing back against said racism, and just wanting to be included among the ‘better than Whites’ races?

  2. harry Avatar
    harry

    if jew was a race, they’d be born circumsised.

  3. Michael Avatar
    Michael

    Wait so now Jewish people want to say they’re underrepresented in films yet their own people are involved in the industry why aren’t they asking them why they’re not writing producing and directing more films about Jewish culture and their stories??🤔🤔🤔

  4. Tim T. Avatar
    Tim T.

    They didn’t care when Whites are excluded.

    So I don’t care about them.

    Enjoy your golems turning on you.

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