Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations is a necessary film and ought to be a conversation starter on a subject that is plaguing our world.
In Viral, filmmaker Andrew Goldberg takes a look at four particular instances of anti-Semitism over the years. The first is the Tree of Life shooting and the subject of the far right. The second chapter takes a look at Blaming the Jews. Specifically, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s vendetta against George Soros. This guy hates Soros so much that it’s crazy. The third chapter takes a look at the far left. In this instance, it mainly focuses on the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn but also looks at how the seeds are taking place in the United States. Finally, the fourth part looks at anti-Semitism as the result of Islamic Radicalism.
There are some documentaries that can be challenging to make. What’s sad is that there are a number of non-Jews that simply don’t care. It’s like they’re apathetic to what’s happening to their Jewish friends. I especially saw this on social media in December when there were a number of incidents taking place against visibly Orthodox Jews. While you’ll be able to watch Viral on PBS later this year, a number of documentary-supporting foundations chose not to fund this film.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair talks about the classic form of anti-Semitism and the new form, which is more common to equate Jews with Israel.
“It’s difficult sometimes to disentangle the old form of anti-Semitism, which was the classic hatred of Jewish people and ban them from the golf clubs, etc. and the Jewish conspiracy around finance and all this, and this new form that focuses specifically on the State of Israel. But to a certain level, they run into each other. And what’s to me very striking about this new form of anti-Semitism is how it very quickly leads to the consequence of the old form as well.”
I have friends and Twitter followers across the pond in the United Kingdom. Sadly, I still remember conversations that took place following the recent British election. The Labour Party took a massive beating but one would think that it would not be the case if they hadn’t allowed for so many instances of anti-Semitism within their own party. Goldberg takes a deep dive into what’s going on in the UK. Some of you might not like what you see but you need to see it. I’m sitting here thinking about Luciana Berger, who resigned from Labour as a result of anti-Semitism.
When it comes to the far left, you cannot ignore what’s also happening in the United States. We can currently see it on college campuses. I’m sorry to say that we can also see it in the LGBTQ movement. We saw enough of it in 2017 with Jews being kicked out of LGBTQ events for displaying their Jewish pride. That’s anti-Semitism through and through. When a trans group in Chicago decided to endorse BDS, that was when I made the decision to largely have nothing to do with Chicago’s transgender community. It also means losing out on a place that I felt was safe. When people decide to boycott Israel and only Israel, that’s anti-Semitism. It’s not just anti-Zionism, which is also being used as a way of targeting Jews.
It’s hard to watch this film and review it without getting personal. This is my life that we’re talking about here! I think back to last fall when I was dealing with death threats for a certain film review about the clown movie. While some of these threats were transphobic in nature, others delved into anti-Semitic comments. Nobody should have to deal with this. Nobody!
There’s no call to action in this film. No answers or solutions to the ongoing problem. But to my non-Jewish friends out there, it goes without saying: if you see something, say something!
It’s really sad that Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations is a necessary documentary in 2020 but here we are.
DIRECTOR: Andrew Goldberg
FEATURING: Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Fareed Zakaria, George Will, and Deborah Lipstadt.