For Jews, anti-Semitism, is a fact of life no matter where you’re from or the era you inhabit. I grew up in suburbia in the late 50s so as a kid, I was largely shielded from this hatred. But my family talked about the Holocaust, which only happened a few years before I was born. And my parents often told the story of their honeymoon in the late 40s, when they couldn’t check into a number of Cape Cod motels because they were Jewish.
The Tree of Life synagogue massacre really upset me and I knew immediately, that I needed to write and direct a documentary about anti-Semitism in America today. Once I opened that door, I began to uncover just how much Jewish hate there is America. And sadly, during the Trump presidency, it ascended and became a lot more intense.
At first, I felt overwhelmed by the subject matter, which always produced an emotional reaction in me. I felt I had a very strong obligation to all the Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. That I was their spokesman and that I better get it right. But what was the story of this film, and how would I tell it. I pondered that for months.
I’ve produced three feature length documentaries that have been screened at film festivals, and online on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video. These films were an amalgam of interviews and B-Roll, along with relevant archive footage. But I didn’t want to follow that formula. I knew I had to produce a film that would provoke a strong emotional reaction on audiences. That was the only way they would learn more about anti-Semitism and start a dialogue.
I attended a J Street Conference in 2019 in Washington, that focused on the need for a two state solution in the middle east. I was upset by the way the Israeli government was torturing Palestinians and learned quite a bit at the conference. At night, I wandered the streets of DC, looking for the right angle for my film.
When I returned to Tucson, I realized the story I needed to tell was here in Tucson. That if anti-Semitism exists everywhere, it’s here in the Old Pueblo, as well. So I started interviewing Rabbis and Holocaust survivors, and Professor Noam Chomsky, who now teaches at the University of Arizona. But I still need a logline, which a brief that states the central conflict of the story, often providing both a synopsis of the story's plot, and an emotional "hook" to stimulate interest.
I kept trying to figure out why people hate Jews? Anti-Semitism seems to begin with the belief that the Jews killed Christ, a conspiracy theory perpetuated by the Church for nearly two millennium. So that was one reason for the hate. Further research revealed that since most people had never encountered a Jewish person, they were marinating in a soup of misconceptions about Jews. That they were greedy, and not terribly attractive. Many people believe and still believe that the Jew is a member of an inferior race, mostly likely subversive. Their goal, as explained by the Protocols of Zion and Henry Ford’s The international Jew, is to undermine the moral and structural fiber of civilization.
This virus called anti-Semitism has been propagated by conspiracy theories, by memes and tropes and articles, etc. for over two thousand years. Today, it’s all happening on the internet. The idea that all the lies about Jews and anti-Semitism itself has found a home on the web is particularly disturbing. And that became the foundation for this film.