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December 7, 1994


A Funny Thing Happened...

by Doug Collins



A FUNNY thing happened on the way to the movies the other day. A British reporter in Hollywood raised international dust by writing about Jewish control of Tinsel Town. His name is William Cash and his story was published in The Spectator, a major magazine published in London.

The article and the reaction to it even warranted a page in the Globe and Mail, which usually steers away from such delicate stuff.

The Globe's headline was 'Why Hollywood is seeing stars."

This space has dealt with the same subject, but my meanderings were wimpish compared with what this fellow Cash had to say. If my column had been anything like his I would probably have been in the clink by now.

The story began with a group portrait of some powerful people in New York's Vanity Fair magazine, which asked: "What have these men got in common?'

It showed 16 bosses including Steven Spielberg, the Schindler's List man. And Vanity Fair answered its own question by stating that this was the New Establishment - leaders of the computer, entertainment and communication industries in America.

The New Establishment, said the magazine, had replaced the Old Establishment. But Cash said that that didn't tell the whole story.

He pointed out that the New Establishment was predominantly Jewish, whereas the Old Establishment had been predominantly WASP. And he quoted Auberon Waugh, a waspish writer in more ways than one, who had called Hollywood bosses the Titans of Tripe.

Cash went on to say that the New Establishment was 'a white sock meritocracy' (white socks are supposedly popular in the film industry), and that it ran a network that kept WASPS out. The new boys, his article suggested, were clannish and vulgar, and also "talented negotiators".

He described a WASP would-be producer who had gold chains on his wrist and a chunky Star of David round his neck. Asked why he dressed like that, the man replied: "I'm trying to look Jewish.'

Cash said the New York Times was the official mouthpiece for U.S. Jews, and that 'every major studio head is Jewish today, just as they were 60 years ago.

It was a shot heard round the world.

The Times' story was headed "Stereotype of Jews is Revived".

"Few in Hollywood can recall such an anti-Semitic article in a major publication," it huffed.

Others said the piece was "a classic portrayal of Jews that goes back to an embellished image of Shylock". And Cash was "talking in the tradition of Goebbels and the Nazis".

Neil Gabler, the Jewish author of "An Empire Of Their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood", said Cash was "spewing out anti-Semitic bile."

The object of this wave of rage wondered what all the fuss was about. No anti-Semitism was intended. In a letter to the Times he stated:

"Gabler attacks me ... but what is so ludicrous is that all the historical evidence I present in my article about how Jews always worked together in the movie business comes straight from his book.

"In it, he refers to 'the Jewish network,' specifies how Jews preferred to work with other Jews, and details how Hollywood Jews practised 'reverse discrimination'" .

"While it is acceptable for a Jewish writer like Mr.Gabler to use words like 'network' or 'reverse discrimination', when a Brit uses similar phrases he is publicly barbecued."

British journalism, he pointed out, is "colorfully subversive". But in Hollywood, attacks on a personal level are seen as being "as out of place as badly capped teeth".

He got some support. A letter in the Los Angeles Times said it was OK for that paper's Jewish TV critic to call the Irish 'potato heads', but not for Cash to say the wrong thing.

There are some ironies here. The editor of The Spectator is a Jew and he too wondered what the fuss was about.

"American papers have a code of political correctness and it's impossible to run views counter to that product," he added.

Here in Canada it's twice as bad. If the Cash article had appeared in any Canadian magazine its editor and the guy who wrote it would have been hung, drawn and quartered.

They would probably have been charged with spreading 'hatred" under the federal laws. Failing that, the Canadian Jewish Congress would have laid a complaint under our misnamed Human Rights Act. But in the U.S., and apparently in the U.K., they still have something called freedom of the press.

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