Seth Rogen’s not afraid to upset countries (see: North Korea back with 2014’s The Interview), and now, he’s speaking his mind on Israel. In HBO Max’s upcoming An American Pickle movie, Rogen portrays a 1920s Jewish immigrant who falls into a pickle vat and wakes up a century later to meet his grandson, also played by Rogen. The outspoken U.S.-Canadian actor, who is Jewish, visited with Marc Maron (also Jewish) on the WTF Podcast. Over the course of the hour, they dug deep into The Pineapple Express actor’s views (with which Maron agrees) on Israel.
While addressing his childhood, Rogen (whose parents met in Israel) revealed that he was never told (while attending Jewish camp) that the Jewish state had been created on land where Palestinians were living at the time. Rogen and Maron candidly discussed the subject with Maron pointing out that “we’re gonna piss off a bunch of Jews.” Rogen wasn’t deterred, stating that “I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life.” He maintained that he was never told that Palestinians occupied the land, and his schooling made “it seem like it was just like sitting there, like the fucking door’s open.” Rogen then questioned why Israel exists at all:
“If it is for truly the preservation of Jewish people, it makes no sense, because again, you don’t keep something you’re trying to preserve all in one place — especially when that place is proven to be pretty volatile, you know? ‘I’m trying to keep all these things safe, I’m gonna put them in my blender and hope that that’s the best place… that’ll do it.’ It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Maron, who realized that there would be backlash coming their way, pointed out that “I get frightened to talk about it.” To that, Rogen exclaimed, “I’m afraid of Jews! I’m 100% afraid of Jews.” Certainly, the conversation won’t ease any tensions between Israel and many North American Jews. Rogen’s perspective aligns with a refugee crisis that remains unresolved, given that during the 1948 war, a mass exodus occurred (numbering around 700,000 Palestinians) from Israel. The exiting families and their descendants now number several million people.
The Jerusalem Post‘s Lahav Harkov has responded to Rogen in a tweet thread, in which she claims that his “comments are made from a position of really, really great privilege – and ignorance – if he can’t understand why Israel makes sense to millions of Jews around the world. I just hope he appreciates it.”
Rogen and Maron did also talk about An American Pickle during their hour-long chat. In doing so, Rogen revealed that he and Simon Rich first envisioned it back in 2007 when Rogen first hosted SNL. While speaking to the movie’s long gestation, he revealed, “It was a hard movie to crack, the tone is weird and it’s something that I wanted to spend a lot of time making sure we got right.” The HBO Max movie streams on August 6.
(Via WTF Podcast)