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Michael Douglas isn’t one to make waves in and out of Hollywood.
But when his son was faced with a situation he described as “anti-Semitism,” the Hollywood actor decided to speak out in hopes that this “hate” will end sooner rather than later.
“Last summer our family went to Southern Europe on holiday. During our stay at a hotel, our son Dylan went to the swimming pool,” he wrote in an op-ed piece published Saturday in the Los Angeles Times. “A short time later he came running back to the room, upset. A man at the pool had started hurling insults at him.”
Douglas later recalled finding the man at the pool where they had “not a pleasant discussion.” The unnamed man’s outrage came because Dylan was wearing a Star of David.
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“Afterward, I sat down with my son and said: ‘Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.'” Douglas recalled. “Anti-Semitism, I’ve seen, is like a disease that goes dormant, flaring up with the next political trigger.”
While the actor admits he was raised in no formal religious upbringing—his dad was Jewish but his mother was not—he revealed that once his son developed a deep connection to Judaism through his friends, he began to reconnect with the religion of his father.
Douglas, who gives credit to French Prime Minster Manuel Vallas and Pope Francis for speaking out against anti-Semitism, hopes ordinary people can also step in and take action to end any “hatred of the Jewish people.”
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“If we confront anti-Semitism whenever we see it, if we combat it individually and as a society, and use whatever platform we have to denounce it, we can stop the spread of this madness,” he argued. “My son is strong. He is fortunate to live in a country where anti-Semitism is rare. But now he too has learned of the dangers that he as a Jew must face.”
He concluded, “It’s a lesson that I wish I didn’t have to teach him, a lesson I hope he will never have to teach his children.”
To read Douglas’ full op-ed piece including how he experienced anti-Semitism himself, click here.
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