(JTA) – Actor Michael Douglas spoke out against anti-Semitism in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.
Douglas recalled that last summer his son, Dylan, was verbally assaulted at a pool at a resort in southern Europe because he was wearing a Star of David necklace.
“Afterward, I sat down with my son and said: ‘Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.’” Douglas wrote in the piece published Saturday.
The Academy Award winner said he began reconnecting with Judaism since his son began to connect with the faith several years ago through friends. Dylan started attending Hebrew school and studying for his bar mitzvah, he said.
Douglas, who has a Jewish father – the famed actor Kirk Douglas – and a non-Jewish mother, as does his son, wrote, “While some Jews believe that not having a Jewish mother makes me not Jewish, I have learned the hard way that those who hate do not make such fine distinctions.”
He reviewed some of the root causes of anti-Semitism, including economics, hatred of Israel, and noted the large number of Muslims living in Europe.
“It is time for each of us to speak up against this hate,” Douglas asserted. He called on religious leaders, political leaders and citizens to speak out against anti-Semitism.
“So that is our challenge in 2015, and all of us must take it up. Because 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.”
Douglas will receive the 2015 Genesis Prize, which carries a $1 million honorarium, in June in Israel. The award recognizes an internationally renowned individual who is a role model in his or her community and whose actions and achievements express a commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and Israel, and who can inspire the younger generation of Jews worldwide.