Seth Rogen doesn’t mince words when talking about controversial subjects.
The “American Pickle” star was on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast last week; the two shared their experiences of being Jewish and their relationship to Israel.
“[As] a Jewish person I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life,” Rogen admitted. “They never tell you that, ‘Oh, by the way, there were people there.’ They make it seem like it was just like sitting there, like the f**king door’s open.”
During the episode, Rogen also revealed that his parents actually met while staying on a kibbutz in Israel before moving to Vancouver.
Talking about anti-Semitism, Rogen said, “I remember my dad frankly telling me, ‘People hate Jews. Just be aware of that. They just do.’ And it’s honestly something that I am so glad was instilled in me from a young age. Because if it wasn’t, I would constantly be shocked at how much motherf**kers hate Jews.”
On the idea of a Jewish state, Rogen joked, “You don’t keep something you’re trying to preserve all in one place.”
When the actor said he would never consider living in Israel, Maron agreed, “I’m the same way, and we’re gonna piss off a bunch of Jews.”
Over the weekend, Isaac Herzog, head of the organization Jewish Agency, shared in a Facebook post that he had spoken with Rogen about the comment.
Had candid convo w @Sethrogen. He made clear his recent comment on Israel was said in jest & doesn't reflect his clear belief in Israel's right to exist. I invited him to visit Israels’ vibrant democracy. Criticism is legit but delegitimization isn'thttps://t.co/pXYwQUNHH5
— יצחק הרצוג Isaac Herzog (@Isaac_Herzog) August 2, 2020
“Over the weekend I was glad to hold a frank and open conversation with actor and comedian Seth Rogen about his comments in a podcast with Mark Maron which were interpreted as challenging Israel’d legitimacy,” Herzog wrote. “At the start, Seth was kind enough to make clear to me that what was missing in the published interview was what he did not say: How important Israel is to him. And that, of course, Israel must exist.”
He added, “Rogen told me that this is not at all what he meant and explained his words were meant as a joke, taken from a critical, humorous exchange with a fellow Jewish comedian, he was misunderstood and apologized for that and I accepted his explanation.”
Herzog continued, “He told me that while he was speaking in jest during the noted conversation, we cannot ignore the fact that Jews outside Israel often have to stand at the forefront and explain the State of Israel, and sometimes they do not know how nor what to explain.”
But on Twitter, journalist Mairav Zonszein shared that Rogen had messaged her to throw cold water on Herzog’s account of their conversation, writing, “I hope you read what I actually said about all this and not these second hand telling,” and laughing, “My mom made [me] call him.”
— Mairav Zonszein מרב זונשיין (@MairavZ) August 2, 2020
On Twitter, Rogen’s comments about Israel sparked controversy, with many arguing against him, while others took his side.
seth rogen must be protected at all costs pic.twitter.com/1WrjN1rDCd
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) July 28, 2020
Israel has become such a far-right racist apartheid regime that even celebrities who are not particularly political like Seth Rogen are coming out and admitting that Israel is ridiculous, antiquated, and based on ethnic cleansing https://t.co/XGUoen0rMC
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) July 29, 2020
Seth Rogen has some cojones:
'I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life. You know, they never tell you, that oh by the way, there were people there. They make it seem like it was – just sitting there. Oh the fucking door’s open!' https://t.co/XZMvBexC68
— Jonathan Cook (@Jonathan_K_Cook) July 28, 2020
I feel like @Sethrogen's 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.https://t.co/JdXfFTGOSR
— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) July 29, 2020
Thank you, @Sethrogen. Young Jews who reject the ethnic cleansing and apartheid in Israel need to say so loudly, both for our older relatives and to show younger Jews another option exists. https://t.co/iDfADcCmxH
— Goy Division/Jew Order (@ben_geier) July 28, 2020