The Arty Semite

Is 'Family Guy' Anti-Semitic?

By Mark I. Pinsky

Sunday night’s episode of “Family Guy,” the long-running animated comedy, included a 25-second segment that illustrated once again creator Seth MacFarlane’s unapologetic anti-Semitism.

In the episode, main character Peter Griffin and his friends are off on a typically absurdist search to find God and to get Him to stop thwarting their favorite football team, the New England Patriots. In a Jerusalem square they spot Mort Goldman, the obviously Jewish pharmacist from their hometown of Quahog, Rhode Island.

Actually, they spot a “flock” of bobbing Morts, whom they attract by tossing pennies, as you might use popcorn to draw pigeons. The message being, Jews love money. MacFarlane used similar imagery in a much earlier episode, in which Peter’s anti-Semitic father-in-law tries to use a dollar bill tied to a string to distract his wife, who has just told Peter’s wife Lois that she was raised Jewish.

Anti-Semitism is a serious charge, made too quickly and too often. But as someone who has followed MacFarlane’s career, I think it is well past time to call him out. His star is clearly on the rise in Hollywood — he has hosted a major awards show, been writing and directing movies and, most recently, produced the Fox series “Cosmos.” And thus far he has been unimpeded by his consistent record of anti-Semitism.

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And the Nominees Are...

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

We all know that the Oscars race has been going on for some time now, but with today’s announcement of the 2013 Academy Awards nominees, we can consider the contest official.

Two Israeli films are among the final five nominees for Best Documentary. The first, “5 Broken Cameras,” by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, documents the first years of Burnat’s baby against the backdrop of villagers from Bil’in in the West Bank battling against Israel’s building of the security fence. The second, “The Gatekeepers,” was directed by Dror Moreh and features interviews with six former chiefs of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, who until this film had been secretive about their and their agency’s work.

Steve Spielberg’s “Lincoln” leads the Oscar race with a total of 12 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay (by Tony Kushner) and Best Director for Spielberg himself.

Veteran actor Alan Arkin got a nod for his supporting role in Ben Affleck’s “Argo,” about the stealth rescue of a group of American embassy workers during the Iranian hostage crisis.

The inclusion of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” among the nominees for Best Picture must be hugely exciting for its young production team of Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald.

The 85th annual Academy Awards ceremony will take place February 24, and will be hosted by Seth MacFarlane, who was surprised to be nominated for Best Original Song. He wrote the song “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” for the comedy film “Ted.”

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