Is The Equalizer About to Tackle Antisemitism in an Accurate Way?
It is no secret that us allegedly owning Hollywood does not guarantee a good representation of Jews or Jewish issues in movies or on television. For instance, remember that infamous “dead goyim leg” episode of the NBC show Nurses?
And the list goes on and on.
But things seem to be slowly changing. For instance, you may recall the new show on Peacock called The Calling, a TV police procedural with the lead detective being a strong, proud Jew.
And now there comes news of an episode of The Equalizer dealing with antisemitism, which – if my reading between the lines is correct – might actually tackle the issue in the right way rather than just focusing on the low-hanging fruit of right-wing antisemitism.
The Equalizer returns this weekend with another special episode on the evils of hate crimes. In “Never Again,” Harry reconnects with his Jewish faith when a series of antisemitic attacks hit the neighborhood where his mother grew up. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, actor Adam Goldberg, who plays Harry, shared why this upcoming episode is “essential” for viewers to watch on March 12.
Harry Keshegian takes command of the team in “Never Again” after Robyn McCall (Queen Latifah) is asked to investigate the string of antisemitic crimes that hit a New York City neighborhood. With antisemitic attacks on Jews in America on the rise, Goldberg said it “frankly seems somewhat inevitable” that the topic would be covered on The Equalizer since they have made so many episodes already dealing with marginalized people. The episode was written by Equalizer showrunner Adam Glass and Ora Yashar, who are both Jewish. Goldberg is also half-Jewish and half-Catholic.
Although Glass and Yashar wrote the episode before coming to Goldberg with the idea, Harry’s story runs parallel to Goldberg’s own experience as a “secular half-Jewish guy” in America. As viewers learn, Harry also did not grow up in a religious household and did not have his Bar Mitzvah. The episode also shows Harry remembering some of the key aspects of Jewish life that are not always presented on mainstream television.
“I think normalizing Jewish life is f—ing essential,” Goldberg said. However, Goldberg notes that it is also important to expose “Jewish hate in all its colors” to audiences as well. “I think showing this stuff in its grizzly, grizzly reality is essential and mainstreaming the hell out of what’s been going on, because some of this stuff doesn’t end up on the news,” Goldberg said. “A bunch of things have happened since we shot the episode alone, and if I weren’t on Instagram, I wouldn’t have known that two guys on separate occasions were assaulted leaving temple right now where I used to live in the Pico Boulevard area in Los Angeles.”
Goldberg hopes that the episode helps audiences realize that the rise in antisemitism isn’t just in the comment sections online. It’s happening in the real world. The Saving Private Ryan star recalled how people would be shocked when he shared Nazi propaganda on his Instagram page to show the evils of antisemitism. “I would like to think that people would say, ‘Holy, s—. This is really happening,'” Golberg said.
Adam Goldberg’s statement that it’s important to expose “Jewish hate in all its colors” – plus the fact the report to which he referred concerned an Asian guy who shot at Jews, rather than a White supremacist – indicates to me that they might be tackling the subject more honestly than most.
Plus his own social media posts indicates he understands antisemitism exists on the Left.
And perhaps this sneak peak offers a further hint?
(Could BUE stand for Black something something?)
If the show wants to tackle the topic really honestly, the perpetrators will be African American, given the backdrop is a “string of antisemitic crimes that hit a New York City neighborhood,” and most of the recent antisemitic crimes in New York have been perpetrated by members of that community.
Of course, all of this is speculation and I may find myself disappointed.
Update 13/3/23 10:00: Disappointed it is.