Jewish Journal

Why Homeland’s Howard Gordon omitted Israel in his speech

by Orit Arfa

January 31, 2012 | 6:23 pm

I gave “Homeland”’s Howard Gordon crap in this blog for omitting Israel in his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. The award-winning show was inspired by the Israeli drama, “Hatufim”—so why not make that clear to the world?

Apparently, he agrees. When I met him on Sunday at UCLA’s One Day Israel University where he was the luncheon’s guest speaker, he recognized me from my blog and said he loved it. Firstly, um, woah. He actually read and loved ZOAngel . Secondly, he was happy I gave him crap. It was justified. He wished he would have mentioned Israel—but he felt rushed and the lights were dimming and I think he said he could make out Morgan Freeman yawning in the audience—and he felt pressured to get off the stage.

When he did, he turned to Gidi Raff, the co-executive producer, and asked “did I mention that the project was brought to us from Israel?” Raff said “no.” He was bummed. He also regrets not thanking his wife.

But during his talk he spoke very proudly of his ties to Israel and how it has been one of his most personally fulfilling projects because of his own connection to Israel. At the same time, though, he is a producer, and the show “Hatufim” stood on its own merits as a compelling idea—and his instincts were right. It’s arguably the best show on TV today.

I asked him during the Q&A where entertainment ends and political influence begins (someone told me after that he thinks Gordon was responsible for getting a black man into the White House following his casting of a black US President in “24”). He described his hit “24” as a type of post-911 “wish fulfillment” that drew fire from pundits who said the show encouraged Islamophobia and torture. “Homeland,” on the other hand, deals with the complexity of a war weary American society. He said he doesn’t hide behind a writer’s hat anymore and deny any personal conviction influencing the plot. But whatever he and the writers believe are funneled through complex plot and character—not propaganda (I’m imagining either Left or Right.) 

While I’m fine with his keeping his personal opinions a mystery, my guess is that he wouldn’t find what we say at the ZOA anathema, as would many Hollywood bigwigs. Who knows—maybe he reads our president Mort Klein’s press releases. And if he doesn’t—he should start. They’ll provide with him good inspiration. The ZOA is, after all, the most anti-terrorist of all pro-Israel organizations and one of the few that exposes Abu Mazen, Israel’s “peace partner,” as a terrorist, as well as how some Jewish groups even aid and abet the Palestinian Authority liars.

I must need meds if I were to think Gordon would publicly endorse us “crazy” people at the ZOA in such a liberal town, but I think the least he could do is cast a ZOA rep as an extra on the show….I can make for an excellent Islamist Arab terrorist.

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