His son with Catherine Zeta-Jones recently became deeply interested in his Jewish faith, and was wearing a Star of David. After an “unpleasant” conversation with the attacker, Douglas returned to his son and said: “Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.”
Douglas—whose father, the actor Kirk Douglas, is Jewish—opens up in the piece about his other personal experiences with anti-Semitism, beginning in high school. After a friend said to him, unprompted, “Michael, all Jews cheat in business,” Douglas writes, “I found myself passionately defending the Jewish people. Now, half a century later, I have to defend my son.”
“Anti-Semitism,” Douglas continues, “is like a disease that goes dormant, flaring up with the next political trigger.” He proceeds to outline three reasons why he believes anti-Jewish sentiments have returned: 1) a poor economic state, 2) a misplaced hatred of Israel, and 3) a growing number of European Muslims, which means the small number of extremists is also growing.
In his conclusion, Douglas references recent hate crimes, and offers a call to political and religious leaders—as well as regular citizens—to stand up against these acts. It’s a moving piece, with a message it seems more people could stand to hear repeated.