Michael Douglas reveals son’s encounter with anti-Semitism in Europe

Michael Douglas. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) Actor Michael Douglas, whose father and fellow actor Kirk Douglas is Jewish, revealed in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times that his 14-year-old son with actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has experienced an anti-Semitic attack in Europe.

“Last summer our family went to Southern Europe on holiday. During our stay at a hotel, our son Dylan went to the swimming pool. A short time later he came running back to the room, upset. A man at the pool had started hurling insults at him,” Douglas wrote.

“My first instinct was to ask, ‘Were you misbehaving?' 'No,’ Dylan told me through his tears. I stared at him. And suddenly I had an awful realization of what might have caused the man's outrage: Dylan was wearing a Star of David,” he wrote.

Douglas wrote that anti-Semitism tends to grow wherever the economy is struggling. That trend, “an irrational and misplaced hatred of Israel,” and a growth in the European Muslim population have led to the current manifestations of anti-Semitism taking place across Europe, the actor argued.

“If we confront anti-Semitism whenever we see it, if we combat it individually and as a society, and use whatever platform we have to denounce it, we can stop the spread of this madness," Douglas wrote. "My son is strong. He is fortunate to live in a country where anti-Semitism is rare. But now he too has learned of the dangers that he as a Jew must face. It's a lesson that I wish I didn't have to teach him, a lesson I hope he will never have to teach his children.” 

Michael Douglas will visit Israel in June to receive the Genesis Prize, which has been dubbed "the Jewish Nobel Prize,” for his contribution to Jewish culture.

Posted on March 16, 2015 .