update deskAntisemitism

Brett Gelman alleges antisemitism after stores cancel book-tour events

One bookstore co-owner said the comedian and actor made unspecified “intemperate and ill-advised” comments about “ethnic and social groups,” which Gellman denies.

Jewish actor and comedian Brett Gelman speaks to the nearly 300,000 attendees of the “March for Israel” rally in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14, 2023. Source: Screenshot.
Jewish actor and comedian Brett Gelman speaks to the nearly 300,000 attendees of the “March for Israel” rally in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14, 2023. Source: Screenshot.

Jewish comedian and actor Brett Gelman, 47, spoke passionately at the Nov. 14 “March for Israel” on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., about how he lost friends over his Zionism after Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel.

Because of that stance, the star of the Netflix hit series “Stranger Things” says certain bookstores have canceled events on a tour to promote his new fiction collection, The Terrifying Realm of the Possible: Nearly True Stories.

He said two venues have pulled out “due to antisemitic intimidation,” adding “but I have not. I won’t be silenced and neither will the Jewish people,” Gelman wrote on social media.

He shared a graphic identifying the Book Stall, in Winnetka, Ill., and Book Passage in San Francisco as the stores in question. The events were slated for March 20 and 21, respectively.

“I definitely believe it’s because of my vocal support of Israel and because of the fact that I’m Jewish,” Gelman told the New York Post. “I think that this is a completely antisemitic act.”

J. The Jewish News of Northern California interviewed Bill Petrocelli, a Book Passage co-owner, who said the store canceled the event due to Gelman’s “intemperate and ill-advised remarks that he made against some other ethnic and social groups.” The owner did not specify which comments he meant.

“I don’t think it’s helpful for me to go into any detail about the comments Mr. Gelman made that prompted our decision,” Petrocelli told the J. For that matter, he added that many of the bookstore’s staff members are Jewish.

Gelman’s publicist told the paper that isn’t true.

“I have never said anything against an ethnic or social group,” said the actor through his publicist. “I have repeated multiple times that I am horrified over the deaths of innocent Palestinians and feel deeply for all innocents affected. So it seems as if Mr. Petrocelli is proving himself to be antisemitic by saying that me advocating for the self-determination, safety and humanity of my own people equates to disparaging Palestinians.”

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