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March 16, 2015 4:43 pm

Michael Douglas Reveals Family’s Personal Experience With Anti-Semitism

avatar by Chris Coffey

Michael Douglas. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Famed actor Michael Douglas revealed that his 14 year-old-son Dylan was the victim of an antisemitic attack last summer while vacationing in Europe.

Douglas made the revelation in an editorial he penned on Saturday in the Los Angeles Times.

“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 in the LA Times.

Douglas continued:

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“After calming him down, I went to the pool and asked the attendants to point out the man who had yelled at him. We talked. It was not a pleasant discussion. Afterward, I sat down with my son and said: Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.”

Douglas recounted how he had a similar experience in high school, when an acquaintance told him that “all Jews cheat in business.”

The two-time Oscar winner divulged in his editorial that he did not have a religious upbringing.  Though his father, Kirk Douglas was Jewish, his mother Diana was not. Michael Douglas’s wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones is not Jewish either.

“While some Jews believe that not having a Jewish mother makes me not Jewish, I have learned the hard way that those who hate do not make such fine distinctions,” he wrote in the LA Times.

Douglas further wrote that he reconnected to the religion of his father through his son after Dylan “started going to Hebrew school and studying for his bar mitzvah.”

In fact, Douglas will be awarded the second annual Genesis Prize this June by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Sometimes called the Jewish Nobel Prize, the Genesis Prize awards $1 million to recipients in recognition of great contributions to Jewish culture.

Douglas concluded his op-ed with hopes that his grandchildren will be spared the harsh lessons of antisemitism:

“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.”

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