Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’
Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia.
In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred.
“Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I don’t mean to make false equivalences, we need it to serve as something that makes us empathetic to people rather than paranoid … Not used as a paranoid way of thinking that we are victims.”
Portman, who directs and stars in the newly released film adaptation of A Tale of Love and Darkness, said the Jewish community needs to ask itself how much focus it puts on Holocaust education, over other issues.
Growing up, the Black Swan star attended two Jewish schools, one in Washington DC, and the other in Jericho, Long Island. She said she believes her education put too much emphasis on the Holocaust. Portman recalled a 2007 trip to Rwanda in which she learned about the genocide that took place there and was dismayed to discover that the atrocities occurred as she was studying about the horrors of the Holocaust in school.
“We went to the museum there, and I was shocked that that [genocide] was going on while I was in school. We were learning only about the Holocaust and it was never mentioned and it was happening while I was in school,” she said. “That is exactly the type of problem with the way it’s taught. I think it needs to be taught, and I can’t speak for everyone because this was my personal education.”