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August 17, 2016 7:27 am

British Jewish Star Daniel Radcliffe Hopes New Movie About Neo-Nazis Will Spark Dialogue to Defeat Antisemitic Rhetoric

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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Actor Daniel Radcliffe, left, doing the Nazi salute in a scene from "Imperium." The film comes out Aug. 19. Photo: Screenshot.

Actor Daniel Radcliffe, left, doing the Nazi salute in a scene from “Imperium.” The film comes out Aug. 19. Photo: Screenshot.

Racist and antisemitic rhetoric supported by white supremacists can be defeated by opening channels for meaningful dialogue, British-Jewish actor Daniel Radcliffe said, ahead of the release of his new film, in which he plays an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a neo-Nazi group.

“[White supremacist ideologies] have more power the less we talk about them. So hopefully this does start a kind of conversation, which would be a tiny part of a much larger conversation that needs to happen,” the actor, 27, told The Jewish Week. “If one skinhead sees this movie and has his mind changed, or is even just made to question something, then it has been entirely worth it.”

In the upcoming film Imperium, Radcliffe’s character goes undercover to join a white supremacist terrorist group that the FBI is trying to take down. The film’s trailer,  which is filled with swastikas and other Hilter-related imagery, shows the actor shaving his head and reading about white supremacy as he prepares to be a part of the gang.

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Radcliffe, of “Harry Potter” fame, believes someone who “has antisemitic and racist beliefs is an otherwise good person who had his or her mind somehow poisoned.” He added: “No one comes out of the womb believing this stuff. You have to be taught it somewhere along the line. And if we lose our ability to believe in people’s power to change, then we might as well all just go home.”

Imperium was filmed three years ago, but Radcliffe said he still quivers when he thinks about transforming into a neo-Nazi for the role, which required him to get a temporary swastika tattoo. He told The Jewish Week, “I’m not religious, but my mum’s Jewish; I’m technically Jewish. And I have to have a [expletive] swastika painted on me every day.”

Radcliffe added that his Jewish heritage was targeted by supporters of the neo-Nazi movement when he first confirmed his involvement in the film. He thinks Imperium will remind people that there are “other types of terrorists” in the world. He explained, “It’s easier to deny their humanity. But the more aggressively dismissive we are of them, the more that plays into their worldview.”

Imperium will be released on Video on Demand and in a limited number of theaters on August 19.

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  • Lawrence

    The film-makers here and Radcliffe himself, so naive and so miss the point by ten light years; so cowardly, so safe and PC. What am I getting at? The fact that the real danger to Jews in this day and age is the Left-Islamist alliance, in France, in the UK, in Scandinavia, in North America, in Australia.

    However a film where an FBI agent infiltrates a Muslim extremist terror cell that gets cover by ‘moderate’ Muslims (which happens all the time in the real Western world) would be so offensive to the Jew-hating Islamist loving Left, so such a film doesn’t get made. Instead let’s pretend it’s 1970 or for that matter 1936.

    How are neo-Nazis any worse than communists/socialists and even mainstream liberals with the latter’s hardcore Jew-hate as Israel hate. At least the former are honest about their bigotry. Neo-Nazis are the far Left’s and mainstream Left’s fellow anti-Zionists, fellow Israel haters, fellow Hamas lovers. BDS supporters are not one tiny bit less bigoted than neo-Nazis. Any mention of the Jew-hating Left in this film? I’m willing to bet absolutely none. I’m willing to bet that this film doesn’t even dare to hint that these neo-Nazis hold to the same opinions on Israel and the so-called Palestinians as many many many liberals, and near all communists, even dare to point out their shared anti-Zionism. God forbid.

    This film is as safe and conventional as it gets. Pathetic, fatuous, willfully blind and cowardly.

    • David Goldstein

      There is no ‘Jew hating left.’ You’re completely insane.

    • Bindon Blood

      Absolutely right ; you took the post right out of my keyboard! Neo Nazi white supremacists are pretty thin on the ground in reality these days All over the Islamic world the most vile Jew hatred exists and is continually taught to each new generation. Now ,of course,the Muslim immigration jihad into the West has brought this disgusting mind set with them and it is polluting the European environment. The left ,never slow to jump on any band wagon that can harm Western Society and Israel, have and are nurturing this extreme ideology and together the left and Islam make a perfect combination of ignorance ,evil and twisted soul destroying hatreds. But of course after the war many of the National Socialist fanatics took refuge in the Middle East and found the environment ideal to continue their ferocious Jew hatred. The Islamic countries were largely sympathetic to Hiter and National Socialism more or less because they shared a common obsession with the Jewish race and a virulent hatred toward them. There is no doubt that the West and organisations like the EU ,see Israel as the obstacle to an understanding between the West and Islam and are more than prepared to see Israel destroyed. This is part of the plan for Eurabia ,the melding of Eropean and Islamic culture to form a powerful new entity. To do this the ruling elites are prepared to see European states and culture destroyed. This is happening now.

  • UR

    Why does he claim the racists have more power the less we talk about them? Is it simply in the sense expanded upon, namely that it could help change hearts & minds?

    When I clicked on the article, I thought: ‘how young & naive” – for this is what I used to think. That is, before BDS happened to my campus while I was busy devoting my life to the pursuit & advancement of knowledge, motivated by just this innocent but doomed impulse which vainly, in spite of all history, continues to believe that the more we talk & debate, the more the racists will be silenced & weakened.

    The state of debate on campus is not, to say the least, encouraging: a perennially beleaguered minority has effectively been silenced & bullied into submission with authorities doing nothing but legitimate the speech forum even more. Far from weakening the racists, they are but emboldened, as the spread of BDS attests.

    Would that University heads had the same moral clarity as the Olympic C’tee which ousted the racist Egyptian judoka, no more racist than the BDS activists on my campus and the Uni heads who give them cover & one hell of a platform for hate. They too should be ousted so that the university can be restored to its spirit and purpose

    • Well put. What is going on at universities is terrible and we are all being bullied and silenced. I’m glad that was not the case at the Olympics, at least in that one episode.

    • Lawrence

      That’s just my point! And BDS is coming from the Left, not neo-Nazis. That’s why this film is the usual safe and pathetic paint-by-numbers let’s pretend we’re still fighting World War 2. Let’s avoid the Jew-hating far Left at all costs, the cowardice is palpable.

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