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August 3, 2020 3:24 pm

Seth Rogen Accuses Jewish Agency Chief of ‘Misrepresenting’ Call, Amid Ongoing Furor Over Israel Remarks

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Seth Rogen speaking at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con International. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog spoke with Seth Rogen over the weekend, amid the ongoing furor over the controversial remarks about Israel the Canadian Jewish actor and comedian made during a recent podcast interview.

In a Facebook post, Herzog said that during a “frank and open conversation” with Rogen, the star of the upcoming film “An American Pickle” was “kind enough to make clear to me that what was missing in the published interview was what he did not say: How important Israel is to him. And that, of course, Israel must exist.”

Rogen “explained his words were meant as a joke, taken from a critical, humorous exchange with a fellow Jewish comedian, he was misunderstood and apologized for that and I accepted his explanation,” Herzog added.

Furthermore, Rogen noted that he was “very concerned about rising anti-Semitism, which he himself is combatting daily and is also assisting the Jewish community on this front,” recalled Herzog.

Rogen also referenced how “raising doubt, asking questions, and arguing differing positions are fundamental in Judaism,” Herzog said, “and in some interviews, he humorously asks questions about almost everything, as part of the process of casting doubt, which he says is an important motif for the Jewish people. He told me that while he was speaking in jest during the noted conversation, we cannot ignore the fact that Jews outside Israel often have to stand at the forefront and explain the State of Israel, and sometimes they do not know how nor what to explain.”

On Sunday, Israeli-American journalist Mairav Zonszein shared on Twitter a link to an article about Rogen’s call with Herzog, calling it “truly ridiculous.”

Shortly after, Zonszein tweeted that Rogen had contacted her and revealed that the only reason he had spoken with Herzog was because “my mom made me call him.” Zonszein even shared a screenshot of what Rogen had messaged her.

On Monday, Rogen tweeted a link to a Haaretz interview in which he accused Herzog of “misrepresenting our conversation” and violating a privacy pledge.

Herzog “sent a letter to my mother somehow, on official letterhead — very fancy letterhead,” Rogen told Haaretz. “My mom implored me to call this guy and I did and told him I thought this was a private conversation and I hoped it was a private conversation. After all, I did it because he reached out to my mother asking to talk to me. At no point did I give him permission to publish any part of the conversation.”

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