May 2020 -- Iyar-Sivan 5780,  Volume 26, Issue 5

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Examining  the Rise and Infectious Spread of Antisemitism in the U.S. and Europe in a Powerful New Documentary

VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS, by Emmy-winning Director Andrew Goldberg.  is a new film which premieres Tuesday, May 26 at 9:00 p.m. ET on PBS.

Written, produced and directed by Emmy wining Director Goldberg, and produced and edited by Diana Robinson, the 90-minute documentary -which had a short theatrical release earlier this year – visits four countries to speak first hand with victims, witnesses and anti-Semites. Interviewees include: Fomer US President Bill Clinton, Former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, Journalists Fareed Zakaria and George Will, and Professor Deborah Lipstadt. The film is narrated in part by Julianna Margulies.


VIRAL: ANTISEMITISM IN FOUR MUTATIONS examines the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and the rise of anti-semitism on the far right. In Hungary, it looks at how Prime Minister Viktor Orbán launched a massive campaign reminiscent of Nazi propaganda against Jewish billionaire George Soros. In England, members of the traditionally anti-racist, far-left Labour party conflate Israel and Jews with antisemitic vitriol, causing tremendous pain for the Jewish community. And in France, the film illuminates the seemingly endless wave of violence against Jews by Islamists and radicals.


The increasing bigotry and, at times, violence within each of these four countries paints a terrifying portrait of how global hatred disseminates and harms. As activist Maajid Nawaz says in the film, “If we don’t draw a red line in the sand when it comes to antisemitism, Muslims will be next, gays will be next and everyone else who is deemed a minority will be next.”


With a career spanning more than 20 years, Emmy Award-winning investigative producer/director Andrew Goldberg has executive produced and directed 13 primetime documentary specials for PBS and public television. He has also produced numerous long and short-form segments for outlets, including CBS News Sunday Morning, ABC News, and National Public Radio. Goldberg has been honored with over 20 major awards, including five CINE Golden Eagles, 10 Telly Awards, a NY Festivals World Medal, The Genesis Award (Guest of Honor), The St. Vartan’s Award, The Joachim and Anne Humanitarian Award. Some of his previous films include The Armenian Genocide, Jerusalem: Center of the World and They Came to America

“Antisemitism spreads like a virus and has infected countries, communities, organizations and individuals around the world for some 2,000 years. About three years ago, there were a number of high-profile antisemitic incidents in the U.S. that caught my attention, and I realized there were few if any films that really explored what antisemitism is, where it comes from, and how it harms.  In researching more, our team learned that while antisemitism was growing in the U.S., it had been growing much faster in recent years in Europe and needed a lot more attention,” Goldberg stated.


 How the idea of the Four Mutations came about, the Director said,  was because, “We realized that we needed to be very focused in what we would cover in the length of a feature. We explored quite a few countries but ultimately settled on the far right in the US, the far left in England, a government propaganda campaign in Hungary, and violent acts including murder in France.


“Since we started this film,  the number of violent antisemitic acts in the U.S. has skyrocketed. Pittsburgh had not even happened when we started production. Today, antisemitism is all over the headlines. It could not be more relevant.”


The project took three and a half years, and was filmed in six countries.  “It was frustrating to see how little non-Jews care about this issue,” Goldberg explained. “We went to many foundations that have well-known public reputations for supporting film, documentary, journalism or public television and 100% of them turned us down. Only Jews and foundations that had an interest in Jewish causes were willing to support us. I am a filmmaker and journalist, not an activist. We tried very hard to make a documentary that was not just a report, but an actual feature film people would want to see.”