Noted Good Wife and zealous Zionist Julianna Margulies recently appeared on “The Back Room with Andy Ostroy,” a podcast in which a man speaks to famous people about stuff, and oh boy did Julianna Marguiles have some stuff to say. Most curious to all of us here at this website, she at one point introduced her right to speak about her disdain for anti-Zionism in LGBTQ+ communities like so: “As someone who plays a lesbian journalist on The Morning Show, I am more offended by it as a lesbian than I am as a Jew.” First of all, no she isn’t. Second of all — why is she speaking on behalf of lesbian Jewish journalists when the option existed and continues to exist for her to not speak at all?
As an actual lesbian Jewish journalist, listening to her share her bigoted ideas on this 50-minute podcast was excruciating. Julianna displays appalling racism and manages to endorse every single illogical and frustrating point made on behalf of these identities in recent months by alleged allies and community members, after opening the dialogue with: “I hate religion by the way, I think it’s fucked up the entire world, so I’m not a religious person.”
An initial attempt to discuss her character on The Morning Show quickly derails into something else altogether, as she recalls wishing she’d advocated for her character to wear a Star of David necklace rather than a cross. (This is a good point, we need more queer Jewish representation on television, but not on Julianna’s neck, thank you.) She then proposes the following storyline for Season Four:
“I would love in season four for Laura Peterson to go to Columbia and teach a class to the LGBTQ filmmakers there, or journalists, and teach a class and give them an earful about Hamas. That’s what I would love.”
It’s difficult to imagine anything worse than The Morning Show’s actual Season Three lesbian storylines, but Margulies dares to dream! She’s very upset at the LGBTQ+ community, who she so valiantly represented on television through her character Laura Peterson (a lady with a big house in Montana who dumps her hot girlfriend for, essentially, not calling the cops). Margulies continues:
“It’s those kids who are spewing this antisemitic hate, that have no idea if they stepped foot in an Islamic country — these people who want us to call them they/them, or whatever they want us to call them, which I have respectfully made a point of doing — it’s those people that will be the first people beheaded and their heads played with like a soccer ball. And that’s who they’re supporting? Terrorists who don’t want women to have their rights? LGBTQ people get executed.”
Kayla has written recently about what’s wrong with that way of thinking, and it’s safe to say any allegedly “respectful” utilization of they/them pronouns has been negated by this contextualization, and then she plows forward with an inaccurate anecdote about a “No Jews Allowed” sign at a screening hosted by a “Black lesbian group” at Columbia (it was actually a QPOC-lead group for queer women and non-binary people, and there were no “No Jews Allowed” signs), in which she shows her ass once again with repulsive, unabashed racism:
“Because I wanna say to them, ‘You f—ing idiots. You don’t exist. You’re even lower than the Jews. A. You’re Black, and B. You’re gay and you’re turning your back against the people who support you?’ Because Jews, they rally around everybody.”
The host and Juliana pontificate extensively about why it is that young people “endorse Hamas.” This is a consistent error throughout Juliana’s discourse — 1) Conflating Jews with Zionists and 2) conflating Palestinians with Hamas.
She expresses disdain for people who are tearing down signs for hostages kidnapped by Hamas, which is a valid action to feel disdain towards. But everything else she says on this podcast is completely bonkers. Her and Andy assert, with unearned confidence, that the U.S. would never stand for Black people to be treated how Jews are being treated right now (this is very very objectively false) and that people on a college campus would be persecuted for using the wrong pronouns but applauded for hating Jews.
This is a full hour of two grown adults with full access to the internet and the library asking each other “why do the kids support Hamas?” and answering it, over and over, with “because they hate Jews.”
Here’s a better question: Why do the kids support the people of Palestine?
Here’s a better answer: Because they hate genocide.
Look, Juliana saw a documentary. She thinks it’s okay for IDF to bomb hospitals because Hamas is operating out of hospitals. (Although, as someone who played a nurse on television, maybe she is qualified to speak on behalf of hospitals.) Here’s the thing: it’s never okay to bomb hospitals. Literally never! It is literally never okay to kill innocent civilians. Nothing that has ever happened to anyone, including everything that has ever happened to us the Jewish people, makes that okay. Despite centuries of oppression and expulsion and extermination, despite the Spanish Inquisition and the Russian Pogroms and the Holocaust and the October 7 attack — literally nothing, absolutely nothing at all, justifies indiscriminately killing of over 15,000 innocent Palestinians and continuing to create endless loops of intergenerational trauma and piling wrongs on wrongs and never getting to a right. It is far more coherent to condemn both Hamas’s brutal attack on October 7 and Israel’s occupation and carpet-bombing of Palestine than it is to condemn the former but not the latter. Never again means never again for anyone.
Susan Sarandon was dropped by UTA last week for saying a sentence in a Free Palestine rally that could’ve been interpreted in a variety of ways because someone decided there was in fact only one objective way to hear it, and that way was “anti-semitic rant.” (UTA represents a lot of great people, but they also represent Megan McCain, a handful of Fox News anchors, and didn’t dump Bill O’Reily until after his big sexual harassment settlement was revealed.)
But on this podcast, Julianna Marguiles says objectively bigoted things about Black people, queer people, Palestinian people and Islamic people. She So far, she’s still on the client list at CAA and was given a chance to issue an apology. If she’s feeling persecuted presently I suspect it’s not because she’s Jewish, but because she is saying hateful, bigoted things on a regular basis. USA Today gave her a whole-ass column last week to share her little ideas. Meanwhile, the United States stands firmly with Israel and in 2022, funnelled $3 billion dollars into Israel’s massively powerful military. Actors and journalists are losing their jobs, and artists are losing their funding and jobs and artistic freedom, for supporting Palestine.
Like Amy Schumer, Margulies takes time to present a very mercenary vision of activism:
“The fact that the entire Black community isn’t standing with us, to me, says that they’re just ig-ig [word fumbles] -—they just don’t know, or they’ve been brainwashed to hate Jews. But when you’ve been marginalized so much as a community, the way I feel we have, isn’t that when you step up?”
There’s so much to unpack here. Her repeated insistence that various groups are only advocating for Palestine because they are brainwashed idiots is offensive as fuck, and in this specific case, dangerously racist. She also doesn’t seem to know that Black Jewish people exist? Finally, as perhaps most clearly articulated by the levels of Tzedakah (the Hebrew term for charitable giving that is integral to the Jewish faith), it is best to give without expecting anything in return, not even a “thank you,” not even anybody even knowing you helped at all. If you’re only giving in hopes of getting something in return, you’re better off not doing giving in the first place.
Which brings me to Margulies’ next bit, in which she wants us all to know that she herself did activism and in fact she was right on top of that instagram black square thing! Also, she threw the first brick at Black Lives Matter:
“I’m the first person to march in Black Lives Matter. When that happened to George Floyd I put a black screen on my instagram, like I ran to support my Black brothers and sisters. When lgbtq+ people are being attacked, I run, I made a commercial for same-sex marriages with my husband in 2012.”
She is right that the Jewish people have a long, storied history in social justice communities — in fact, a great deal of anti-semitism in this country is because of Jewish ties to various civil rights movements. In line with that tradition, Jewish Voice For Peace is one of the primary activist organizations supporting the movement for a free Palestine, a movement that has welcomed Jewish supporters. Jewish queer people are turning out to call for a ceasefire and support a free Palestine, not out of ignorance or a lack of education, but its opposite.
We also don’t have to deny that antisemitism is on the rise or stop advocating for Israeli hostages who remain in Gaza in order to put energy towards Palestinian liberation and fight for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. Zionism also benefits anti-semites, including historically the American and European leaders who supported anti-semitic policy, refused Jewish immigrants and either participated in or looked away from the Holocaust. Now they can support Israel instead of actually supporting Jewish people, and conveniently enough this approach also provides them with a political ally in the Middle East.
What’s actually shocking is that anyone who can do basic math or understand the tragedy of death, displacement, torture and starvation can look at what’s been happening in Gaza and rather than use their platform to advocate for a ceasefire and an end to apartheid and occupation, to instead use it, as Jullianna does, to complain about the WGA’s failure to immediately issue a statement condemning Hamas, because statements fix everything I guess. Zionism is not reflective of core Jewish values or traditions, and the virulent, unchecked racism we’ve seen from Zionist Jewish celebrities like Julianna makes that even clearer.
Aligning with Zionism doesn’t make Julianna Margulies more closely aligned with Jewish values, and Margulies using her experience playing a lesbian on television as an entry point to saying the most racist batshit stuff ever is disgraceful.
So. In between all of the social media posts about Margulies Big Podcast Adventure, I saw a reel from nonbinary model/activist Rain Dove that I wanted to share here because I think this story is better than anything else I could say about Julianna Margulies.
After being inundated with DMs from followers telling Rain Dove, who’d been working to funnel money towards various humanitarian causes in the region, that they’d be killed if they set foot in Palestine, Dove assembled a team of locals and others and went to Palestine to distribute cash and physical aid to Gazan Palestinians in need. Dove survived, they felt welcome, they met and worked with loads of other LGBTQ+ people, they were shocked by the horrifying conditions in the region. “This propaganda that LGBTQ+ people must not call for humanitarian aid or rights for Palestinian people simply because of conservative values is unethical and wrong,” wrote Dove upon their return. “Every human — EVERY HUMAN deserves the right to food shelter water physical safety and freedom of movement. And I mean EVERY. So don’t get it twisted.”