Academy Award-winning actor-producer Michael Douglas is speaking out against a surge in anti-Semitism, revealing in an editorial that one of his sons has been a target of verbal abuse.
"Last summer our family went to Southern Europe on holiday," Douglas, 70, wrote during the weekend in a Los Angeles Times op-ed. "During our stay at a hotel, our son Dylan went to the swimming pool. A short time later he came running back to the room, upset. A man at the pool had started hurling insults at him."
After ascertaining that Dylan, now 14, was not misbehaving, Douglas wrote, "I stared at him. And suddenly I had an awful realization of what might have caused the man's outrage: Dylan was wearing a Star of David. After calming him down, I went to the pool and asked the attendants to point out the man who had yelled at him. We talked. It was not a pleasant discussion. Afterward, I sat down with my son and said: 'Dylan, you just had your first taste of anti-Semitism.' "
Douglas -- whose film-star father Kirk Douglas is Jewish but whose mother, actress Diana Dill, is not -- wrote that while he had had no formal religious upbringing, he did develop "a deep connection to Judaism" when Dylan "started going to Hebrew school and studying for his bar mitzvah. . . . "
Douglas wrote: "In a time when income disparity is growing, when hundreds of millions of people live in abject poverty, some find Jews to be a convenient scapegoat rather than looking at the real source of their problems." He urged that "we confront anti-Semitism whenever we see it," adding, "if we combat it individually and as a society, and use whatever platform we have to denounce it, we can stop the spread of this madness."
Dylan's mother is Douglas' second wife, Oscar-winning actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, 45.