Embracing your nation's enemy used to be treason, but among Hollywood elites, it is good P.R.
Jane Fonda was pictured on the tank of the Viet Cong. Sean Penn cozies up to Hugo Chavez while Gisele Bundchen and Johnny Depp sport Che Guevara fashion. Sonja Henie, a Norwegian-born Hollywood star, loved Hitler. Lincoln Steffens, the progressive journalist, visited Stalin's Russia, boasting "I have seen the future, and it works." It didn't work, and Steffens, to his credit, later denounced.
Such introspection seems unlike nowadays, though. Backing Iran seems to be Sean Stone's bailiwick. The controversial director's son converted to Shia Islam in Iran on Valentine's Day and met with members of the dictatorship, including its dictator, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and spoke about it with Bill O'Reilly last night.
The Hollywood Reporter typed up a transcript:
“Why should it influence Israeli policy in regards to the Palestinians, in regards to the Middle East? That’s always been his point on that matter,” Stone says. “There’s no room for Holocaust denial, of course, I would never agree with that. But I just think that it’s simplistic to say that he’s a fanatic.”
O’Reilly asks: “You okay with Iran having a nuclear weapon?”
“I am, because it’s a Republic and there are factions. And it’s very much like this country. There’s a lot of unrest.”
Logic would suggest that "unrest" is a big enough reason not to let Iran get the bomb. After all, we worry about Pakistan having the bomb, but we seldom worry about France or Britain's nuclear capabilities. Why? Because not all governments are created equal. Iran isn't a "republic" because a republic depends on the consent of the governed, a consent that Iran forfeited when it gunned down its citizens peacefully assembling in protest in 2009.
That not all governments are equal seems to be what Stone and much of Hollywood fails to understand. The character of a regime matters, and Iran's regime has awful character. It hangs homosexuals; it stones women who commit adultery. Stone, who now calls himself a "Jewish Christian Muslim" (whatever that is), doesn't understand that it is criminal to proselytize Christianity in Iran. Stone claims that Islam is not a religion of violence and that it is tolerant and that he came to those views based upon his reading of the Koran (he must have missed those passages calling for Jews to be killed). And how will the new Muslim Stone deal with his father, Oliver Stone, allegedly a practicing Buddhist? The Koran is quite clear with how to deal with people not of the Book: kill or enslave them.
Before he was finished saying "There is no God, but God," he's now claiming to be a victim, according The New York Post:
I didn’t realize I would be so vilified. It is almost like I am a criminal for having accepted Islam. I didn’t realize Islamophobia was that deep. People have speculated that I have done this because I am from a spoiled family or that I am lost and trying to find myself. That is ridiculous.
I don’t care if I get criticized. If I can open up a debate about religion and create some understanding, then it is worth it.
But Iran isn't interested in having that debate. That debate can only take place in a country that recognizes religious pluralism, and the only countries interested in religious pluralism, by and large, are Western, Judeo-Christian ones. Not even the post-Christian societies allow discussion of religion. Witness the persecution of Mark Steyn in Canada for daring to criticize Islam.
But now Stone, like so many Muslims who have been politicized through the Council on American-Islamic Relations, seems to believe that he is being persecuted by the Jews of Hollywood. Stone continued with The New York Post:
I’ve already experienced the reverse of anti-Semitism, having people within the film industry express a reluctance to work with me now that I have said a simple prayer, "There is no God but God, and Mohammed is his messenger." I am sure I have [bleeped] off some powerful people.
That this was said in Barrio 47, a trendy West Village New York restaurant famous for its cocktails, compounds the silliness of his conversion. In Iran, it is a crime to possess alcohol, much less enjoy it in one of New York's hip new restaurants.
Moreover Stone's belief that he is encountering the "reverse of anti-Semitism," whatever that is. It's a confusing idea from a confused young man.
But if Stone really wants to tick off some powerful people--which is what this supposedly about--he would do well to follow the leadership of Salman Rushdie, who dared to criticize the Prophet. But then, criticizing the Prophet might get him a death sentence and might not be so profitable for a young man whose career has been, by and large, trading in on the success of his father.