Skip to main content

Seth Rogen says he was fed lies about the creation of Israel. Social media is divided

Rogen was previously among a host of celebrities to sign a statement publicly supporting Israel during its 2014 offensive in Gaza
Seth Rogen was promoting his new film An American Pickle, in which he plays a 1920s Jewish immigrant who time-travels to modern-day Brooklyn (AFP/File photo)

Canadian actor Seth Rogen has sparked controversy after saying that he was fed lies about the creation of the state of Israel.

In an interview on the popular WTF with Marc Maron podcast, Rogen said: “As a Jewish person, I was fed a huge amount of lies about Israel my entire life, you know. They never tell you that, oh by the way, there were people there. They make it seem like it was just sitting there, like the fucking door’s open!”

Rogen was discussing his new role in An American Pickle, in which he plays a 1920s Jewish immigrant to the United States who falls into a pickle vat and wakes up 100 years later in modern day Brooklyn. 

When asked whether he would move to Israel, Rogen replied that he would not, and that he disagreed with Jews moving there for religious reasons.

“If it is truly for the preservation of Jewish people, it makes no sense, because again, you don’t keep something you’re trying to preserve all in one place, especially when that place has proven to be pretty volatile,” he said.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


“I’m trying to keep all these things safe, I’m going to put them in my blender and hope that that’s the best place. That will do it,” Rogen joked sarcastically. 

Many activists and social media users were pleased with Rogen’s stance. 

Among those in support were several Jewish users, some of whom also felt they were “taught a lot of lies about Israel”.

Others welcomed Rogen’s comments, but were critical of him for not mentioning the word “Palestinians”.

However, not everyone agreed with the 38-year-old actor’s remarks. 

Some accused him of being "ignorant", while others questioned what his comments meant for those living in Israel.

Several Twitter users pointed out that Rogen was among a host of celebrities, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, who signed a statement publicly supporting Israel during the 2014 war in Gaza. 

Some 2,251 Palestinians, including 1,462 civilians, were killed during the war, while 67 soldiers and six civilians were killed on the Israeli side. The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced last year that it would investigate Israel for alleged war crimes during the 51-day war. 

Unlike Rogen, actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz signed a letter condemning Israel’s actions at the time as tantamount to genocide - but reportedly faced a backlash from Hollywood executives for doing so.

Despite Rogen’s previous support of Israel, many were still prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.