Oscar-nominated photographer Nan Goldin says war in Gaza is ‘so shameful’ as a Jewish person

Oscar-nominated photographer Nan Goldin has said that she feels “shameful, as a Jewish person” watching the crisis unfold in Gaza.

The 70-year-old artist is renowned for her gritty work on previously undocumented subcultures including the LGBT community, the HIV/AIDS crisis and the opioid epidemic.

Last month, the activist addressed the war on Gaza and attacked alleged media censorship of Israel’s military action in the strip, in her acceptance speech for a lifetime achievement award at the Centre for Photography in Woodstock, New York.

In a new interview with The Guardian, Goldin expanded on the comments as she described an era of “chilling times”.

“It is so shameful, as a Jewish person,” she said. “I was brought up believing that Jewish people, like me, were exceptional in our kindness and humanity. The genocide in Gaza has affected me so very deeply.”

Last month the Israeli government were taken to the International Court of Justice by South Africa, and in an interim ruling the court judged there was a “plausible” case for genocide taking place. The Israeli government has vehemently denied the claims and its supporters have called the charges anti-semitic.

Goldin, who grew up in a Jewish neighbourhood with parents who were Orthodox Jews, said that she sees no conflict in her support for Palestine and her Jewish identity, and claimed that “Gaza will soon just be a golf course”.

Nan Goldin attending a protest against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, as seen in ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed' (Neon)
Nan Goldin attending a protest against Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, as seen in ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed' (Neon)

“These are chilling times of McCarthyism and such effective propaganda by the western media,” she said referring to the strategy of political repression of left-wing dissidents.

“There is a whole generation of traumatised people in Palestine,” she added. “And of course they are being radicalised by what is happening.”

It comes weeks after Jewish director Jonathan Glazer was labelled anti-semitic by critics for his Oscars acceptance speech in which he condemned military action against Palestinians in the strip.

The director of Holocaust film The Zone of Interest accepted the Academy Award for Best International Film as he warned: “Our film shows where dehumanisation leads at its worst.”

The speech was in turn celebrated and denounced by his Jewish peers in the industry. Hundreds including Joker star Joaquin Phoenix and Harry Potter actor Miriam Margolyes signed a open letter supporting Glazer after he was attacked for his words.