Rollercoaster relationship between Zionism, Tinsel Town on upswing

Rollercoaster relationship between Zionism, Tinsel Town on upswing

At the Golden Globe Awards in January, producer Howard Gordon stepped up to the stage to accept the award for Best Television Series — Drama for co-creating the breakout Showtime hit “Homeland.” In a single season, the show has become a sensation, edging the pay-cable channel closer to its rival HBO in number of subscribers and garnering profuse media attention and acclaim.

Gordon has much to be grateful for. At the Globes, he thanked his cast, his agent and a handful of television executives — but absent from his speech was any mention of the show’s secret shining star, the incubator of its concept, and its original homeland: Israel.

“When I walked offstage,” Gordon said in an interview after the event, “I said to Gidi Raff,” — the Israeli creator of “Hatufim,” upon which “Homeland” is based — “ ‘Did I remember to say thank you to…? In my head, it was: ‘Thank you to [my agent] Rick Rosen for bringing us this show from Israel.’ And he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Are you sure?’ ” Two weeks later, Gordon, a consistent Israel supporter, was remorseful. “Honestly, it was one of those moments where you go up there and you see Morgan Freeman yawning and the red light is flashing saying, ‘Wrap up,’ and you’re in shock.”

The omission was a missed opportunity for the Globes’ nearly 17 million viewers to hear that the “Homeland” win was also a big moment for Israel: Three years after another Israeli-inspired show, HBO’s “In Treatment,” was up for the same honor, “Homeland” became the first Israeli format to win the Globes’ top TV award. But perhaps it will inspire a growing cadre of pro-Israel Hollywood movers and shakers to spread the word. Because with the success of such shows as “Homeland” and “In Treatment,” and the potential of many others currently in development, the industry has begun to see Israel as a great new resource, a fact of which very few Americans are aware. As director Jon Turteltaub put it, “You, me and 11 other people know.” 

(This story appears in the Chronicle with the permission of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. Read the rest of the story at

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