Shalom Life | April 18, 2014

Richard Belzer in Trouble with ADL Over Hitler Salute

The ‘Law & Order’ actor apparently has a different sense of humor than the Anti-Defamation League

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: June 13th, 2012 in Culture » Society » News

Richard Belzer in Trouble with ADL Over Hitler Salute

‘Law & Order’ actor, Richard Belzer, has found himself in a sticky situation after what he considered an innocent joke at a TV festival in Monte Carlo on Tuesday.

The actor/comedian gave a Nazi salute to the crowd, claiming that he was simply paying homage to Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’, a film in which the great silent performer spoofed Adolf Hitler.

Belzer considers himself a “Jewish comedian” and insists the salute was not delivered in a “negative” way. He has no intentions of apologizing for his actions, and claims his Jewish heritage gives him the right to make such jokes.

“To say that a Jew can’t do that gesture as homage to Chaplin’s masterpiece, ‘The Great Dictator,’ is like Muslim extremists killing a cartoonist for disparaging Mohammed in his art,” Belzer said in a statement released to TMZ.

Belzer added that his “grandfather represented Israel in the UN before it was made a nation” and “there’s this new thing out, it’s called satire, irony, and historical reference.”

However, the Anti-Defamation League did not find the joke funny or innocent.

“Regardless of his explanation for his behavior, Richard Belzer’s imitation of Hitler was still inappropriate and offensive," says Abe Foxman, Director of the ADL.

"It’s not the least bit funny, but there’s no law against it. Someone who is Jewish should know better and not disregard Jewish pain and tragedy just for the sake of a joke,” Foxman continues.

This is not the first time Belzer has publically made this gesture. During a 2009 live Fox News broadcast, he raised his hand in an attempt to join the conversation. When he was ignored, he performed the salute on-air.

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