Simon Wiesenthal Center Honors Lionsgate's Jon Feltheimer as Donald Trump Comes Under Fire

SWC founder/dean Rabbi Marvin Hier, speaking at the organization's National Tribute Dinner, also revealed that the next releases of the center's in-house documentary film division will examine the lives of Israeli leaders David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres.
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Jon Feltheimer

"When a gunman murders nine people in a black church in South Carolina, when synagogues are desecrated in Europe and mosques are vandalized right here in Southern California, when laws discriminating against the LGBT community are passed in several of our states, when anyone is attacked because of their race, religion or gender, we are all under attack," Jon Feltheimer, Lionsgate's CEO, said as he accepted the Simon Wiesenthal Center Humanitarian Award at the organization's National Tribute Dinner at the Beverly Hilton on Monday night. He added, "I'm especially proud to be part of an industry that responded with one voice to those recent attempts to enact discriminatory legislation. It's already working."

Feltheimer was the most prominent honoree but not the only one at this year's event, which is perhaps the premier annual gathering of Los Angeles' Jewry. The other honorees — who received Medals of Valor and standing ovations in front of an audience that included industry power players such as Jeffrey Katzenberg, Ron Meyer, Ted Sarandos and Les Moonves (all SWC trustees), as well as several Holocaust survivors — were a priest, Norbert J. Hofmann, secretary of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews; an imam, Hassen Chalghoumi, on whom a fatwa has been placed because he condemns Islamic extremism in his native France; and a long-dead movie mogul, Carl Laemmle, the founder of Universal, who saved hundreds of Jews from the Nazis by arranging for their safe travel to America.

At the dinner, which raises funds for both the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its sister organization the Museum of Tolerance, both located in West L.A. and founded and overseen by Rabbi Marvin Hier, several speakers made reference to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, seen as the embodiment of intolerance.

"Tonight we put politics aside," comedian Craig Ferguson said during his introduction of Feltheimer, "except let's all agree that Trump is a maniac. Really, what is going on?!" He added, "Do you think he experiences self-doubt? Like, ever? It's a human condition! Does he ever wake up at like four o'clock in the morning and think, like, 'Maybe I'm a dick?' Does he ever think that? Like, if all the Republicans are calling you a dick, and all the Democrats are calling you a dick, people all over the world are coming together and calling you a dick like it's Calling You a Dick Live Aid or something — [sings] 'You are a dick, you are a dick' — anyway, I digress."

Feltheimer later added that tolerance is something "some of our presidential candidates" should learn.

Hier, who has twice won the best documentary Oscar for producing Holocaust documentaries, also revealed new information about the next two releases of Moriah Films, SWC's in-house documentary division led by fellow Oscar winner Richard Trank. Hier announced that a new doc on the life of Israel's founding prime minister David Ben-Gurion will be released around the time of the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem (in 2017) and the 70th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel (in 2018) — and that former Israeli president Shimon Peres, after being interviewed for it, requested that he be the subject of Moriah's next documentary, which is now planned.

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