• Category: Around The Web
  • Written by Rick Ellis

15 Questions with Jason Alexander

The Harvard Crimson recently asked actor Jason Alexander 15 questions and while several of them involve "Seinfeld," they also cover a fascinating range of topics:

13. FM: You’ve also been a prominent public supporter of the OneVoice initiative, which is a nonprofit organization that aims for mutual conflict resolution between Israelis and Palestinians. What prompted you to get so involved? What do you feel is your obligation to the cause?

JA: Just to narrow the definition of OneVoice, it came into existence in the early 90s and was created by an Arab-Israeli and a gentleman who was not Israeli but had done a lot of work in Israel. They realized through their business connections that despite the impression the world had about that conflict, that the vast majority of people in both Palestine and Israel were moderates. They sucked me in because I have been to that part of the world often. I’m intrigued and deeply affected by the people there, on both sides. My commitment has been ongoing, but it’s tough.... I think the extremes on both sides have done a very effective job of silencing organizations like OneVoice. I’m unfortunately a little disheartened by what’s going on there now.

14. FM: Given that art is often seen as a form of communication and humor a way of reconciliation, have you ever thought to use your art as a means to address such conflict as the Israeli-Palestinian one?

MJB: When I was last there, I had a wonderful meeting with the President of Israel Shimon Peres, and he basically said the same thing. He said, “Why don’t we use comedy as a tool here?” And I know he was looking for a funny answer. I said, “The problem, Mr. President, is that it’s called a sense of humor, not a science. There’s only this vague sense that this might be amusing to somebody, and that is too dangerous of a scenario in this situation.” Comedy in and of itself in every situation is offensive to somebody if they want to be offended. If it’s a blonde joke and you’re blonde, you could be offended. Whatever it is, somebody’s eccentricity or a generality is being tweaked for comedic effect.