Calling all gladiators! Josh Malina, who plays United States Attorney General David Rosen on ABC's megahit "Scandal", will be the guest speaker at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia's Main Event on November 2. Malina took a break from filming episode 8 of Scandal (episode 6 aired last night) to talk to me.
He will talk about growing up Jewish with a focus on his support of Israel. The former Yeshiva student says he draws inspiration for his role as attorney general from the Torah's admonition to pursue justice. Although his character on "Scandal" routinely blackmails others to get what he wants, he insists that David Rosen is the most moral of the show's cast.
Malina, who was also in the cast of "The West Wing," is one of the few in Hollywood that is outspoken in their support for Israel. He has been flying around the country speaking to similar Jewish groups because he has grown frustrated with the "overwhelming intellectual dishonesty" surrounding the debate about Israel.
"I am tired of the blind, monolithic, black and white arguments that both sides have put forth. We need a little gray," he said. "Israel is not beyond reproach, but I want Israel's critics to also cast a corresponding critical eye at Hamas."
With his higher public profile due to the popularity of "Scandal", Malina hopes to be a voice for "substantive discussion" on Israel. A recent tweet of his shows how he tries to inject facts into the hysterical hyperbole surrounding the Middle East.
Ismail Haniyeh sends his daughter 2 Israel 4 medical care, then celebrates the murder of a baby in Jerusalem. And the world averts its gaze.
— Scarynameshua Malina (@JoshMalina) October 23, 2014
Malina explains his tweet, "The Hamas leader has no problem with Israel when his daughter needs medical care, but then celebrates when an Israeli baby is murdered. That's not right."
He is quick to pounce when he sees hypocrisy. He denounced stars Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz for signing a letter this summer that compared Israel's actions in Gaza to genocide.
"Hamas was not mentioned once in the entire letter," said Malina. "Not once."
Malina was one of the 200 members of the Hollywood community that signed a letter written by the Creative Community for Peace this summer that condemned Hamas. He also recruited fellow "Scandal" star Tony Goldwyn to co-sign.
"It was important to me that the letter acknowledged the loss of life both in Israel and Gaza. But it also told the truth about Hamas. The charter of Hamas calls for the death of all Jews."
He stressed repeatedly during the interview that Israel is not perfect. He would like to see Israel working towards a two state solution and an improved status for the Arabs in the country. He acknowledged current Prime Minister Netanyahu has done little to advance this agenda.
The audience should expect fireworks from the actor that describes his acting niche "faux DC". After all, he spent his career bringing to life the words of Hollywood's most brilliant writers, Aaron Sorkin and Shonda Rimes.