“The Wolf of Wall Street” — the Movie

Edmund Connelly, Ph. D.


As we recently saw with my review of Jordan Belfort’s bestseller The Wolf of Wall Street, there are many pronounced Jewish themes in the memoir. Frankly, I’d never noticed the book, but this year I did get the DVD of the film based on the book, and that alerted me.

Begin with this howler: As the diminutive Jewish stock fraudster Jordan Belfort, director Martin Scorsese chose none other than six-foot-tall, (sometimes) blond-haired Leonardo DiCaprio. This has to go down as one of the most egregious miscastings in Hollywood history.

Why did it happen?

I will argue that this is a classic case of Hollywood deceiving the public, and I have plenty of evidence for this.

In the film, at exactly five minutes into the story — just after DiCaprio’s character has snorted cocaine with a hundred dollar bill and done a little trick by making us think “this shit” (cocaine) will make you invincible, when it fact he means the money he is using as a straw — he launches into a speech as he enters his busy trading floor:

See, money doesn’t just buy you a better life — better food, better cars, better pussy — it also makes you a better person. You can give generously to the church, or political party of your choice. Save the fuckin’ spotted owl with money.  [emphasis added]

“To the church.” In his memoir from which the film springs, Belfort is refreshingly forthright that he is Jewish — and that all but one close associate is Jewish — as are the majority of his traders. Now in the film — which “happened” to open on Christmas Day 2013 — we are informed that rich people like DiCaprio’s Belfort can give “to the church,” not synagogue or ADL or Jewish think tank. It is this kind of subtle deception that would, in my view, prevent the vast, vast majority of Gentile viewers from understanding that these financial criminals are Jewish.

Funny, too, how so many anti-White films seem to open on Christmas. A few years back we had Tom Cruise in Valkyrie, where Wikipedia tells us that “after a positive test screening, Valkyrie ’ s release in North America was ultimately changed to December 25, 2008.” Then came Quentin Tarantino’s relentlessly anti-White Django Unchained, which was released on December 25, 2012 in North America.

Wolf is one of Scorcese’s longest movies — subtracting the time for credits, two hours and fifty-two minutes of screen time, which allows for a lot of time to convey information. Yet in all of that time, Jewish identity is almost completely absent, beginning, of course, with the glaringly goy identity of the star of the film.

I watched this film very carefully looking for scenes of Jewishness. Yet what I found was either incidental or likely only meaningful to insiders. For example, Nathan Abrams writing in Haaretz admits that even though Belfort’s “ethnicity and religion” were “played down, even if downright whitewashed by having DiCaprio play him,” Belfort is nonetheless surrounded “by an entourage of explicitly Jewish friends.”

Andy Nowicki agreed that at least one character, Belfort’s right-hand-man “Donnie Azoff,” is “garishly Jewish,” so much so that he’s “veritable Anti-Defamation League bait.”

Well, I didn’t see that at all. If one never read the book and didn’t know Donnie was meant to be Danny Porush, what clues would suggest to your average American that Donnie is Jewish? It’s simply not there.

Does it matter that the actor playing Donnie is Jonah Hill? That Hill was born Jonah Hill Feldstein is interesting but translates into little in this case. After all, how many viewers considered Hill’s youthful character in Moneyball Jewish?

Nor is Jewish identity “garishly” visible with the other characters. When Belfort’s firm is first operating out of a car garage, for instance, we are introduced to the team, two of whom are blond, and only in passing do we hear that one is named Robbie Feinberg. Like the other characters, however, his generic first name is used throughout the film.

Another minor instance comes early in the film when Belfort outlines his plans: “Gentleman, welcome to Stratton Oakmont. You schnooks will now be targeting the wealthiest one percent of Americans. I’m talking about whales here. Moby fucking Dicks. And with this script, which is now your new harpoon.”

Okay, “schnook” is Yiddish.

Far later in the movie, someone makes an anonymous phone call to the federal agent who is after Belfort, Patrick Denham, and announces that Belfort has reneged on a promise. “Mazel tov, you Irishman,” he says. But in New York City, where all manner of different races and ethnicities use each others’ vocabularies, “schnook” and “mazel tov” hardly signify anything.

And because DiCaprio plays Belfort, the entire “shiksa goddess” theme is moot, even if we can assume that American audiences are aware of the theme to begin with. Also, you might want to make something of the fact that Jewish shoe designer Steve Madden is played by Dustin Hoffman’s son Jake. You can try, but I doubt anyone will buy it.

One point that I did miss, however, concerns a shady associate of Belfort’s, Brad Bodnick in the movie. He is shown wearing a “chai” pendant, but throughout the movie he looks and acts far more like a stereotypical Hispanic gang-banger than a Jewish New Yorker. Brad does throw in one small hint, however. When Donnie demands that Brad come pick up Donnie’s millions, Brad is insulted and says “I’m not fuckin’ schvartze.” How many caught that one?

I’ve immersed myself in Jewish studies for over two decades yet still I learned something new about Jewish symbols, so I doubt many non-Jewish Americans outside New York City or maybe Miami caught the significance of Brad’s necklace. Jewish viewers likely noticed, but probably few non-Jews did.

One more example that will surely crop up concerns Belfort’s father Max — and the character who plays him, Rob Reiner. In this case, it again comes down to insider/outsider interpretations. Those who know that Reiner is himself Jewish and know that the real Belfort is Jewish will get it. Others, probably not. Back in the early ‘70s, did American viewers see All In the Family character Michael “Meathead” Stivic as Jewish? Same actor.

Insiders, of course, will read Max Belfort as Jewish, no doubt. To be sure, when Max berates his son for cheating on his wife with hookers, the conversation turns to shaved pubic hair on these girls. Casually, the father allows that “the bush” never bothered him. I suspect this kind of father-son exchange is far less common among non-Jews than Jews. Still, it is not a very powerful signifier of Jewishness.

So in nearly three hours of a film about a very Jewish story, what I’ve described is all we have about Jewish identity. No wonder the Wiki article on the film never even mentions “Jew” or “Jewish.” Jewish identity is invisible.

Next, we need to explore possible reasons for this invisibility. Commenting on my review of the book, pundit and race realist Steve Sailer wrote:

I would suggest that one reason for why the movie downplays the Jewish-centric aspect of the book is that Martin Scorsese these days is in the business of making movies starring Leonardo DiCaprio, even more than he used to be in the business of making Robert DeNiro movies. Scorsese could cast DeNiro as Jewish in Casino and it sort of worked, but DiCaprio is quite northern European looking (DiCaprio told Vladimir Putin he was half Russian). So, Scorsese’s movies have strayed from his Italian-American strong suit to accommodate DiCaprio’s looks.

Sorry, not buying that either. For too long, Hollywood has cloaked the powerful role of Jews in the financial life of America. In Oliver Stone’s 1987 Wall Street, for example, where are the explicitly Jewish characters? That era was famous for the rise of Jewish financiers on both sides of legality (recounted in the film Other People’s Money which will be the topic of my next article; like The Wolf of Wall Street, it was laundered of its Jewish characters despite being based on a work which was much more forthright about Jewish identities). Leave it to Philip Weiss to expound upon this, referring to the PBS News Hour piece The Lucky Sperm Club, the subtitle of which is “Jews, M&A [Mergers-and-Acquisitions] and the Unlocking of Corporate America.”

The story revolved around a book by John Weir Close, in which he wrote that in the late 20th century, M&A was driven by two Jews, Marty Lipton and Joe Flom, who had simultaneous epiphanies about how to take advantage of new government regulation — in other words, how to turn the rules into an instruction manual for transforming the buying and selling of companies into a profession in itself. But rather than seek to buy, sell or keep companies themselves, they became the Sherpas, interpreting regulatory maps and making up new law as they went along.

As recently as the 1970s, Jews and all others not of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant ascendancy were still excluded from any position of real power at the bar, on the bench, at banks and in boardrooms. [Of course, these claims are preposterously untrue.] America was still an agglomeration of ghettos: Italians knew Italians, Jews knew Jews, Poles knew Poles, Irish knew Irish, WASPs barely knew any of them existed and the Cabots spoke only to God.

“When I came to New York in the ’70s, the WASP aristocracy still reigned,” the Lucky Sperm Club’s Shapiro recalls. “You didn’t see an Asian face above Canal Street. You didn’t see a black face in a law firm unless it was the mailroom. You certainly didn’t see an Hispanic face. Swarthy Italians and Jews? They were not people you dealt with.”

Yet again, as happened so often in their history, the Jews somehow found their own methods to carry them past such barriers, and once those blockades were destroyed, other demographics followed.

But it was primarily Jews who first became expert in taking over companies against the will of their existing executives. The white-shoe law firms and elite investment banks found this simultaneously distasteful and tantalizing in the same way medieval merchants viewed the lending of money at interest. Both groups were discouraged from joining in one of the most profitable enterprises of their day: the old merchants by, among other things, an ecclesiastical ban on the practice of usury; the new lawyers, by the establishment’s social codes of behavior. Again, the Jews found themselves in control of an industry that then perpetuated the stereotype: the omnipotent, venal Machiavellian, hands sullied by the unsavory. But the business of takeovers paid the rent. And then some . . .

I’ve written so much about this (see here and here), especially Jewish involvement in financial frauds. But what did Stone give us in Wall Street? A whitewashed version of reality. Wiki admits as much about the film: “Weiser wrote the first draft, initially called Greed, with Stone writing another draft. Originally, the lead character was a young Jewish broker named Freddie Goldsmith, but Stone changed it to Bud Fox to avoid the stereotype that Wall Street was controlled by Jews.”

Given the chance to make up for his omissions, Stone in the 2010 sequel did no better. Of course, I can’t really blame Stone because he lives under a regime whose rules about revealing such truths are non-negotiable, as he learned from the remarks he made to a newspaper about the Holocaust. Reportedly, he said that we hear so much about the Holocaust because of “Jewish domination of the media. . . . They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f—– up United States foreign policy for years.” Naturally, Stone soon apologized to the ADL for this “misstatement”: “In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret.  Jews obviously do not control media or any other industry.”

But of course they do.

That is why we don’t see a film with Wall Street in the title that has Jewish identity front and center. Actually we see barely anything.  Consider the remake of The Taking of Pelham 123. In this 2009 film, we see John Travolta as a Wall Street mastermind who first committed massive fraud, then went insane.

In this version, Travolta’s character is a New York ethnic Catholic very interested in guilt. He was also a high-rolling Wall Streeter who skimmed millions of dollars until he was caught and sent to prison. Upon his release, he concocts a scheme to make a killing on stocks when he induces panic in the city with a subway hijacking. Now go back and read James Stewart’s excellent account of the savings and loan swindles of the Reagan ‘80s, Den of Thieves. The thieves were ethnic New Yorkers alright, but they sure weren’t Catholic. Clearly, this deceit is part of a concerted media effort to blame others for Jewish (mega) misdeeds.

Not two years later, Hollywood served up another deception sandwich. I wrote about this in “How They Lie to Us: The Film Margin Call.”

J.C. Chandor’s 2011 film Margin Call tells a story that loosely mirrors the fall of Wall Street giant Lehman Brothers [well known as a Jewish-run investment bank]. Even for Hollywood, however, the deception in this movie is staggering, and it occurs on many levels. It terrifies me to think that the masses will swallow this tale, particularly the images that will have such a powerful subliminal impact.

Now picture this: The Margin Call premise is that a group of WASPs and a Catholic or two run a leading investment bank on Wall Street. Things turn sour, however, and the firm is looking at bankruptcy unless they can pull off a miracle. . . .

In Margin Call, these facts are everywhere hidden, beginning with the head of the trading floor, Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey). Spacey looks, acts and talks exactly like the middle-class White man he played in American Beauty. In Margin Call there is not even an attempt to give him a Brooklyn accent or exaggerated mannerisms.

Further, out on the trading floor we see two young traders, Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) and Seth Bregman (Penn Badgley). At least these young men have dark hair.

In contrast, trading desk head Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) is dirty blond with blue eyes.

More amazing still, we find that Sam Rogers, boss has a Jewish name (Jared Cohen) but is played by blond, blue-eyed actor Simon Baker.

Most egregiously, however, is the fact that the part of Lehman Bros. CEO is played by none other than the arch-British-Aryan actor Jeremy Irons.

That the 2013 Wolf of Wall Street similarly hides Jewish identity is no surprise, then. After all, it is a necessary part of the larger operation of making sure that non-Jews never think negative thoughts about Jews. You know where that can lead.

Let me give you just one more example, but this time from the magazine world. Israel-born Hanna Rosin wrote the cover story for the December 2009 Atlantic Monthly. Coming a year after mind-boggling economic swindles and bailouts that used up a significant portion of the universe’s zeroes, who gets blamed? Christians. Now that’s why Jews are so often credited with chutzpah.

Also, in a first-rate story by Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi, “The Great American Bubble Machine,” we find these immortal words:

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

I just didn’t get the impression he was appealing to a stereotype about Christians. I did an article on the Jewish nature of massive financial swindles over the years in “Take the Money and Run”. But it’s the job of Israeli Rosin — as well as those wishing to thrive and survive in Hollywood — to keep eyes off the actual perpetrators.

And that is why Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jason Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street.

 

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