I don’t know if there’s a more darkly comic headline than “‘Stranger Things’ star Noah Schnapp opens up after ‘Zionism is sexy’ controversy.”

In a story that sounds cribbed from a Howard Jacobson novel, one of the young stars (Schnapp is 19) of the hit Netflix series found himself in hot water when a video surfaced of him hanging out with friends who were holding stickers that said, “Zionism is sexy.” A punching-up pop singer successfully garnered herself some attention on Twitter by responding to the video with a psychotic anti-Semitic rant, which was promptly shared far and wide by actor John Cusack.

There were calls for firing Schnapp from the series for the “offense” of not only brazenly being Jewish in public but of smiling about it.

In the same video, Schnapp’s pals compared Hamas to ISIS. In the wake of Oct. 7, Schnapp held the controversial opinion that mass rape and child murder are bad. This was very hard for the screeching banshees of social media to handle, for a very simple reason: Anti-Semitism is no longer bigotry but instead a preexisting condition that automatically puts the sufferer in a protected class.

The equating of Zionism and racism (or the newer version, that Zionism is colonialism) is meant to disqualify it from polite society because people believe they need to be protected from the very concept. This was Schnapp’s transgression: he shamelessly hung out with some Zionists, showing no concern for the pain that anti-Zionists would experience at merely seeing the word.

In any event, Schnapp finally, as one entertainment account incredibly phrased it, “addresse[d] his support for Israel” in a video that the showrunners or perhaps his agent decided was necessary. “I feel like my thoughts and beliefs have been so far misconstrued from anything even close to what I believe, and I wanted to just state from my heart how I feel. I only want peace and safety and security for all innocent people affected by this conflict,” Schnapp said. He added: “I think anyone with any ounce of humanity would hope for an end to the hostility on both sides. I stand against any killing of any innocent people and I hope you guys all do, too. And I just hope to one day see those two groups be able to live harmoniously together in that region. And I hope for 2024 online to see people be a little more understanding and compassionate and recognize that we’re all human, regardless of our race, of our ethnicity, of our background, of our country of birth, even our sexuality, of anything. We are all human and we’re all the same and we should all love each other for that and support each other and stand together. And stand together for humanity and for peace.”

The 19-year-old is young, he didn’t mean to offend anyone by being Jewish. We all remember those wild late-teenage years when we said all sorts of crazy things, like “terrorism is bad” and “water is wet.” The important thing is that we’ve all learned from this and grown as human beings. Hopefully we can put this ugly episode behind us and continue to make wholesome ’80s-themed sci-fi without incident.

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