Sep 15, 2010

#BDS: Artists Fight Over Israel Boycott

Big-time Hollywood Jews sent a strong message last year to artists protesting Israel: Don't mess with Tel Aviv.

What's the buzz these days following the release of a sequel of sorts aimed at the West Bank Israeli settlement of Ariel?

The fight in September 2009 was over the decision of the Toronto International Film Festival to spotlight Tel Aviv. More than 1,000 prominent filmmakers, actors and academics -- including Jane Fonda, Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Julie Christie and Alice Walker -- signed on to statement asserting that by showcasing movies from Tel Aviv, the festival, "whether intentionally or not, has become complicit in the Israeli propaganda machine."

In response, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles put together a counter statement criticizing the protest and defending the film festival's focus on Tel Aviv. The pro-Israel statement was signed by a smaller but more prominent list of celebrities, including Jerry Seinfeld, Natalie Portman, Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisa Kudrow, Jason Alexander and Lenny Kravitz.

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