Aug 4, 2010

Ayelet Zurer on life in Hollywood

Successful Israeli actress talks about being 41 in an industry obsessed with youth, her 'wild life' during her 20s and working with Tom Hanks

While there are numerous other Israeli beauties representing the country overseas, none of them even approaches Ayelet Zurer's league. After 15 years of playing the beautiful girl and breaking our hearts in various local productions, the actress decided it was finally time to tackle Hollywood and moved to Los Angeles with her family.

Dylan sheet music site boycotts Israeli web users

Operator of website that distributes tabs, lyrics to Bob Dylan songs decides to impose private cultural boycott on Jewish state by blocking Israeli users from site

Israeli web users accustomed to surfing the site dylanchords for tabs and lyrics to Bob Dylan songs have recently been blocked from the IP address as the site operator has imposed his own cultural boycott on Israel after the flotilla raid at the beginning of last week

فنان تونسي يغني ويهتف بحياة نتنياهو

انتشر أخيراً شريط يظهر مغنياً تونسياً يهتف لرئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي في حفلة خاصة، ما أثار موجة من الانتقادات وردود الفعل العنيفة

«يحيا بيبي (بنيامين) نتنياهو» كانت هذه العبارة كافية لمطالبة أكثر من عشرين ألف تونسي بسحب الجنسية عن الفنان محسن الشريف. في يوم واحد، أنشأ تونسيون أكثر من مجموعة على موقع «فايسبوك» احتجاجاً على هذه العبارة التي أطلقها الفنان التونسي في إحدى حفلاته الخاصة. وظهر شريف في شريط انتشر على الإنترنت، وهو يغنّي، ويهتف بحياة رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي، ورئيس الجمهورية التونسي زين العابدين بن علي، من دون أن يُحدَّد زمان الحفلة ومكانها. وإن كانت بعض التقارير الصحافية التي لم تتأكد قد قالت إنّ الحفلة أقيمت في مدينة إيلات الإسرائيلية.

It's official: Rihanna to perform in Israel

Popular Barbadian R&B artist to conclude her European tour with concert in Jaffa's Bloomfield Stadium on May 30

Following months of negotiations, it's now official: Barbadian R&B artist Rihanna will arrive in Israel for one concert, which will take place on May 30 at the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

The details of the performance are expected to be revealed in a press conference next Wednesday, March 10, including the ticket prices and the singer's itinerary in the Holy Land.

The concert will be sponsored by the Orange cellular company, which will provide its customers with tickets for a reduced price.

No Celebration of Occupation: 1,500 Artists and Writers Sign Letter Protesting Toronto Film Festival Decision to Spotlight Tel Aviv

A protest at the Toronto International Film Festival has taken center stage after a group of artists and writers signed a letter of protest against the festival’s decision to spotlight the city of Tel Aviv. Activists say the TIFF spotlight plays into Israel’s attempt to improve its global image in the wake of the assault on the Gaza Strip and the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land. Over 1,500 people have signed the letter, called "The Toronto Declaration: No Celebration of Occupation," including Jane Fonda, Viggo Mortensen, Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte. We speak with journalist and author Naomi Klein, who helped draft the letter. [includes rush transcript]

Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman Cancel Participation in Israeli Film Festival

Hollywood actors Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman backed out of attending this year’s annual Jerusalem Film Festival, which is set to kick off this coming Thursday, following the international outcry over Israel’s attack on a Turkish-led flotilla that attempted to break the Gaza blockade on May 31, The Jerusalem Post learned Monday.

According to Cinematheque associate director Yigal Molad Hayo, while neither gave the political climate as a direct reason for canceling their participation in the festival, “it became quite clear that this was the reason,” he said.

“Meg Ryan was supposed to come here, it had all been closed with her people,” said Molad Hayo, adding “a day after the flotilla incident we got an email saying she was not going to attend, and although they claimed it was because she was too busy, it was clear to me that it probably had something to do with what had happened.”

Everyone's taking sides on Tel Aviv films

Some artists are angered by the spotlight on Israeli films, which they maintain is part of Israel's attempt to divert attention from the Palestinian conflict. They complain the program excludes Palestinian voices, comes on the heels of a devastating bombardment in Gaza and amid a global publicity campaign by the Israeli government known as "Brand Israel."

TIFF and a spokesman for Israel's consulate in Toronto have flatly denied the allegations.

The critics, backed by the likes of Fonda and Mortensen, called a news conference and demonstration yesterday to voice their displeasure with TIFF. The protest drew about 250 people to Ryerson University.

On the other side of the argument are equally prominent entertainment industry figures, including Seinfeld, Portman, Sacha Baron Cohen and Lisa Kudrow. They are arguing for freedom of speech and have an ad in today's Starexplaining their position (on page A13).

Seinfeld, Sacha Baron Cohen and Natalie Portman slam Toronto Film Festival protest

Jewish actors sign letter in L.A. Times and Toronto Star against protest of festival over homage to Tel Aviv.

WASHINGTON - A number of Hollywood stars circulated a letter Tuesday protesting a petition calling for a protest over the Toronto International Film Festival for its Tel Aviv-themed event.

The letter, which appeared simultaneously in the Los Angeles Times and the Toronto Star was signed, among others, by Jerry Seinfeld, Sacha Baron Cohen, Natalie Portman, Jason Alexander and Lisa Kudrow.

The letter, which was paid for by Jewish organizations in Los Angeles and Toronto, said, "Anyone who has actually seen recent Israeli cinema, movies that are political and personal, comic and tragic, often critical, knows they are in no way a propaganda arm for any government policy."

'It Is Not Awarded By The State Of Israel'

Ever since Amitav Ghosh's name was announced--jointly with Margaret Atwood-- for the Dan David Prize, headquartered at Tel Aviv University, Israel, there have been some protests andcampaigns, asking him to decline the prize, reminding him about his withdrawing The Glass Palace from the Commonwealth Prize competition in 2001. "I am not a person who seeks out controversy," he had told us in 2001, and he underlined the same today when we asked him why a private e-mail of his was doing the rounds of email-lists and some websites instead of a formal public statement from him: he did not wish it to become a big public issue, he said, and offered the following version of the statement:

Atwood to share $1M Israeli prize

Canadian author Margaret Atwood and lndian-Bengali novelist Amitav Ghosh have been awarded the Dan David Prize and will share the $1 million US award.

The prize is endowed by the Dan David Foundation out of Tel Aviv University and "recognizes and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms.

There are three $1 million prizes for past, present and future achievements awarded every year, with a rotating focus on the fields of sciences, arts, and humanities. Ten per cent of the prize is to be donated to graduate students.

The authors are winners in the "present" category.

Exclusive: Leonard Cohen to perform in West Bank as well as Israel

Decision comes after pro-Palestinian activists attempted to dissuade the singer from performing in Israel.

International music legend Leonard Cohen will perform in the West Bank city of Ramallah two days after his upcoming performance in Israel, Haaretz has learned.

The concert in Ramallah is set to be held on September 26, in the Palestinian city's Cultural Palace; about 1,000 fans are expected to attend.

Cohen's decision came after pro-Palestinian activists attempted to dissuade the singer from performing in Israel.

The activists had urged supporters to "apply pressure during his tour by local groups along his path," in an appeal circulated on various pro-Palestinian mailing lists.

The sponsor of Cohen's concert in Israel, Discount Bank, confirmed the event on Wednesday; it is scheduled to take place at Ramat Gan Stadium on September 24.

The announcement put an end to the persistent rumors circulating in the past few months that the Canadian singer-songwriter's visit would be cancelled.

Elton John: No one could have stopped me from coming

British music star Elton John performs in front of tens of thousands of Israelis in Ramat Gan.

Refusing to bow to the pressure of anti-Israel activists, Sir Elton John arrived in Israel on Thursday and performed in front of tens of thousands of Israelis at the Ramat Gan stadium.

John's arrival followed weeks of speculation due to several recent cancellations of concerts in Israel by other musical acts including Elvis Costello, the Pixies and Devendra Banhart for politically-related reasons.

The British music star, who last peformed in Israel in 1993, greeted the enthusiastic crowd by saying "Shalom" in Hebrew.

John said that no one could have stopped him from coming to perform in Israel.

"We're spreading peace and love on this stage and we're happy to be here," he said.

Elton John: No-one will stop me playing in Israel

Elton John: ‘I won’t boycott Israel like other artists”

Elton John has performed a triumphantly successful concert to nearly 50,000 cheering fans in Ramat Gan, telling Israelis: “Nobody gonna stop me from playing here, baby”.

The country’s music fans have suffered several high profile cancellations, including bands such as the Pixies, Carlos Santana, Gorillaz, the Klaxons and, most recently, Elvis Costello.