Wednesday, February 1st | 10 Shevat 5783

November 6, 2012 5:56 pm

Avid Hollywood Activist Jane Fonda Headlines Special Holocaust Panel

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avatar by David Caspi

Jane Fonda at a book signing, 2005. Photo: Philip Schultz.

Actress, political and women’s rights activist Jane Fonda will host an event in Los Angeles this Thursday, discussing sexual violence during the Holocaust. Fonda will read excerpts from acclaimed Israeli author and playwright Nava Semel’s 2001 novel “And the Rat Laughed”.

The novel was adapted into an opera in 2005, and produced by the Israeli Chamber Orchestra and the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv, eventually running for four years with several performances around Europe and in Canada.

Thursday’s event, sponsored by the USC Shoah Foundation and the Remember the Women Institute, follows a study to which Semel dedicates a chapter of her novel. The book tells the story of a 5 year old girl who was hidden in a potato pit during WWII and survived. “In my book “Glass Hat” of 25 years ago I dedicated a story to Fonda,” says Semel, “She was the first person I ever told of my childhood in the shadow of Auschwitz and after that talk I wrote the story.”

Two-time Academy Award winner Fonda (74) has long been considered one of Hollywood’s most vocal activists, dating back to the 1960’s with her fight for civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War. In later years she went on to support Native Americans and several movements working to stop violence against women, and has also echoed her objection to the US military campaign in Iraq.

Fonda’s political stance has also been particularly hostile to Israel, which she visited back in 2002. She participated in a demonstration against Israel’s presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and visited a Palestinian refugee camp. In 2009 she signed a petition protesting Toronto Film Festival organizers’ decision to spotlight Tel Aviv, which she soon after admitted to regret, telling The Huffington Post she “in no way, support[s] the destruction of Israel. I am for the two-state solution. I have been to Israel many times and love the country and its people.”

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