Saturday, August 19th | 27 Av 5777

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
February 4, 2014 12:09 am

An Open Letter to Actress Emma Thompson, Boycotter of Israel

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow / JNS.org

Email a copy of "An Open Letter to Actress Emma Thompson, Boycotter of Israel" to a friend

Actress Emma Thompson presents the award she was given during the "Presentation of the Crystal Award" at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2008. Photo: World Economic Forum.

JNS.orgDear Ms. Thompson,

The Jan. 27 passing of Pete Seeger got me thinking about you. That may seem a little surprising; there’s no obvious connection between a banjo-strumming American folk singer and a British Oscar-winning actress. So let me explain.

The obituaries for Mr. Seeger noted that in the 1930s and 1940s, he had been a supporter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. But in 1993, Seeger publicly apologized for, as he put it, “following the party line so slavishly, for not seeing that Stalin was a supremely cruel misleader.”

Related coverage

August 18, 2017 4:12 pm
0

Let’s Talk About Sex: The Aftermath of Charlottesville

JNS.org - The scene is Paris in the late 19th century. At a glittering ball, a handful of eligible gentilhommes eagerly circled the...

It’s a shame that it wasn’t until 40 years after Stalin’s death that Seeger finally acknowledged the truth about his former idol. I am hoping it won’t take you 40 years to acknowledge the terrible mistake you have made in publicly urging a boycott of Israelis.

You publicly called on London’s Globe Theater to cancel its invitation to the Israeli theatre company Habima to take part in a Shakespeare Festival. You and your colleagues asserted that “by inviting Habima, the Globe is associating itself with the policies of exclusion practiced by the Israeli state.” Allowing Israelis to perform would make the festival “complicit with human rights violations,” you claimed.

I know a little something about human rights violations—such as the violation of my daughter Alisa’s right to live. In 1995, Palestinian Arab terrorists associated with the Islamic Jihad movement decided to practice their brand of “exclusion” by bombing the bus on which Alisa was riding. Eight innocent people were murdered, more than 50 were injured. The U.S. State Department publicly identified five of the killers. To this day, they live freely in the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Ms. Thompson, please understand me. I am not saying that actors should refrain from taking stands on political issues. But I am directing your attention to the fact that on so many occasions, actors and other entertainers who have injected themselves into public controversies have ultimately proven to be badly mistaken, as the case of Pete Seeger demonstrates.

Many prominent Hollywood figures took part in the 1950s McCarthyite witch-hunts. They said they were defending American culture against radicals. But they didn’t mind slandering innocent people in the process.

Harry Belafonte is a wonderful entertainer. But his support for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was reprehensible. And his racially charged attacks on African-American Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were vile.

Sean Penn is a talented actor. But his embrace of Saddam Hussein was disgraceful. Whatever one thinks of the Iraq war in retrospect, who can deny that the world is better off without Saddam?

When we look at the brutal dictatorship that rules Vietnam today, when we think about the countless innocents slaughtered by that regime, it is impossible not to resent Jane Fonda’s support for the Vietcong. At least the folksinger Joan Baez, who once vocally supported the North Vietnamese, eventually had the decency to repudiate them—but, once again, only after it was much too late.

That, Ms. Thompson, is what I fear will happen to you if you throw in your lot with the haters and boycotters of Israel. The radical chic that is so appealing to you today will be revealed as a horrible mistake soon enough. You will, eventually, recognize the true nature of the tyrants and terrorists of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. But how much must Israel suffer until you, like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, finally stop romanticizing dictators?

Yes, there are evil regimes that deserve to be boycotted. The apartheid regime of South Africa deserved it. So do the terrorists who rule Gaza. But democratic, peaceful, egalitarian Israel does not.

Sincerely,

Stephen M. Flatow

New Jersey attorney Stephen M. Flatow is a frequent commentator on Middle East politics, terrorism, and victims’ rights. His daughter, Alisa, was killed in a Palestinian suicide bombing in 1995.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Sarah

    Emma Thompson has her right to an opinion on anything she wants. So does everyone else in this world. And who knows? Just because she’s a famous and talented actress doesn’t mean she doesn’t know what’s going on in Israel. You don’t live with her or know her daily habits and what she believes or understands. And does it really matter? We all say things that perhaps we don’t mean to say or it comes out wrong. Also, it doesn’t matter what someone is to say or have an opinion on because someone out there will be unhappy with the statement. Love to all. ✌️

  • Gary Smoak

    Your off my list of actresses to watch . My whole family is boycotting you.

  • Ms. Thompson, I am now boycotting YOU!!!

  • Clarissa

    Well, dear Emma Thompson. This is all very disappointing. It’s disappointing because ‘an artist’ should be concerned with bringing people together. What gives you the right to determine who should attend what? Just stay at home and get your reward sent to you. I know perhaps I shouldn’t mention this but last time, I checked Britain still ‘occupied’ Northern Ireland.
    I won’t forget the IRA bomb scares, growing up in London.
    It’s a shame—because you will be losing a lot of fans. Surely, I will start boycotting your movies from now on.

  • Golum

    It’s a shame all these actors I used to admire can’t see the truth….it’s just too hard for them to find out what’s really happening in the Middle East. The Israeli’s are Strong so that makes them wrong!!!..The so called Palestinians are weak and stupid so people feel sorry for them!!!
    I don’t…SCREW THEM…any time they want to end their murdering approach the Israeli’s would be the first to help them become members of world society and then they would flourish!!! This For Ever conflict will never be over until the arabs get tired of using the Allah Crutch searching for world domination!!!

    • Jimmy

      The “murdering approach” you speak of is the approach of a select few, extremist, individuals which you will find on both sides. You can not deny that a select few extremist Jews have murdered Palestinians, some of them have been correctly and very publically jailed… But does every Israeli shoulder the blame? No! Nor should every Palestian shoulder the blame for the actions of a few of them and yet the Israeli military lay waste to all of Gaza?

      Screw ANYONE who murders in cold blood, or supports it, regardless of what side you are on. You’re both as bad as one another!

  • What a shame that the author got so sidetracked by focusing his attention on those in Hollywood with whom he disagrees. Surely, there are scores (hundreds, thousands) of entertainers who fight the good fight.

    Mike Corso

  • MARTY I GUESS YOU ARE RIGHT!.
    ALL MY lOVE AND SUPPORT FOR iSRAEL I WILL NOT GIVE ANYMORE.

    I WILL FORGET THAT ISRAEL is giving aid to its enemies TODAY, the enemies that are actively trying to kill,kidnap, torture the Israelis..THE SYRIANS.

    I WILL FORGET THAT ISRAEL brought a full field hospital with hundreds of workers doctors and nurses to help Haiti in its earthquake.

    I WILL FORGET THAT ISRAEL sent a team although refused to indonesia for their tzunami

    I WILL FORGET THAT ISRAEL SENTS ITS TEAM OF SEARCH AND RESCUE TO JAPAN

    THERE IS SO MUCH MORE THAT I WILL FORGET OF THE HUMANITARIAN AID ISRAEL GIVES TO THE WORLD

    A LITTLE MORE DIFFICULT FOR ME TO FORGET
    but marty I will work on forgeting how to use my Israel inventions and innovations…

    yes my cell phone, my computer, the medications I take
    the military defensive hardware that the world wants…

    MARTY, I WILL TRY MY BEST TO FORGET THE HEAP OF GOODNESS ISRAEL GIVES THE WORLD.
    PRESENTLY I AM WRITING TO ALL THE SCIENTIFIC AWARD RECEPIENTS TO RETURN THEM FOR THEIR PERSONAL ACHIEVMENTS TO HUMANITY…
    OH THOSE NOBEL PRIZES..GOTTA GET THEIR TEL NUMBERS TO CALL THEM ….

    MARTY
    I AM DOING MY BEST TO FORGET THAT …

    BUT THEN MARTY….
    I REMEBERED THE FOGAL FAMILY THE FLATOW FAMILY THE SHALIT FAMILY THE GRAVES THOUSANDS OF GRAVES OF PEOPLE…NOT ONLY CHILDREN AND WOMAN..but brothers fathers aunts and uncles…jnot to mention the spiritual attqacks by the xtian missionaries the muslim kidnapping of Israel girls….

    MARTY THERE IS SO MUCH TO REMEMBER TO FORGET…
    but I keep REMEMBERING when I read the history….

    MARTY…DID YOU EVER WALK THROUGH JERUSALEM…..
    I always wondered…
    how did the babylonians,the fhilistines and the xtians the romans the turks the germans the greeks the ottomans AND THE RIGHTOUS BRITISH …..
    HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO SQUEEZE THEIR
    CHARIOTS AND HORSES THROUGH THE NARROW STREETS in JERUSALEM SEARCHING FOR MY ANCESTORS TO KILL THEM……

    I end each sentence with many dots….
    because I see no end to my statements…..
    especially with ignoramuses like you…..

  • John Galt III

    The McCarthy Hearings: The US was riddled with Communists in the 1930’s, 1940′ and 1950’s. Thank god for Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper, Elia Kazan, Ronald Reagan, Ayn Rand Morrie Ryskind and many others in pointing out the fellow travelers in Hollywood. Communists are never “innocent”.

    If they had been Nazis and not Communists would you have said to leave them alone. As a Jew, no you would not. There is no difference between Nazis and Communists. None. Zero. Get your facts straight.

    • Golum

      The difference WAS WHO THEY MURDERED!!!!

      GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!!

      In the 1930’s & early 1940’s (after Germany attacked Russia) Liberal Entertainer’s were looking for a way to support the coming war effort in Europe…the U.S. at the time was very isolationist and pretty much anti-Semitic. Joining the Communist Party was not to fight with the U.S. Government ….only to voice support for the victims of the Fascist’s!!! The “Russians/Communists” were our allies at the time so it appeared the “Patriotic” thing to do. LATER after the war and we went back to being enemies with Russia those people were persecuted for so called crimes before they were considered crimes!!! If in fact they maintained their Communist Connections into the 1950’s THEN I would say maybe you have a case.

  • Linda S.

    Married to an actor for 40+ years and as someone who embraces the theatre and all the arts, the few artists who give voice to ignorance are the ones we read about. And their ignorance does, unfortunately, make the headlines and empower their stupidity.

    I think it would be wonderful if Ms. Thompson were given a lead role in a film where she has to play the part of an Israeli mother whose son or daughter is killed and, as a result, she has to come to terms with who the real enemies of peace are . . . and, if after such an immersion into identifying with the role she is playing does nothing to change her current (hateful) position, then she should be banned from appearing in any films. Talent alone does not give her permission to speak out when she knows not what she is speaking about.

  • Ken Kelso

    Emma Thompson admits she’s an anarchist and atheist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Thompson

    Thompson has said of her religious views: “I’m an atheist; I suppose you can call me a sort of libertarian anarchist. I regard religion with fear and suspicion. It’s not enough to say that I don’t believe in God. I actually regard the system as distressing:

  • A. Sanders

    I forgot to add to my previous posting, is there a way we could organise a boycott of these so called celebrities who stick there noses in to racist politics probably for publicity and to curry favour from their Islamic sponsors. I for one have never and will never watch or go to se anything that Redgrave appears in, Thompson is now added to the list. Waters, I had never heard of him until now.

  • A. Sanders

    I congratulate Mr Flatow, if that is the right word, for his excellent response to Emma Thompson’s call for a boycott of Israel. Add to the list of Thompson, Redgrave and Water, Annie Lennox who I remember went to Gaza sporting a T Shirt stating “We are all Hamas now”. This was in retaliation by Israel to defend it self against an excessive rocket attack by Hamas. No doubt Israel incurred, unwillingly, heavy casualties, in the eyes of these anti-Semites that’s unacceptable but the other way round is OK. So Israel is expected to sit back and not defend it’s country. Can you think of any other country that would do that!! Um Yisroel Chai

  • Babs

    The parsimonious explanation for Emma Thompson’s and others’ participation in BDS has to be wilful ignorance and probably lack of intelligence even to apprehend the complexity of the conflict between Israel and her neighbours.

    Add to that an unnatural need for attention and a hefty dollop of emotional reasoning which is deliberately tapped into and made use of by anti-Israel ranters, and you have the typical, ill-informed “celebrity” BDS supporter that is Emma Thompson.

  • Stephen Green

    Dear Ms Thompson you are a disgrace to your profession, you know nothing about The Middle East, it’s past and present history. Your action and bigoted view is baseless in its foundation unless you hate Israel and the Jewish people. You are pandering to those who hate Israel and by your very words show your ignorance to the true facts as they are on the ground.
    Israel is the only Democratic Country in the reason where ALL WHO LIVE THERE CAN SPEAK, WORK, VOTE, GET MEDICAL CARE, PENSIONS AND EQUAL RIGHTS NO MATTER WHAT THERE RACE OR CREED OR POLITICAL LEANING IS. Not so in the P.A or Hamas controlled regions for fear of death and persecution.
    Stop getting your facts Ms Thompson from the Anti-Semetic gutter press and the biased news channels like the BBC, Sky news, Fox News , RT and virtually every other news channel. These all have an anti Israeli bias which is politically skewed to turn those who do or will not do their research into the truth about the Middle East into Anti- Semites like yourself.
    As I have said Ms Thompson Do Your Research.
    Those that Curse Israel Will Be CURSED and those that Bless Israel will be Blessed, be careful which side of the fence your on.
    Shalom Israel we love you

    • anton

      Thanx …. Even as they speak they disgrace the land and people of God …. they cannot understand faith because their love for the cameras , media , money and their idols … they will be held accountable 🙂

  • Dora

    to Ms. Thompson and other hypocrites, Please read Mordechai Kedarhere, an academic expert on the Israeli Arab population.
    “If Israel announced today that she would open her gates wide to unlimited immigration of Arabs and Muslims, how many Arabs would rush to Israel, the Jewish, Zionist state, to find a new life?”
    http://mordechaikedar.com/collapse-arab-narrative/

    yes, to the boycotted state of Israel!

  • Barbara Klein

    Mr. Flatow,

    My heart goes out to you at the loss (murder) of your daughter, Alisa. You must miss her every day.

    The fact that the Jews in the entertainment industry don’t stand up to these blatant haters is unforgivable.

    May you continue to do good things for Israel in honor of her memory.
    You are a brave man.

  • It is heart breaking to hear and see so much hate being directed at Israel. The only Democracy in that whole Region,where all religions are freely practiced. Try to build a church in Saudi Arabia. It is amazing that people are so short minded and empty headed to spout this hatred, of which they know nothing off. Israel is a Model Country and has contributed to the world. Long live Israel.
    Emma Thompson should see what is happening in England these days and watch her back.

  • MartyNYC

    Mr. Flatow-

    “Yes, there are evil regimes that deserve to be boycotted. The apartheid regime of South Africa deserved it. So do the terrorists who rule Gaza. But democratic, peaceful, egalitarian Israel does not.”

    I humbly suggest that you read “THE UNSPOKEN ALLIANCE, ISRAEL’S SECRET RELATIONSHIP WITH APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA” by Sasha Polakow-Suransky a senior editor at Foreign Affairs.

    You might be surprised to learn that Israel and apartheid
    South Africa were secretly sharing material and technology
    to build and test atomic weapons. When AIPAC warned Israel that the United States would support the boycott. Israel should give up its South Africa alliance since our congress would vote for a boycott. Israel held fast, correctly insisting that President Reagan would veto it.unfortunately for Israel, our congress overrode Reagan’s veto. Israel then joined the boycott but claiming that they had to honor existing contracts continued their trade until all the contracts were completed.

    The documents on which Mr. Polakow-Suransky, a Jew born in South Africa, based his book were asked for and received from the Mandela government.

    It is not surprising that our mass media chose to ignore Israel’s secret relationship with apartheid South Africa.

    • MARTY I GUESS YOU ARE RIGHT!.
      ALL MY lOVE AND SUPPORT FOR iSRAEL I WILL NOT GIVE ANYMORE.

      I WILL FORGET THAT ISRAEL is giving aid to its enemies TODAY, the enemies that are actively trying to kill,kidnap, torture the Israelis..THE SYRIANS.

      I WILL FORGET THAT ISRAEL brought a full field hospital with hundreds of workers doctors and nurses to help Haiti in its earthquake.

      I WILL FORGET THAT ISRAEL sent a team although refused to indonesia for their tzunami

      I WILL FORGET THAT ISRAEL SENTS ITS TEAM OF SEARCH AND RESCUE TO JAPAN

      THERE IS SO MUCH MORE THAT I WILL FORGET OF THE HUMANITARIAN AID ISRAEL GIVES TO THE WORLD

      A LITTLE MORE DIFFICULT FOR ME TO FORGET
      but marty I will work on forgeting how to use my Israel inventions and innovations…

      yes my cell phone, my computer, the medications I take
      the military defensive hardware that the world wants…

      MARTY, I WILL TRY MY BEST TO FORGET THE HEAP OF GOODNESS ISRAEL GIVES THE WORLD.
      PRESENTLY I AM WRITING TO ALL THE SCIENTIFIC AWARD RECEPIENTS TO RETURN THEM FOR THEIR PERSONAL ACHIEVMENTS TO HUMANITY…
      OH THOSE NOBEL PRIZES..GOTTA GET THEIR TEL NUMBERS TO CALL THEM ….

      MARTY
      I AM DOING MY BEST TO FORGET THAT …

      BUT THEN MARTY….
      I REMEBERED THE FOGAL FAMILY THE FLATOW FAMILY THE SHALIT FAMILY THE GRAVES THOUSANDS OF GRAVES OF PEOPLE…NOT ONLY CHILDREN AND WOMAN..but brothers fathers aunts and uncles…jnot to mention the spiritual attqacks by the xtian missionaries the muslim kidnapping of Israel girls….

      MARTY THERE IS SO MUCH TO REMEMBER TO FORGET…
      but I keep REMEMBERING when I read the history….

      MARTY…DID YOU EVER WALK THROUGH JERUSALEM…..
      I always wondered…
      how did the babylonians,the fhilistines and the xtians the romans the turks the germans the greeks the ottomans AND THE RIGHTOUS BRITISH …..
      HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO SQUEEZE THEIR
      CHARIOTS AND HORSES THROUGH THE NARROW STREETS in JERUSALEM SEARCHING FOR MY ANCESTORS TO KILL THEM……

      I end each sentence with many dots….
      because I see no end to my statements…..
      especially with ignoramuses like you…..

    • anton

      You obviously don’t have a F clue as to what is happening at this very moment in south africa … no clue ..only your gossip for years and years …funny how the USA and rest all of a sudden has gone quite ..nothing more to say.???

    • Golum

      MARTY…GET A LIFE….The Israeli’s were NOT SUPPORTING Apartheid…they were working with one of the few countries that would deal with them!!! South Africa and Israel were in the same boat…they were pariah’s!!!
      I remember that time. It was the U.S and no one else…and the U.S. was limiting what it was doing for the Jews.
      The Jews (Israeli’s) have always been supporters of human rights…yes even arab rights when they weren’t trying to murder us!!!

      When your very existence is at stake you would work with the devil if he was willing!!!

    • LouA

      Hey Marty where was S Africa getting it’s oil? Where was it selling it’s nickel and other natural resources. You racist moron, you single out Israel when the rest of the world was also dealing with S Africa.

  • BarryS

    I would love these Israel haters like Emma Thompson, Roger Waters, & Vanessa Redgrave to say they are packing their belongings and moving to Gaza. Let’s see how welcome they are there and how freely they can speak their mind. I bet they wouldn’t last a day.

    • gilgulman

      I don’t know…they may last a day…

    • Jerry

      send her to Syria

  • Dr.Ilan Israeli

    Find the hidden History of 1948-“Independence War”in Ari Shavit “My Promised Land”,than set your opinion!!!

    • Yenta Press

      Waste of time on poor fact finding.

      Read Ruth Wisse critic on Shavit book
      http://mosaicmagazine.com/tesserae/2013/12/their-tragic-land/

      to understand Shavit’s stories are based on quicksands.

      “רופ’ רות וייס מהארוורד קראה את הספר החדש של ארי שביט, והתמלאה תוגה על אובדן אמת-המידה ההיסטורית, הבכיינות, הפחדנות, ההכחשה, הפטליזם, הבריחה מן היהדות, וההתבוננות האובססיבית בחלקיק הכוס הריקה של הסיפור הציוני הפלאי.”

    • Wolff Bachner

      the reality is the Zionists, who were willing to buy every acre of land to re-build Israel, were meet by a hostile Islamic leadership who passed laws ordering the death penalty for any Arab who sold land to a Jew. Laws the Palestinians Arabs still have on their books today.

      You are not defending an innocent people by taking up the Palestinian cause. You are defending people who have persecuted and killed Jews methodically for 1400 years and who are only in Israel today because their Arab ancestors from ARABIA invaded Israel in 638 ce and took the land for themselves by force.

      Yet you give validity to their invasion of Jewish Israel and deny Jews the right to take back what is ours.

      For 2000 years, nations have been invading Israel and taking our land. When forced into exile, Jews were told to go back where they came from, and when we did, we were told we had to right to return home.

      It is obvious the non-Jewish world prefers to shed false tears for six million dead Jews (if they are not denying the Holocaust altogether) rather than celebrate the re-birth of the one tiny Jewish nation one earth.

      This is the generosity of the human race. They won’t even allow the 12 million remaining Jews one tiny piece of land to live on as Jews in their ancient homeland. Instead, they demonize Jews and celebrate Islamic Jew killers.

      You can cherry pick all the books you like from guilt ridden leftist Jews who write for Haaretz, but it won’t change the fact that the only way you will ever undo the Jewish nation of Israel is to finish what Hitler started. Is that what you are willing to do?

  • Tim Dufelemeier

    Furthermore Baez has appeared in Isreal several times and complained about the violence from BOTH sides (offending BOTH sides, of course) and has never defended Palistinian violence, ever.

  • Tim Dufelemeier

    You were mistaken when you claimed that Joan Baez supported North Viet Nam. Never happened. She was against the violence from both sides. Notice that we are allies now? She was right, ask MacNamera Baez was always an outspoken critic of Communism, in fact, she persuaded Jimmy Carter to send the 9th fleet to rescue the boat people before the rest of the world knew what was going on. She made highly publisized critisisms and demonstration against Communism in Russia, Poland, Cambodia and the Czech Repbublic. She lived with Lech Walsea and was dear friends with Valclac Havel during the communist occupations in both countries.
    Apology accepted in advance.

  • Yael

    Hear hear! However, i suspect that ms. Thompson’s geneaology marks her as automatically anti- israel.

Algemeiner.com