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May 15, 2014 4:46 pm

Hollywood Must Condemn Anti-Israel Boycotts

avatar by Ronald S. Lauder

Danny Glover at the World Social Forum in 2003. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr./ABr via Wikimedia Commons.

The call this week by a group of American actors led by Danny Glover for a cultural boycott of Israel was nasty, but it wasn’t shocking.

Glover and other actors starring in the documentary “American Revolutionary” urged the cancelation of a planned screening of the movie at the DocAviv festival in Tel Aviv, saying that they wanted to “stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.”

It wasn’t the first time that Glover has supported the anti-Israel boycott. In 2009, he signed a letter protesting the Toronto International Film Festival’s focus on Tel Aviv and the work of 10 Israeli filmmakers, arguing that it amounted to propaganda for Israel.

Glover’s boycott call exposes the deep anti-Semitism at the heart of the boycott movement. For the boycotters, Israelis can’t just be normal, non-political citizens of a country who, among other things, make films and watch them. They and the state that protects them are demons the boycotters cannot abide. They and the state that protects them are the only ones among the almost 200 countries of the world that don’t have a right to exist. This is just anti-Jewish bigotry masquerading as left-wing politics, and it has to stop.

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It is time for Hollywood – actors, producers, and others – to speak out against those within their own ranks who demonize Israel and thus fan the flames of anti-Semitism in America and beyond. Some have: Scarlett Johansson, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Ashton Kutcher, and Leonard Cohen, among others. We call on America’s film industry to join them and raise its voice against the growing campaign to boycott the Jewish state. Just like anti-Semitism, unfair criticism of Israel should be condemned. Those in Hollywood who stand with Israel must come forward and speak out against the calls to boycott the only democratic country in the Middle East.

Ronald S. Lauder is president of the World Jewish Congress. This article first appeared on his blog at www.worldjewishcongress.org.

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