Notable Names Missing from Hollywood Letter Supporting Israel
Israel has been fighting not only a war with Gaza, but a public relations battle as well. Many have been rightly asking, Where are the Hollywood supporters of Israel who happen to be Jewish? Some of the biggest, most prominent Israel supporters who are also Jewish have remained silent – specifically Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Barbra Streisand. They do not hesitate to speak out on supporting Democrats and their causes, yet they have remained missing in action regarding the latest Gaza conflict.
There have been too few in Hollywood who are willing to stand up for what Israel is doing, but many have spoken out against Israel. Spanish filmmaking icon Pedro Almodovar and hundreds of other Spanish artists joined actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem by signing a letter, accusing Israel of Genocide. They stated that Israel "humiliates, detains, and tramples on the rights of the Palestinian population in all of the West Bank every day, also causing many deaths.” The letter also referred to the Israel Defense Forces as the "Israel Occupation Forces."
Did the prominent Jews in Hollywood mentioned above denounce this? No. It was actor Jon Voight who responded, “The Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, and they immediately began firing thousands of rockets into Israel. I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now? You should hang your heads in shame. You should come forth with deep regrets for what you did – and ask for forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.”
More Hollywoodites have expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, including Rihanna, Jonathan Demme, and Selena Gomez. Leave it to comedian Joan Rivers to say it like it is: “If New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe them out. If we heard they were digging tunnels from New Jersey to New York, we would get rid of Jersey. Where did she [Gomez] go to college? Ask her if she knows how to spell 'Palestinian.’"
Radio talk show host Howard Stern had stood solidly with Israel. “If you are anti-Israel, you are anti-America," Stern declared last month on his Sirius XM show. “It’s the only democracy over there. It’s the only friend we have who’s willing to fight and stand up for what’s right." And he has asked the question publicly many of us are wondering privately: “I don’t know why more prominent Hollywood people don’t speak out about what’s going on there. They’re all afraid.”
Well, maybe not everyone is afraid to remain silent. On August 23, an ad in the Hollywood Reporter, signed by more than 190 Hollywood notables, issued a pro Israel statement against Hamas. Among those signers were Actors Kelsey Grammer, Sarah Silverman, Minnie Driver, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Seth Rogen, Josh Charles, and Tony Goldwyn; showrunners Aaron Sorkin, Diane English, Mayim Bialik, Doug Ellin and Greg Berlanti; directors Ivan Reitman and William Friedkin; producers Avi Arad, Scooter Braun, Jerry Weintraub, Avi Lerner; execs Ryan Kavaunagh, Sherry Lansing, and Amy Pascal; and mogul Haim Saban. The statement read in part, "While we stand firm in our commitment to peace and justice, we must also stand firm against ideologies of hatred and genocide which are reflected in Hamas' charter, Article 7 of which reads, 'There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!' The son of a Hamas founder has also commented about the true nature of Hamas. Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields."
Yet, as notable as this is, even more notable are the names not present. Barbra Streisand has been a strong supporter of Israel. During the 1967 War she made a speech at the Hollywood Bowl “Rally For Israel’s Survival.” She saluted “Israel At Thirty” by singing the Hatikva in 1978 and in June 2013 visited Israel while performing in a number of concerts. So why her silence now, when Israel needs supporters more than ever?
Steven Spielberg is known for his film Schindler’s List, which is about someone speaking out and taking action in the face of adversity. Maybe Spielberg needs to take a lesson from his own script. Where is the person who, in 2006, during the Second Lebanon War, donated to Israel one million dollars?
Maybe those who say they support Israel should understand that silence in this case is not golden. Israel is being blamed for a war she did not start. They must understand that Israel is dealing with an enemy who will not rest until it violently eradicates the Jewish State. They need to look in the mirror and think about the words of Golda Meir, who, although addressing the European Ministers, could easily have been addressing the Hollywood Jews today about their silence: “In doing so, it brought shame upon itself. Oh, what a victory for terrorism this is.”
The author writes for American Thinker. She has done book reviews and author interviews and has written a number of national security, political, and foreign policy articles.