Several high-profile Hollywood figures have stood against Israel’s detractors recently, drawing praise from the New York Post. While anti-Israel sentiment abounds in Tinsel-town, there are those who stand up for the Jewish State.
Recent efforts by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to demonize Israel have blown up in their faces. World-famous Jewish reggae rocker Matisyahu was scheduled to play Saturday in Spain’s Rototom Sunsplash festival when a BDS petition caused organizers to cancel the invitation. BDS supporters insisted Matisyahu, who is American, not Israeli, endorse Palestinian statehood as a condition of his participation in the festival.
The invitation to play was reissued, however, following an international uproar. None of the festival’s non-Jewish performers were asked to make any such public statements in order to participate.
Meanwhile, famed talk show and personality and magazine publisher Oprah Winfrey was approached by BDS supporters to publicly reject Israeli jeweler Lev Leviev’s products. A delegation came to her magazine’s offices in New York, bearing a letter with the group’s demands, after Oprah was seen wearing Leviev’s creations on the cover of O magazine last month. The group accused Leviev of stealing Palestinian land and committing human-rights abuses in Angola.
Oprah and her executive staff refused to meet with the agitators, and did not accept the letter they came to deliver.
Although the BDS movement has convinced some performers to cancel their shows in Israel, their bluster did not influence popular rock band Bon Jovi to nix their upcoming show. The group is set to take the stage in Tel Aviv in October. Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi expressed his desire to play in the Jewish State in 2013, and the group is now set to check Israel off its list.
When asked about potential BDS backlash in June, promoter Marcel Avram, who helped seal the deal, said, “Jon Bon Jovi couldn’t care less. He is not the first or the last one to come to Israel . . . We are a proud country where a lot of people enjoy music; everyone wants to perform in Israel.”
Finally, a popular Paris beach festival honored Tel Aviv two weeks ago despite opposition. The Paris Plages festival takes place along the river Seine, and this year organizers set out to recognize the Israeli city by recreating a Tel Aviv beach for a day. The Tel Aviv sur Seine day required additional security and sparked a protest “Gaza beach” to be set up alongside it, but the day went ahead as planned. Prime Minister Manuel Valls voiced his “full support” for the initiative, while Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo explained why they chose Tel Aviv: “Even in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Tel Aviv remains a town open to all minorities.”