Payback time? Hollywood stars sign petition in SUPPORT of Israel!
Austrian actor and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives for the Empire Awards at a central London venue. (Image: Jon Furniss /Invision/AP)
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The Gaza War has been the hottest topic in the press and on social media for the past two months, with celebrities voicing their opinions and taking a political stance either by posting #FreePalestine on Twitter, signing a pro-Palestine petition, praying for Israel or staying on the fence!
But now, and after weeks of behind the scenes strategizing, Israeli news website Haaretz has reported that the Creative Community For Peace (CCFP), a non-profit organization started by Hollywood moguls to counter the BDS movement, has enlisted Hollywood’s biggest stars in support of Israel.
This is the largest petition of its kind, which will represent some of the biggest names in TV, film and music, and will appear on Sunday in publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard and Variety, and also major U.S. newspapers.
Some of the celebs who were actively on Palestine's side in this intense conflict were Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Brian Eno, Coldplay, Massive Attack, Zayn Malik, Penelope Cruz, Javier Barden and most recently Russell Brand.
Meanwhile, Joan Rivers fiercely defended Israel, and so did Jon Voight, Howard Stern, Bill Maher, Mayan Bialik and Roseanne Barr.
The CCFP letter bears the above celebs' signatures, as well as those of Sarah Silverman, Minnie Driver, Ziggy Marley, Seth Rogen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Kelsey Grammer, Tom Arnold, Benji Madden, director Ivan Reitman, writer Aaron Sorkin, producer Michael Rotenberg, composer Michael Nyman, producer Haim Saban, Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun and many others.
The objective of the letter is to show its opposition to the “singling out of Israel for boycott,” while recognizing that its signatories have different views on how peace in the Middle East may best be achieved.
"The petition also laments the loss of life on both sides and condemns Hamas for its racist ideology and terrorist tactics," reports Haaretz.
“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 letter reads.
“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.
“We join together in support of the democratic values we all cherish and in the hope that the healing and transformative power of the arts can be used to build bridges of peace,” the letter concludes.
Some of Hollywood's major brokers are members of the CCFP, including former NBC Entertainment co-chair Ben Silverman and Jody Gerson, co-president of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
While some celebs chose to express their opinions on social media, the CCFP chose to "focus its energy on what it describes as "educating" Israel’s outspoken critics."
That's why Rihanna deleted her #FreePalestine tweet only eight minutes after posting it and Selena Gomez recanted a similar post. The organization claims to have successfully campaigned to make them do so.
Just as criticism that Hollywood’s Israel supporters stayed silent amidst growing pro-Palestinian support grew more apparent, this campaign rapidly took off just as CCFP’s advisory board members, along with other prominent industry leaders, began reaching out to their friends and associates.
“We are heartened to have received such an enormous response from within the industry -- from artists to producers, agents, attorneys, managers, and industry executives -- which is gratifying especially as we witness the disturbing growth of anti-Semitism around the globe. We fully expect the list of signatories to continue to grow," says David Renzer, CCFP co-founder and chairman of Spirit Music Group.
“We are asking fans of art and music to spread our message through a social media campaign using the hashtag #CCFPandFriends,” says Lana Melman, CCFP director.
Big plans for a concert-filled summer in Israel came crashing down during the Gaza conflict, with international acts such as the Backstreet Boys, Lana Del Rey, Neil Young, and CeeLo Green, were forced to reschedule their performances due to the threat of rocket attacks.
"We and all of our friends in Hollywood hope for a speedy end to the conflict so that artists can resume travel to Israel and see for themselves the country's thriving democracy, its rich culture, and its people's profound desire for peace, once again allowing the power of art and music to bring people together," Steve Schnur, president, EA Music Group and CCFP co-founder, adds.