Actor Danny Glover is one among several celebrities who on Tuesday called for a boycott of Israel, according to JNS.
The celebrities are featured in a documentary film entitled “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs” which is being screened at the DocAviv festival in Tel Aviv.
“We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and support their call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel,” 12 signatories said in a statement quoted by JNS.
The signatories, including Grace Lee Boggs herself, said they were “shocked” about the film’s screening at DocAviv on May 13 and 15, which was “scheduled without our knowledge.”
“We immediately took action to have the film withdrawn from the festival,” they were quoted as having said. “The festival organizers and film producers informed us that this was not possible and they would move forward with the screening, over our objections.”
The statement was condemned by Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC).
“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,” Lauder said in a statement.
“Danny Glover supported a boycott of Israel in 2009, and it therefore comes as no surprise that he does not wish the movie to be screened in Israel. We call on America’s film industry to speak out against the growing campaign to boycott the Jewish state. Just like anti-Semitism, unfair criticism of Israel should be condemned,” he added.
"It is time that those in Hollywood who stand with Israel come forward and speak out against the calls to boycott the only democratic country in the Middle East,” the WJC president declared.
Glover and the others are the latest celebrities to call for a boycott of Israel. One of the most prominent voices has been musician Roger Waters, who last week called on the Rolling Stones to cancel plans for their upcoming Israel debut concert because of "Israel's policy towards the Palestinians."
In December, Waters compared Israel to Nazi Germany, saying in an interview, “The situation in Israel/Palestine, with the occupation, the ethnic cleansing and the systematic racist apartheid Israeli regime is unacceptable.”
At the same time, there have been some actors and musicians who have refused to boycott Israel despite growing calls on them to do so.
One such example is actress Scarlett Johansson, who refused to back down from an advertising campaign for SodaStream, an Israeli company with a factory in Ma’ale Adumim, a Jerusalem suburb located over the 1949 armistice lines and which employs Palestinian Arabs.
Last year, popular rhythm and blues artist Alicia Keys refused to cave in to pressure by anti-Israel activists and gave a sold out concert in Tel Aviv.
Keys announced that she had decided to go ahead with her concert in Tel Aviv despite calls from a number of anti-Israel activists to boycott the Jewish state.
The pop duo Pet Shop Boys also rejected calls from pro-Arab activists to cancel a Tel Aviv concert. The concert went ahead as scheduled on June 23 of last year.
An anti-Israel group had claimed that the act of performing a concert constitutes tacit support for Israel's "policies of discrimination."
Pet Shop Boys member Neil Tennant, however, said he did not “agree with this comparison of Israel to apartheid-era South Africa.”