Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo, and Gael García Bernal among those supporting Emma Watson’s Palestine solidarity post  

They’re joined by Jim Jarmusch, Peter Capaldi, Harriet Walter, Viggo Mortensen, Maxine Peake, Asif Kapadia and many others.

Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo, Gael García Bernal, Jim Jarmusch, Peter Capaldi, Maxine Peake, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Coogan, Charles Dance and Harriet Walter are among the film professionals speaking out in support of Harry Potter actor Emma Watson.

Last week, Watson shared a post with the words ‘solidarity is a verb’ over an image that featured Palestinian flags. Widely praised, this message of solidarity also provoked the fury of Israeli officials. 

Now, more than forty figures from the world of film – including multi award-winning screenwriter and producer James Schamus (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Oscar-nominated directors Asif Kapadia (Amy), Mira Nair (Salaam Bombay) and writer/producer Oren Moverman (The Messenger) – have endorsed Watson’s message. 

In a joint statement, the signatories, who include double Palme d’Or winner Ken Loach (I, Daniel Blake), actors Michael Malarkey (The Vampire Diaries) and Matt McGorry (Orange Is the New Black, How to Get Away with Murder), and Emmy-winning production designer Gemma Jackson (Games of Thrones), say:

“We join Emma Watson in support of the simple statement that ‘solidarity is a verb’, including meaningful solidarity with Palestinians struggling for their human rights under international law.” 

Citing recent reports on Israeli apartheid by Human Rights Watch and Israel’s leading human rights organisation, B’Tselem, the artists, including Watson’s Harry Potter co-stars Miriam Margolyes and Julie Christie, state:

“We recognize the underlying power imbalance between Israel, the occupying power, and the Palestinians, the people under a system of military occupation and apartheid”.

The signatories, who also count Wolf Hall director Peter Kosminsky, and actors Liam Cunningham and Khalid Abdalla among them, reference the Israeli government’s forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes:

“We stand against ongoing Israeli attempts to forcibly displace Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

The actors, directors and others conclude by quoting the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” They add:

“Heeding Tutu’s moral appeal, we stand on the side of justice, freedom, and equal rights for all. This is the least we can do.”

Read the letter in full:

We join Emma Watson in support of the simple statement that ‘solidarity is a verb’, including meaningful solidarity with Palestinians struggling for their human rights under international law. We oppose injustice anywhere in the world and stand with all those seeking an end to oppression.

We stand against ongoing Israeli attempts to forcibly displace Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory.

We recognize the underlying power imbalance between Israel, the occupying power, and the Palestinians, the people under a system of military occupation and apartheid, as described by Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, Israel’s leading human rights organization, and by Palestinian and international human rights experts.

We condemn all forms of racism, including antisemitism and Islamophobia. Opposition to a political system or policy is distinct from bigotry, hatred and discrimination targeting any group of humans based on their identity. We see the former as a legitimate and necessary form of political and ethical expression and the latter as racism – pure and simple.

The late Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Heeding Tutu’s moral appeal, we stand on the side of justice, freedom, and equal rights for all. This is the least we can do.

Signed,

Khalid Abdalla, actor

Udi Aloni, director

Carter Burwell, composer

Peter Capaldi, actor

Kathleen Chalfant, actor

Henry Chalfant, director

Julie Christie, actor

Elaine Collins, executive producer

Steve Coogan, actor, comedian

Liam Cunningham, actor

Charles Dance, actor

Andy de la Tour, actor

Frances de la Tour, actor

Stephen Dillane, actor

Brian Eno, composer

Bella Freud, designer  

Gael García Bernal, actor

Kerry Godliman, actor, comedian

Gemma Jackson, production designer

Jim Jarmusch, director

Asif Kapadia, director

Aki Kaurismäki, director

Peter Kosminsky, writer, director

Ralf Little, actor

Jim Loach, director

Ken Loach, director

Michael Malarkey, actor, musician

Art Malik, actor

Miriam Margolyes, actor

Matt McGorry, actor

David Michôd, director

Viggo Mortensen, actor

Oren Moverman, writer, director, producer

Mira Nair, director

Rebecca O’Brien, producer

Maxine Peake, actor

Michael Radford, writer, director

Dominic Rains, actor

Mark Ruffalo, actor

Susan Sarandon, actor

James Schamus, screenwriter, director

Elhum Shakerifar, producer

Robyn Slovo, producer

V (Eve Ensler), playwright

Cat Villiers, producer

Harriet Walter, actor

Mat Whitecross, director

Susan Wooldridge, actor

Ramy Youssef, actor, producer

Leading artists condemn Israeli raids on Palestinian cultural centres & call for sanctions

Photo: Edward Said National Conservatory of Music by Ahdaf Soueif for PalFest

  • Massive Attack, Steve Coogan, Peter Gabriel, Maxine Peake, Philip Pullman and Benjamin Zephaniah are among 60+ cultural figures to put their names to an open letter condemning attacks on key Palestinian cultural centres.
  • The letter says the attacks are ‘part of a well-documented campaign of harassment and intimidation, arrests, home demolitions and forced evictions’ by the Israeli government. 
  • Brian Eno: ‘These raids … seem designed to break the morale of the Palestinian people, to deny them the last thing that they actually own: their culture ’
  • The artists call for ‘targeted and lawful sanctions’ against Israel.

Signatories to the letter include:

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Film-makers call on cinemas to reject Israel-sponsored festival

Maxine Peake, Liam Cunningham, Juliet Stevenson and Helena Kennedy QC are among 36 filmmakers and others who have signed a letter  protesting the hosting of  the Seret London Israeli Film and TV Festival in UK cinemas, due to the involvement of the Israeli Embassy.  The letter, published in Wednesday’s edition of The Guardian, says that cinemas are providing a platform for “a regime that is guilty of systematic and large-scale human rights violations”.  Full letter and signatories below.
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Artists appeal to the Chemical Brothers: Please don’t play Tel Aviv

  • UPDATES:
  • Haaretz: ‘Former Pink Floyd bassist signs an open letter telling the electronic duo to not be fooled by Tel Aviv’s cool vibe while a different petition accuses artists who perform in Israel of whitewashing apartheid.’ (November 5, 2016)
    Report in the Guardian: ‘Former Pink Floyd man joins campaign alongside Caryl Churchill and Maxine Peake seeking a cultural boycott to promote better treatment of Palestinians’ (November 2, 2016)
  • Report in Pitchfork:  ‘Roger Waters, Thousands More Petition the Chemical Brothers to Cancel Tel Aviv Show’; and here in NME magazine and MixMag (November 1, 2016)
  • In an interview with Israeli media Chemical Brothers deny they are asked to boycott Israel despite over 7,000 people asking them to do just that. They are quoted as saying ‘pressure was not applied to us. We will go to any place where young people want to see us playing. We are not really involved in all the rest’. Needless to say, if the controversial concert goes ahead, fans in the occupied Palestinian territories will not be able to reach it due to ‘all the rest’. (October 29, 2016).
  • More than 7,000 people sign a petition asking Chemical Brothers Ed and Tom not to play Tel Aviv! (October 28, 2016)

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NEWS RELEASE – Actors, writers and directors denounce demonisation of Palestinian theatre

Let audiences be the judge of Palestinian theatre on UK tour
(NB this original text differs slightly from the version published by the Daily Mail on May 8)

As theatre practitioners in Britain, we are alarmed that the Daily Mail is attacking the Arts Council and the British Council for supporting a UK tour by a Palestinian theatre company.

Your piece, with its inflammatory title UK taxpayers fund ‘pro-terrorist’ play, cites “concerns” from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, an organisation with a shocking record of acting to suppress both cultural and academic events which explore the bitter reality of Palestinian existence. Only last month the University of Southampton succumbed to demonisation and threats and banned an academic conference on the legal status of Israel.

Neither the Daily Mail nor the Board of Deputies has seen Freedom Theatre’s play The Siege, yet both somehow feel qualified to suggest that it is “promoting terrorism”. Not for the first time, Palestinian voices are in danger of being drowned out by a vociferous pro-Israel lobby that smears all Palestinians as terrorists and antisemites. This lobby wants us to believe that theatre-goers in the UK cannot be trusted to hear these voices and make their own judgements.

The Palestinian West Bank, where the Freedom Theatre is based, has been under illegal Israeli military occupation since 1967. We endorse the words of British playwright Howard Brenton, an honorary director of the Freedom Theatre, who writes of the forthcoming tour:

“This is real political theatre, performed out of the both terrible and inspiring experience of a struggle for freedom and justice. [The Freedom Theatre] are living proof that telling stories and entertaining audiences are powerful acts of resistance to oppression. Do go and see them, they have news for us.”

Caryl Churchill
Dominic Cooke
April De Angelis
David Edgar
Lucy Kirkwood
David Lan
Miriam Margolyes
Paul Mayersberg
Maxine Peake
Mark Rylance
Jennie Stoller
Mark Thomas
Samuel West Continue reading