Celebs stand up for Israel
Festival boycott

Celebs stand up for Israel

More than 200 celebrities signed an open letter opposing a boycott of an LGBTQ film festival in Tel Aviv.

Actresses Helen Mirren (left) and Mila Kunis. Photos: AP
Actresses Helen Mirren (left) and Mila Kunis. Photos: AP

MORE than 200 celebrities, including actors Mila Kunis, Billy Porter, Neil Patrick Harris and Helen Mirren, have signed an open letter opposing efforts to boycott an LGBTQ+ film festival in Tel Aviv.

The letter, published last week, was a response to calls from activists with the anti-Israel boycott movement to boycott the Tel Aviv International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, also called TLVFest.

It was organised by Creative Community for Peace, which comprises entertainment industry professionals that work to counter cultural boycotts against Israel.

“In Israel, movies have the unique power to bring together Jews, Arabs and people of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds in collaboration under a shared love of the arts, working together towards the common goal of telling their stories, and building bridges of compassion and understanding,” the letter read.

In May of this year, Aswat, an organisation focusing on Palestinian feminist issues, called on activists around the world to boycott “Israel’s pinkwashing events”, including Pride activities and the film festival.

The film festival has been the target of numerous boycott efforts in recent years. Several participants boycotted the festival in 2017 after John Trengrove, a South African director whose film was set to open the festival, pulled out in protest.

In 2020, over 100 queer filmmakers pledged not to submit films or participate in the festival in response to a call by boycott activists.

Other signees of last Wednesday’s letter included former NSYNC singer Lance Bass, actor Jeremy Piven, KISS frontman Gene Simmons and actress Emmanuelle Chriqui.


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