August 20, 2019

Does Hollywood Hate Israel?

“I was being interviewed live on Israel’s most-watched evening newscast about my trip to Israel with Roseanne Barr when the female anchor asked me about our ongoing efforts to bring people of influence to Israel. I responded that, indeed, while we bring many celebrities to Israel, we also hold celebrities who attack Israel accountable. One of the examples I gave was Natalie Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, was protected by the IDF, but chose to boycott Israel and later compare the Holocaust to the regular slaughter of livestock, which is both disgusting and incredibly stupid.

I was not ready for the reaction. The anchor mounted a determined defense of Portman, despite her public condemnation of Israel trying to protect itself against the Hamas terrorists of Gaza. I responded and a spirited defense ensued.

I understood why.

Israel is desperate for celebrities – especially homegrown – who can lend the country legitimacy. And if it means embracing even those Israelis who unfairly condemn the country, so be it.

It’s a dilemma that has to be confronted. Why is that Hollywood is populated by so many Jewish actors, directors and studio heads who are utterly silent on defending Israel?

I’ve been on a tour of Israel for the past week with Roseanne Barr doing public speeches and media appearances. The trip was designed to coincide with our son Dovid Chaim’s bar mitzvah and it’s been nice on this occasion to mix family, business and pleasure.”

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