Woody Allen, Please Refuse Israel’s Hasbara Bribes

Woody, how do you feel about being bribed with millions of dollars by Israeli government agents to sacrifice your artistic integrity as propaganda for their apartheid state?

Would it not be more ingenious to develop a movie satirising Israel’s desperate attempts to obscure its crimes against humanity? Many human rights activists would be happy to lend their assistance and resources to such a worthy project for free. Noa Tishby can perform as herself, Mark Regev can be played by a real Australian Taipan and the IDF Spokesperson could be played by a Dalek.

Mark Regev demonstrates his natural ability for satire:

Woody, if you are in any doubt about the monstrous nature of the regime which you are being enveigled to support, please read about how illegal Israeli settlers kill Palestinian livestock and torch olive groves while the Palestinian owners are arrested by Israeli occupation forces and prevented from defending their crops. Find out how Indigenous Bedouin Palestinians are deprived of water by Israel.

The Civil Administration is supposed to take care of the people’s needs. But it does not stop at the most despicable measure – depriving people and livestock of water in the scathing summer heat – to implement Israel’s strategic goal: to drive them from their lands and purge the valley of its non-Jewish residents.

Last week I saw the people whose water container Avi had confiscated, leaving them thirsty. Newborn babies, a handicapped little girl, a small boy post-surgery, women and old folks, and, of course, the sheep – the only source of income here. Denizens with no water – in Israel, not in Africa. Water for one nation only – in Israel, not in South Africa.

Amjad Zahawa, a 2-day-old infant, passed his third day under the hot sun, with no shelter over his head. Greetings, Amjad; welcome to the reality of your life.

Palestinian civil society has requested that artists refrain from appearing in Israel until it respects international law, ends its colonialism and apartheid, delivers equal rights for Palestinian Israelis and recognises the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands.

Please, Woody, respect the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions.

UPDATE 12/7/12

According to JJ Goldberg’s translation of a Yediot print interview with him in Paris last week, Woody is an Israelophile who intends taking his children to apartheid, oppressive Israel to explore their father’s “Jewish culture” as if that’s only available in the settler colonial zionist entity, a secular fascist state.

Coincidentally, we don’t need to guess any longer about Allen’s feelings toward Israel. He discusses them — passionately — in an interview with Yediot Ahronot Paris correspondent Yaniv Halili, published last Friday (in Hebrew) in Yediot’s increasingly readable weekend entertainment supplement, 7 Nights. Most of it is about growing old (he hates it), the Soon-Yi scandal (the public never got it, he doesn’t read the tabloids), his non-relationship with his son and his work habits. Israel only comes up at the end, but he goes at it with gusto. I don’t have time to translate the whole thing (and it’s not online even in Hebrew, alas), but here’s the part about Israel, Jewish identity and, intriguingly, the dilemmas of his half-Jewish children’s Jewish identity:

Unlike every mother and daughter, he doesn’t light Sabbath candles. “I grew up in a Jewish atmosphere (al birkei ha-yahadut) and they made me a bar mitzvah, so clearly it’s an element that will remain in my life permanently, just like the songs I listened to on the radio when I was a child. But I don’t believe in organized religions. Most of them exploit people, and I think these clubs have nothing to do with God. Today I feel Jewish mainly when people attack me because of my being Jewish.”

About Israel, on the other hand, he has only good things to say. In practice, when Allen starts talking about Israel it’s hard to stop him. So hard that even his assertive, energetic publicist merited only a dismissive wave of the hand, indicating that she should wait until he was finished gushing about his love. “I support Israel and I’ve supported it since the day it was founded. Israel’s neighbors have treated it badly, cruelly, instead of embracing it and making it part of the Middle East family of nations. Over the years Israel has responded to these attacks in various ways, some of which I approved of and some less so. I understand that Israelis have been through hard times, I don’t expect Israel to react perfectly every time and that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a wonderful, marvelous country. I’m just worried about the rise of fundamentalism in Israel, which I think damages its interests. I also have questions about your leadership, which doesn’t always act in Israel’s best interests. But even my criticism of Israel comes from a place of love, just like when I criticize the United States. It would be a mistake not to say something if you think a country you love makes a mistake and could hurt itself.”

Then why have you never visited Israel?

“I’m not a tourist. I travel regularly to three cities that I know and love — Paris, London and Rome — and that’s it. I don’t like to leave home because I’m a bit neurotic, and when I do leave home, it’s mostly for work. I don’t like flying and I don’t consider myself a curious person who wants to see new places. There are many states in the United States that I’ve never visited. My wife is of Korean origin and she’s been trying for years to convince me to go to South Korea with her — so far, unsuccessfully. She’s also very curious about Israel and wants to go there with the girls, so they can see and understand their father’s Jewish culture. I assume we’ll go and visit Israel soon. There’s no way around it.”

Perhaps Woody’s girls will find out in Israel that they are not regarded as Jewish and even if they were born in Israel, they would be deported as happened recently to this 6 year old Asian girl.

UPDATE 17/7/12

Is the Woody Allen Israel movie a done deal? Jerusalem ‘Mayor’ Barkat met with him months ago, Peres got in a word as well recently. Beware orchestrated hasbara campaigns.

A Jerusalem municipality spokesman told Haaretz that several months ago, while on a fund-raising tour, Barkat met with Allen and Diane Keaton in a Manhattan restaurant. Barkat invited Allen to visit the capital and consider shooting a film there.

“Allen replied that he would seriously consider it,” the spokesman said. “Barkat plans to meet with Allen again during his next visit to the U.S.”

Tel Aviv made a similar offer, but Allen has not yet responded. “The Tel Aviv municipality is leading a move to position the city in the international arena,” Mayor Ron Huldai told Haaretz.

“Obviously, a film taking place in Tel Aviv would be a vehicle to promote the city abroad, and we have constant and close contacts with leading figures in Hollywood, with the government and with Israel’s cinema community, hoping that such a move will materialize.”

Related Links

Allison Kaplan Sommer quotes this blog post in Haaretz: Why I’m not bribing Woody Allen to shoot a movie in Israel
Woody Allen and ‘Self-Hating Jew’ Drivel; Is It Not Incredible?
Woody Allen expresses typical American Jewish attitudes on Israel: Loves it but has never been there
The Woody Allen Israel Project
Rob Eshman quoted by the Reut Institute from his article Six Steps to Better Israel PR from June 2010 wherein Eshman commends the Reut Institute for its propagandising intiatives: ‘Reut’s proposal to create a similarly sophisticated network of coordinated activists working on behalf of Israel is a smart start.’
Top Israeli Advocate Empowers AJC President’s Council Members to Fight Delegitimizers of Israel
Eshman publishes Reut’s Gidi Grinstein in 2008
Eshman attends a Reut conference in June 2008
Eshman supports the Reut two state position in 2011.
Eshman argues against cultural boycott of Israel in 2010

“The Tel Aviv/Los Angeles Partnership was the flagship project of [The Jewish Agency for Israel’s] Partnership 2000, and people sort of took it for granted that it was smooth sailing and very effective,” said Gidi Grinstein, president of the Reut Institute, a Tel Aviv strategy group that conducted a study of the Tel Aviv/Los Angeles Partnership in 2010.

Demonstrated Impact: One Hub at a Time

Tel-Aviv – Los Angeles Partnership [as part of Partnership 2Gether] adopts the recommendations of the Reut Institute report – Following a comprehensive evaluation of the untapped potential of the Tel Aviv – Los Angeles Partnership 2Gether (P2G) project, to serve as a platform for direct links between the Jewish communities of Los Angeles and Tel Aviv, the Jewish World taskforce presented the LA Federation with a report. This report outlines criteria for a leading and innovative 21st century model partnership, including specific recommendations for leveraging the unique assets of the TLV-LA partnership. In recent months, members of the Los Angeles Federation arrived in Israel and elected to adopt the findings and recommendations of the report, marking a new and promising chapter in the partnership. The taskforce also launched a document outlining the elements of a generic model partnership.

The Jewish Agency’s deputy chairperson of the Executive, partners with the Reut Institute on how to leverage JAFI’s new strategic plan – Against the backdrop of JAFI’s recently updated strategic plan, the Reut Institute was invited to facilitate a series of strategic discussions on the unique value and assets that JAFI’s Deputy Chairperson of the Executive can leverage in order to promote the two main drivers of JAFI’s strategic plan: Israel experiences and social activism.

Israel Leadership Council (ILC) of Los Angeles partners with the taskforce – As part of its current strategic re-visioning effort, the ILC invited the taskforce to think about its potential leadership role. In this context, a report was written and presented to ILC board members in Israel. The report includes both a theoretical framework describing the fledgling phenomenon called the organized Israeli Diaspora, as well as guidelines for how the ILC can best fit into this emerging reality. The report aimed to address the following question: How can the ILC leverage the Israeli Diaspora in the US?

Targeting individuals on discover the networks

Anatomy of a Blacklisting: A Thread in Two Blogs

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