Some 300 Hollywood elite published an ad in The New York Times holding Hamas responsible for the “devastating loss of life” in the latest Hamas-Israel conflict.
Actors to directors to studio heads signed the statement, which was sponsored by the Creative Community for Peace, a group found by the Forward in October 2013, to be tied closely to StandWithUs, a hardline pro-Israel organization.
Formed in 2011, CCFP partnered with StandWithUs, a group widely perceived as being on the far right of the pro-Israel spectrum, which accepts tax deductible donations on CCFP’s behalf. CCFP’s founding member David Renzer, has stated that his group has “always operated independently” of StandWithUs. But the Forward found that, like its partner group, CCFP rejects the U.S. position that settlements are an obstacle to peace and disputes the use of the term “occupation” to describe Israel’s military rule over the West Bank’s more than 2.5 million Palestinians.
Among the signers of CCFP’s Gaza statement are Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Seth Rogen, Aaron Sorkin, Roseanne Barr, Sherry Lansing, Sarah Silverman and Kathy Ireland. It is unclear if the signers were aware of the group’s positions on the occupation or its relationship with StandWithUs.
“Hamas cannot be allowed to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage,” the statement reads. “Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields.”
The statement laments the “devastating loss of life endured by Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza” and expresses ” hope for a solution that brings peace to the region.”
Amid the conflict, the statement had been published in August in Hollywood publications including Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. The statement with additional signatures reportedly will be printed in international publications.
The statement concludes: “We join together in support of the democratic values we all cherish and in the hope that the healing and transformative power of the arts can be used to build bridges of peace.”
Creative Community for Peace was formed to counter the singling-out of Israel as a target for cultural boycotts.