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Reflections by Lana Melman: Those beautiful Stars of David

Monsters descended on Israel’s southern border on October 7.

While Israeli and international families mourn the horrifying torture and murder of their loved ones, university students blame Israelis for the atrocities committed against them and university presidents have lost their moral compass.

The thin line between Israel bashing and Jew hatred continues to dissolve before our eyes. Participants in massive anti-Israel rallies worldwide shout, “Gas the Jews” and “We are Hamas.”

Lana Melman
Courtesy of Lana Melman
Lana Melman. Courtesy of Lana Melman

Yes, incomprehensibly, too many are justifying and even applauding the savage attack. But not everybody.

When I tour with my book, Artists Under Fire, people often ask me why people in “Hollywood” don’t stand up for Israel. That assumption is a misconception that needs to be corrected because they do.

Just a day after 260 young souls were chased across the sand and brutally mowed down at an Israeli music festival, the Irish band U2 revised the lyrics to the song “Pride (In the Name of Love)” at a Las Vegas concert as a tribute to the fallen. “Those beautiful stars of David,” Bono sang, “they took your life but could not take your pride.”

Members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) have been especially outspoken on their social platforms despite vitriolic responses.

To name a few, Amy Schumer posted about the long history of Jewish persecution, the Jewish right to self-determination, and asked her non-Jewish followers to support their Jewish friends.

Debra Messing called out Hamas’s mission in clear terms calling it “an internationally recognized terrorist group, backed by Iran, whose doctrine-stated-mission is to kill every Jew in the world.”

Viola Davis, reposted a statement on her Instagram which said, “if you have less empathy towards victims because of how you feel about their government, propaganda is working on you.” Davis added the following comment, “I pray for the safe return of all hostages and peace.”

Young actor Noah Schnapp of Stranger Things called out the loathsome celebration and glee over Israeli deaths. ”If you justify or excuse the atrocities committed by Hamas, something is wrong with you,” he says. “Have people lost their minds??? STOP!”

Sharing her thoughts on calls for a ceasefire, Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot exclaimed at a recent Los Angeles event, “Not a word about the abductees, but let’s ceasefire now. What? What are you talking about?”

Jim Gaffigan asks on Twitter, “Does anyone else feel the need to call all their Jewish friends and say, ‘Okay, you weren’t being paranoid?”

Entertainment companies have also called out the atrocity and/or donated to humanitarian efforts in Israel including Comcast, Paramount Global, and Disney.

Disney’s CEO Bob Iger issued a memo saying, “I speak for myself and for the entire company in condemning these attacks, the hate that motivated them, and all acts of terrorism.”

A statement from the Directors Guild of America went further and condemned “the growing spread of antisemitism here in the US and abroad” and promised to “remain committed in our actions, words and deeds to supporting the Jewish people.”

SAG-AFTRA called the attack “a fundamental violation of human rights and dignity.”

Over a thousand members of the entertainment industry signed a statement circulated by Creative Community for Peace warning the world not to forget the atrocities or be influenced by disinformation and propaganda. Signatories include Chris Pine, Liev Schreiber, Michael Douglas, Antoine Fuqua, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, and Billy Porter.

Hundreds of artists signed an open letter addressed to President Biden dubbed “No Hostages Left Behind”. It thanks the President for his “unshakable moral conviction, leadership, and support for the Jewish people, who have been terrorized by Hamas since the group’s founding over 35 years ago, and for the Palestinians, who have also been terrorized, oppressed, and victimized by Hamas for the last 17 years that the group has been governing Gaza.”

Signatories include Michelle Williams, Adam Sandler, Madonna, Chris Rock, Gwyneth Paltrow, Katy Perry, Courteney Cox, Billy Crystal, Bradley Cooper, Justin Timberlake, Jordan Peele, Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Will Ferrell, and Paul Rudd.

On the other hand, a recent open letter to President Biden called “Artists Call for a Cease-fire Now” emphasizes the suffering of the Palestinian people. Signed by just 51 members of the entertainment community, it fails to condemn Hamas while giving only a nod to the over 200 hostages and the atrocities committed against innocent people in Israel.

The letter seems oblivious to many ways that Hamas is causing the Palestinian people to suffer such as by hoarding fuel, converting civilian facilities like hospitals into military targets, discouraging (and even preventing) civilian evacuations, not to mention the lack of freedom of speech and the press and human rights violations. Signatories include Jessica Chastain, Jon Stewart, Kristen Stewart, and Mark Ruffalo.

Instead of pressuring the Israelis to put down their weapons, we should be urging Egyptians to temporarily open their arms to the innocent and stop the senseless deaths. Then when the terrorists are gone from Gaza’s midst, we must urge the world to help them rebuild the land free from hate. Japan did it, Germany did it, Gaza can do it.

The way to liberate the Palestinian people is to eliminate Hamas leadership. I agree with actress/producer Noa Tishby when she says, “Yes, Israel will free Gaza. It will free Gaza from Hamas.”

Lana Melman is the CEO of Liberate Art and the author of Artists Under Fire: The BDS War against Celebrities, Jews, and Israel. She is a 20-year veteran of the entertainment industry and has been a leader in the fight against the cultural boycott campaign against Israel since 2011. Learn more or contact www.liberateart.net

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