Israel’s War Against Palestine: Documenting the Military Occupation of Palestinian and Arab Lands

Making History: Support for Israeli Artists Who Say NO to Normalizing Settlements

7 September 2010

Jewish Voice for Peace (undated)

When some 60 leading Israeli actors and playwrights signed a letter stating they would refuse to play in the new theatre in Ariel, one of Israel’s largest settlements, the attacks from Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport and many others were swift and intense. Over 150 leading Israeli academics and writers-including Amos Oz and David Grossman- came to their defense. It was the first time such mainstream figures had drawn a line around normalizing settlements which are illegal according to international law, and which constitute one of the main impediments to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

Inspired by their courage, and responding to a call for international support, Jewish Voice for Peace has developed a statement that has been signed by over 150 theater and film professionals representing some of the most respected and renowned artists in theater, film and television – including Four Pulitzer Prize winners, several recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships, a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Medal of Honor,and scores of recipients of the highest U.S. acting honors, including Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and the Oscar.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace: “The response of American and UK artists to the courageous actions of their Israeli counterparts is just phenomenal. It is especially notable that so many of the signatories are Jewish with long-standing connections to Israel. We hope that the strong show of solidarity by Americans and UK actors in response to these brave Israelis will help spark a new conversation in both countries, one that acknowledges that the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are illegal by every measure of international law, contribute to the daily violation of human rights of Palestinians, and are a major obstacle to a just peace in the region.”

For further background and frequently asked questions, click here.

Coverage of original Israeli artists protest:
Ynet: Artists to refuse to perform in Ariel culture hall

New York Times: Boycott of Theater in Israeli Settlement Grows

UK Guardian: Actors boycott West Bank Theater

Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz: Puppet Theater
Ha’aretz Editorial: Stalin’s Commissar in the PMO

Coverage of our support campaign:

Ha’aretz article with quotes from Wallace Shawn: US actors back boycott of Ariel theater

Ynet: Artists’ boycott of Ariel goes international
Mondoweiss: Groundbreaking Letter

Tikkun Olam: Hollywood, Broadway stars support Israeli cultural boycott

Text of the statement:

On August 27th, dozens of Israeli actors, directors, and playwrights made the brave decision not to perform in Ariel, one of the largest of the West Bank settlements, which by all standards of international law are clearly illegal.  As American actors, directors, critics and playwrights, we salute our Israeli counterparts for their courageous decision.

Most of us are involved in daily compromises with wrongful acts. When a group of people suddenly have the clarity of mind to see that the next compromise looming up before them is an unbearable one  — and when they somehow find the strength to refuse to cross that line  —  we can’t help but be overjoyed and inspired and grateful.

It’s thrilling to think that these Israeli theatre artists have refused to allow their work to be used to normalize a cruel occupation which they know to be wrong, which violates international law and which is impeding the hope for a just and lasting peace for Israelis an Palestinians alike.  They’ve made a wonderful decision, and they deserve the respect of people everywhere who dream of justice. We stand with them.

*Statement organizers and signatories represent a wide range of political opinions and perspectives, but have come together for the sole purpose of making a joint statement on this one critical issue.
**All identifications and affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsements by any institutions

Ed Asner
8 time Emmy award Winner (more than any other male actor); Former president Screen Actors Guild, lead voice in Pixar’s Up, Mary Tyler Moore

Theodore Bikel
Actor, Folk Singer, Musician
Co-founder of the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv; president of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America; Academy Award nominee; Tony Award nominee; actor in film, TV and theater; vocalist

Eve Ensler
Playwright, preformer
The Vagina Monologues; Obie Award winner; Guggenheim Fellowship

Tony Kushner
Playwright; Screenwriter;
Pulitzer Prize winner for Angels in America; Tony Award winner; Emmy Award winner; Drama Desk Award winner; Was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award; Co-author of Munich

Miriam Margolyes
Portrayed Professor Sprout in Harry Potter; BAFTA Winner

Julianne Moore
Boogie Nights, Magnolia, The Big Lebowski,
The Hours, The Kids Are All Right

Cynthia Nixon
Portrayed Miranda Hobbes in the HBO series Sex and the City; Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress

Mandy Patinkin
Actor, Vocalist
Actor in Yentl, the Princess Bride (portrayed Inigo Montoya), Sunday in the Park with George; Vocalist, (Mamaloshen), Tony Award winner

Harold Prince
Director, Producer,
21 Tony Awards winner (Pajama Game, Cabaret, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Evita, Phantom of the Opera), National Medal of the Arts Recipient

Vanessa Redgrave
The only British actress to ever have won the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Canes, Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild awards; Mission: Impossible, Mary Queen of Scots, Atonement.

James Schamus
Producer, Screenwriter, Film Historian
BAFTA Award Winner; producer of Brokeback Mountain, co-writer and producer of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Ice Storm, Eat Drink Man Woman, Academy Award nominee, CEO Focus Features

Wallace Shawn
Actor, Playwright, Translator
Actor in Princess Bride (portrayed Vizzini) My Dinner With Andre, Vanya on 42nd St; playwright of The Fever, The Designated Mourner; translator of Three Penny Opera by  Bertoldt Brecht

Jennifer Tilly
Portrayed Olive Neal in Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway, Fabulous Baker Boys, Liar Liar, Bound; Academy Award Nominee

David Adjmi
Steinberg Playwright Award, the Bush Artists Fellowship, and the Kesselring Fellowship for Drama, named in the New Yorker as up and coming playwright

Bruce Allardice
Managing Director
Ping Chong & Co.

Philip Arnoult
Director, Center for International Theatre Development (CITD)

Anthony Arnove
Author and Editor
Co-Directed (with Howard Zinn and Chris Moore) and Executive Produced “The People Speak (film)

Caron Atlas
Cultural Organizer and Consultant
Project Director, Arts and Democracy Project

Arthur Aviles
Artistic Director
Artistic Director, The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre

David Barlow
Actor, Writer, Performance Artist

Laura Barnett
Theater Educator, Performance Artist, Director

George Bartenieff
Obie Award Winner

Mark Barton
Lighting Designer

John Bell
Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, Puppeteer, Scholar, Great Small Works.

Melia Bensussen
Obie Award Winning Director; Chair of Emerson College Department of Performing Arts

Eric Bentley
Theatre scholar, critic, author, playwright, editor and translator

Theodore S. Berger
Executive Director of the New York Foundation for the Arts for thirty years

Susan Bernfield
Artistic Director, New Georges

Philip Bither
Senior curator, Walker Arts Center

James Bundy
Dean, Yale School of Drama;  Artistic Director, Yale Repertory Theatre

Kathleen Chalfant
Obie Award Winner, Drama Desk Winner, Tony Award Nominee

Linda Chapman
Associate Artistic Director, New York Theatre Workshop

Rachel Chavkin
Director; Founder and Artistic director of the TEAM (the Theater of the Emerging American Moment)

Trudi Cohen
Puppeteer, Theater Artist
Great Small Works

Kia Corthron

Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas

Clare Coss

Alex Courtney
Stage, Film and Television Actor

Tim Cusack
Artistic Director, Theatre Askew

Savitri D.
The Church of Life After Shopping

Matthew Dellapina

Ivor Dembina

David J. Diamond
Theatre consultant, Producer

Elin Diamond
Critic, Scholar

Liz Diamond
Chair, Directing Dept., Yale School of Drama

Sally Eberhardt
Theatres Against War (THAW)

Edward Einhorn
Director, Playwright, Novelist, Executive Director of the Association of Jewish Theatre

Deborah Eisenberg
Playwright, Author, Actor, MacArthur Fellow

John Clinton Eisner
Artistic Director, Lark Play Development Center

Oskar Eustis
Artistic Director, The Public Theater

Bertie Ferdman, Ph.D.
Artistic Director, ExPgirl; Theatre Artist, Curator, Producer, Educator

Corey Fischer
Actor, Playwright
Playwright of See Under: Love; co-founder of the Traveling Jewish Theater,(now the Jewish Theater San Francisco)

Elinor Fuchs
Critic; Scholar, Yale School of Drama

Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros
2004 finalist, Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Adam Greenfield
Director of New Play Development, Playwright Horizons

David Greenspan
Actor, Award-Winning Playwright

Andre Gregory
Actor, Director
My Dinner With Andre

Kathryn Grody
Actor; Writer
Obie Award Winner

Jason Grote
Playwright, Screenwriter

Del Hamilton
co-Founder and Artistic Director, 7 Stages

Sheldon Harnick
Pulitzer Prize Winner, Fiddler on the Roof, Tony Award Winner

Karen Hartman

David Herskovits
Founder and Artistic Director, Target Margin Theater

Joan Holden
Award-Winning Playwright

Jeffrey Horowitz
Founder and Artistic Director, Theater for a New Audience
Advisory Board of The Shakespeare Society and Artistic Directorate of London’s Globe Theatre, Artistic Advisor to the Shakespeare Globe Centre (USA).

Holly Hughes
Performance Artist, Guggenheim Fellow
One of the “NEA 4″, whose funding was vetoed for gay content

Birgit Huppuch

Bill Irwin
Actor, Mime, Choreographer
Winner two Tony Awards ;Winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer’s Fellowship; Guggenheim, Fulbright and MacArthur Fellowships

Julia Jarcho
Playwright, Director, Performer

Morgan Jenness

John Jesurun
Writer, Director, Multi-Media Artist

Jeffrey M. Jones
Playwright, Curator –
Little Theatre @ Dixon Place, Pataphysics @ The Flea

Melanie Joseph
Artistic Producer
The Foundry Theatre

Chris Kam
Independent Producer

Stephen Kaplin
Puppeteer, Theater Designer/Performer
Great Small Works and Chinese Theatre Works

Melissa Kievman

Josh Kornbluth

Aaron Landsman
Independent Artist

Paul Lazar
Co-Artistic Director Big Dance Theater

Herbert Leibowitz
Writer and Editor

Maxinne Rhea Leighton

Robert H. Leonard
Director, Professor, Department of Theatre Arts, Virginia Tech

Gideon Lester
Dramaturg and Curator
Former associate artistic director, American Repertory Theatre; former Acting Artistic Director, American Repertory Theatre

Roberta Levitow
Co-Founder, Theatre Without Borders

Irene Lewis
Artistic Director
Center Stage, Baltimore, Maryland

Ethan Lipton

Casey Llewellyn
Theater Artist

Quincy Long

John Carroll Lynch

Kirk Lynn
Co-Producing Artistic Director
Rude Mechs, Austin, TX

Matthew Maguire
Co-Artistic Director, Creation Production Company

Matthew Maher

Judith Malina
Actor Director
Founder and Artistic Director, The Living Theatre

Karen Malpede
Playwright, Theater Three Collaborative

Nina Mankin
Dramaturge, Writer

Emily Mann
Artistic Director/Playwright
McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton, NJ

Deborah Margolin
Playwright, Actor, Scholar

Vijay Mathew
Co-Director, American Voices New Play Institute

Marin Mazzie
Actress, Singer

Ellen McLaughlin
Playwright; Actor

Erin Mee
Director, Scholar
Swarthmore theater arts professor

Greg Mehrten
Actor, Director, Writer

David Michalek
Artist, Photographer
Visiting Faculty Member – Yale Divinity School

Tyler Micoleau
Lighting Designer

Tim Miller
Performance Artist
One of the “NEA 4″, whose funding was vetoed for gay content

Jennifer Miller
Performance Artist, director
Founder and Artistic Director of Circus Amok

Steve Moore
Artistic Director
Physical Plant Theater

Susan Mosakowski
Co-Artistic Director Creation Production Company

David Moscow

Erika Munk
Critic, Professor
Formerly at Yale School of Drama

Tom Nelis

Jim Nicola
Artistic Director
New York Theatre Workshop

Lynn Nottage
Winner of 2009 Pulitzer Prize; winner of 2007 MacArthur Genius Award

Annie-B Parson
Co-Founder, Artistic director Big Dance Theater, NYFA and Guggenheim Fellow

Sally Ann Parsons
Costumer, Craftsman, Designer

Shailja Patel
Sundance Theatre Fellow 2010

Katie Pearl

Sybille Pearson
Rockefeller Playwrights Fellowship; founding member of The Playwrights Circle at The New York Theatre Workshop; an Artistic Resident at the Vineyard Theater

Ralph Pena
Artistic Director, Ma Yi Theater

Carla Peterson
Artistic Director, Dance Theater Workshop

Brian Pickett
Theater Artist and Educator
Member Steering Committee – Theaters Against War (THAW)

Catherine Porter
Co-Artistic Director Peculiar Works Project, Obie Award Winner

Ruth Reichl
writer; PBS Television host
former restaurant critic, NYTimes, former editor in chief, Gourmet magazine, PBS television series host, memoirist


Gordon Rogoff
Theater Critic; Director; Professor of Theater
Yale School of Drama; Obie Award Winner

Jenny Romaine
Puppeteer, Theater Artist
Great Small Works

Avital Ronell
Writer, Academic, Literary Critic

Najla Said
Actor, Playwright
Daughter of Edward Said; “Palestine,” Her one-woman Off Broadway play is a coming-of-age story about Ms. Said’s journey to become an Arab-American on her own terms.

Sarah Schulman
Novelist; Playwright

Ken Rus Schmoll

Brian H. Scott
Theatrical Designer

Regine Anna Seckinger, Ph.D.
Advisory Board Member, Rude Mechanicals, Austin, TX

Jamil Shamasdin

Peggy Shaw
Performance Artist, Actor, Playwright

Christopher Shinn
Obie Award Winner, Guggenheim Fellow

Jeanmarie Simpson
Theatre/Film Artist

Michael Singer
Television News Producer
Former producer, CBS News

Alisa Solomon
Theater Critic abd Dramaturge
Director of Arts Concentration, School of Journalism, Columbia

Bonnie Stein
Performing Arts Administrator, Manager, Project Producer and Coordinator, Executive Director
GOH Productions

Kris Stone
Stage Designer

Mark Sussman
Scholar, Puppeteer Director.
Great Small Works; Concordia University

Caridad Svich
Playwright, Songwriter, Translator, Editor

Bill Talen
The Church of Life After Shopping

Kathleen Tolan
Playwright, Actor

Basil Twist
Obie Award Winner

Charlie Varon
Playwright, Performer

Paula Vogel
Playwright, Scholar
Pulitzer Prize Winner, Eugene O’Neill Chair, Playwriting Department -Yale School of Drama

Naomi Wallace
Playwright, Screenwriter

Anne Washburn
Guggenheim Fellow

Donya K. Washington

Stephen Webber

Brenda Wehle

Mac Wellman
Playwright, Author, Poet, Scholar
Donald I. Fine Professor of Play writing at Brooklyn College

Anabelle Winograd
Writer, Critic, Educator

Eunice Wong

Kristina Wong
Award-Wnning Solo Performer and Writer.

Susan Yankowitz
Award-Winning Playwright and Librettist

David Zellnik
Playwright, Screenwriter, Lyricist

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