The Day In Israel: Thurs Oct 8th, 2009

Believe it or not, anti-Israel celebrity Vanessa Redgrave has opposed those who protested the Toronto Film Festival’s decision to showcase Tel Aviv.

British actress Vanessa Redgrave – a well-known critic of Israel – has joined the controversy surrounding the Toronto Film Festival’s decision to showcase Tel Aviv, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

Only this time, she is on Israel’s side.

In a letter to the New York Review of Books co-signed by artist Julian Schnabel and playwright Martin Sherman, Redgrave defends the festival’s choice to spotlight Tel Aviv and denounces those who have called for a boycott.

“We oppose the current Israeli government, but it is a government,” Redgrave and her co-signatories wrote in their letter, “Freely elected. Not a regime. Words matter.”

Redgrave and her co-signatories went on to say in their letter that the films being showcase in Toronto deserved applause and encouragment, precisely because they were created by Israeli troubled by their own government’s actions:

“Thousands of Palestinians have died through the years because the Israeli government, military, and part of the population fervently believe that the Arab states and, indeed, much of the world do not want Israel to exist.

“How then are we halting this never-ending cycle of violence by promoting the very fears that cause it?

“Many citizens of Tel Aviv are particularly aware of the situation of the Palestinians and are concerned about their government’s policies and their country’s future. And none more so than the Tel Aviv creative community. This is exemplified by Israeli films that criticize their government’s behavior.

“These citizens of Tel Aviv and their organizations and their cultural outlets should be applauded and encouraged.

“We do not agree that this involvement is a reason to shun or protest, picket or boycott, or ban people who are expressing thoughts and confronting grief that, ironically, many of the protesters share.”

Artists who called for a boycott included John Grayson, Danny Glover and David Byrne and Jane Fonda – though Fonda later retracted her decision. Meanwhile, a number of Hollywood Jews, including Jerry Seinfeld, Sacha Baron Cohen and Natalie Portman, issued a counter statement in defense of the festival’s decision.

Meanwhile, here is Redgrave’s infamous “Zionist hoodlum” Oscar speech of 1978.

Notice who is the first person to appear in the footage.

That was Jane Fonda, who supported the Toronto Film Festival protest.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:40PM: Israel is considering recalling recalling its ambassador to Stockholm in light of Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt’s remarks in support of the Goldstone report.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon called to re-examine Israel’s relations with Sweden.

“It is a shame that a person who refused to respond to the blood libel against Israel has come out in praise of this unprofessional report,” Ayalon told Ynet Thursday evening

5:48PM: A 15-year-old Arab boy has been killed after shots were fired at a school bus traveling between two Israeli-Arab villages. Police are looking into the possibility that the shooting revolved around a dispute between students.

5:32PM: Hamas claims to be preparing legal responses to the report’s findings of Hamas war crimes.

And as you can see, they feel confident they can rely on the Goldstone report itself, as well as previous Human Rights Watch findings, to validate their position.

Islamic Hamas movement started preparing “legal responses” to its accusations in a UN fact-finding mission’s report about Israel’s last winter war in the Gaza Strip, officials said on Thursday.

The report by South African Justice Richard Goldstone “was not built on true information regarding Hamas” which controls Gaza, said Mushier al-Massri, a Hamas lawmaker.

The 575-page report accused Israel of committing war crimes during its December 27 to January 18 war and also said that Hamas’ rocket attacks on southern Israel communities violated laws of war.

Al-Massri told Xinhua that a team of legal experts and other leaders from Hamas is working “to present clarifications to Goldstone’s committee because its members have not had complete information.”

Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas leader and a member of the legal committee, told reporters that “the committee “will send its answers to the judge Goldstone as soon as they are ready.”

“The committee will put evidences that prove the opposite to Hamas’ and the resistance factions’ accusations,” Zahar said.

He added that the Hamas experts “will base their evidences on other international reports by rights groups, such Human Rights Watch (HRW) which denied that Hamas militants have used civilians as human shields.”

Zahar was referring to the New York-based rights organization which in March said that there was no evidence of Hamas using human shields in the vicinity at the time of Israeli attacks in various parts of Gaza (a report researched and written by Human Rights Watch staff Marc Garlasco, later revealed to have an unhealthy Nazi memorabilia fetish, for which he is unrepentant – ed.) In a later report, HRW has clearly said that Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel amounted to war crimes.

Meanwhile, Zahar referred to the Israeli bombing of a UN school in Jabaliya refugee camp, defending his movement. From the 35 people who were killed on Jan. 6 attack on al-Fakhoura school, “there was no militant and no fighter was registered” among the casualties. “If Hamas was using the residents as shields, militants would have been killed in that attack.” (Regarding this claim, see here -ed).

Though the Goldstone report does not exclude Israeli allegations that the army fired at the school, which was sheltering about 1,300 people, in response to Palestinian rocket attacks form the area, it considered “the credibility of Israel’s position damaged by the series of inconsistencies, contradictions and factual inaccuracies in the statements justifying the attack.”

4:35PM: Another casualty of Israel’s “blockade” on Gaza: zebra-loving children!

donkey zebras - Reuters

Palestinian boys ride dyed donkeys at Marah Land zoo in Gaza City October 8, 2009. Two white donkeys dyed with black stripes delighted Palestinian kids at a small Gaza zoo on Thursday who had never seen a zebra in the flesh. A genuine zebra would have been too expensive to bring into Israel-blockaded Gaza via the smuggling tunnels under the border with Egypt, said zoo owner Mohammed Bargouthi. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem (GAZA SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT ANIMALS)

Hey, if the palestinians can fool the world into believing there really was such a thing as a Palestinian nation, they are certainly capable of fooling children into believing a donkey with painted stripes is a zebra.

4:22PM: Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt said he supports the Goldstone report which claims Israel committed war crimes during Operation Cast lead, and says we erred in not cooperating with the probe.

Perhaps he thinks if we investigate, the organ harvesting claims will be proven true.

1:55PM: Today’s Jerusalem Post caption blooper.

goldstone blooperEither that, or he’s found G-d.

9:44AM: A US official has said President Barack Obama is impatient with the current situation (regarding the “peace process”) and expects the sides to move forward.

With all due respect to the President, I would rather we did not rush into anything, especially when lives are at stake, and especially considering we have been so badly burned by all the concessions we have already made.

8:00AM: Quote of the day:

“Building the road to the establishment of an independent state will not be furnished with flowers.”

- Palestinian “Prime Minister” Salam Fayyad

If the palestinians have their way, it might just be furnished with candies.

7:53AM: Highlights from yesterday’s Abbas shoe toss.

7:46AM: The UN Security Council yesterday rejected Libya’s request to hold an emergency session on the Goldstone Report, but did decide to bring forward a scheduled monthly meeting on the Middle East from October 20th to the 14th.

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About Aussie Dave

An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and girlie drinks