D-List Ha’aretz Journalist Attacks Celebrities Visiting Israel

Have you heard of Itamar Zohar?
Neither had I. And if you Google his name, you get this guy in the top results:

Definitely not the same guy.

The younger, obscure Itamar is a journalist for Ha’aretz. Which means he has written a hit piece against the recent crop of celebrities that graced out shores with America’s Voices in Israel.

Almost Famous: Israel Recruits D-list Celebrities to Counter BDS

Why should the government pay for flights and stays of Hollywood actors in order to combat the boycott movement?

If in the next few days you come across social media photos of minor American actors who are in Israel, either at the Western Wall or the Jordan River, you should know that they are the guests of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. As part of his roles as information minister and strategic affairs minister, and as part of the cabinet’s efforts to block the campaign calling to boycott Israel, Erdan invited actors Daniel Dae Kim (“Lost” and “Hawaii-Five-O”), Meagan Good (“Deception”), Sonequa Martin-Green and Kenric Green (“The Walking Dead”) and Mark Pellegrino (“Dexter” and “Supernatural”) to Israel.

You don’t recognize these names? You’re not alone. On their Instagram pages you’ll at least be able to find out what they did here – visit the Western Wall and the Dead Sea, while making sure to stay away from politics. Daniel Dae Kim stressed on Instagram that his visit to Jerusalem was apolitical. Of course it was. But coming on a government-sponsored visit posed no problem for him.

The visit of this delegation of minor Hollywood actors was the initiative of America’s Voices in Israel, an organization that strives to promote Israel’s image in the United States. It has already sponsored similar visits in the past. It now appears that the government wishes to join this initiative.

The question is, why should the government pay for flights and stays of Hollywood actors, well-known or less-known, in order to combat the boycott movement? This money could have been used to help people who live here, not for casual visitors who will forget what they saw here by next week.

Even if, as the official description of their visit contends, “they will document their visit for 50 million of their followers on social media,” their ability to impact anything here is marginal. For them it’s a freebie, an opportunity to collect yet another country’s stamp in their passports while touring it at someone else’s expense.

It’s all well and good to build bridges between Israel and international communities from all spheres of life. It’s actually important to do so, really. But first, it would be better to build bridges between neighboring countries in the Middle East. As long as that isn’t happening it would be better to present visitors with a more complete picture, including the occupation and all it entails. It may not show as well as Hollywood in photos, but that’s the true picture.

What a dishonest piece.

For a start, the celebrities are very popular and well known, acting in some of the most popular shows on television and movies, and having large followings on social media. For example:

  • Meagan Good: Acts in prime time show Deception, but has also featured in films including 2011, Think Like a Man, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and Saw V. She has 5.3 million page likes on Facebook and close to 1.6 million followers on Twitter.
  • Sonequa Martin-Green: Has acted in popular shows like Once Upon A Time and The Walking Dead. She has a million followers on Instagram and over half a million followers on Twitter.
  • Mark Pellegrino: Has acted in countless popular shows, including Lost, Dexter, Supernatural, and The Mentalist, and movies including The Big Lebowski. Has close to half a million followers on Twitter and 186,000 on Instagram.
  • Daniel Dae Kim: Has acted in popular shows like Lost and Hawaii Five-0. Has close to 200,000 followers on Twitter and a similar amount on Instagram.

These celebrities may not be “A-listers” (a term reserved for the most famous actors who are exceptionally successful to extent their name alone almost guarantees a box office hit), but they are closer to being “B-listers” as successful television actors. Saying they are “D-listers” is plain nasty…and wrong. Likewise with calling them “minor actors” – they have acted in some of the most popular shows on TV and have relatively large followings.

Contending that “their ability to impact anything here is marginal” betrays a complete ignorance of the power of social media. With such large followings, they have people hanging off their every word and photograph (as opposed to Itamar, whose 214 followers on Twitter and 820 on Instagram likely don’t pay too much attention)

Claiming they come here just for the free trip is also highly dishonest. For example, take Mark Pellegrino. I know him personally, and can vouch that he came here because he really wanted to learn more and make a difference. Do you see anything but sincerity here?

Plus as I posted last week, he even spent time while here to defend Israel against the haters.

The icing on the stale cake from this journalist is this:

But first, it would be better to build bridges between neighboring countries in the Middle East. As long as that isn’t happening it would be better to present visitors with a more complete picture, including the occupation and all it entails.

Israel has gone out of its way to “build bridges” with our neighbors, only to be rebuffed time and again (although things are improving now with the common threat of Iran). As for presenting “the occupation and all it entails”, dumb is too kind a word to describe this suggestion. Perhaps “typical of Ha’aretz” is more apt.

Itamar, I suggest you worry less about the profile of others and work on your own by being a credible journalist. At the moment, you are far from that and seem rather obscure. I am guessing you will become slighly more well known after this blog post – but for all the wrong reasons.

5 thoughts on “D-List Ha’aretz Journalist Attacks Celebrities Visiting Israel”

  1. Itamar Zohar is as dumb as an inbred Donkey. He does not realize that when the Arabs yell “Itabach al-Yahoud” they are referring to him too. Haaretz needs to be shut down as an enemy newspaper..

    1. Unfortunately Israelis, even the ones who should know better, are quite fond of the Haaretz mob – it gives lers them say that they value diversity, tolerance (for crazies), and multiculturalism.

  2. socialists are always jealous and vengeful. why can’t they give the money to…..me? why not big stars like….me?
    you hate Israel so much, there is a felafel guy on 11th Ave in NYC who needs kitchen help. i am sure you will become famous that way.

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