On October 12—five days after the horrific Hamas attack on Israel, and several days into the already huge scale of civilian slaughter in Gaza—a pro-Israel cultural organization based in the U.S., Creative Community for Peace, released a statement signed by over 1,000 prominent actors, singers, directors, athletes and Hollywood and record executives condemning the Hamas attack and in support of Israel. 1 This was signed by actors Liev Schreiber, Helen Mirren, Debra Messing, Billy Porter, Andy Garcia; director Antoine Fuqua; musicians Ziggy Marley and John Fogerty; major Hollywood agents; and top record and studio executives from Universal, Paramount, Sony and more.
First we have to ask, where was such a statement in 2002 when over 1,000 Palestinians were killed by Israel, over 80 children... where was such a statement in 2009 when, again, over 1,000 Palestinians were killed, over 300 children... where was such a statement in 2014 when over 2,200 Palestinians were killed, over 500 children. Are the Palestinian people invisible to you? Do you not consider them human? Do the Palestinian babies, and teenagers, and lives, and dreams and song and dancing count for nothing?
While people should condemn the attack by the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas on civilians, in the midst of a genocidal assault on Palestinian people, this statement—that says nothing about the Israeli attacks on Palestinians, now and going back for decades—is one of outright collaboration with genocide.
After describing the ugly attack by Hamas, the statement reads, “As Israel takes the necessary steps to defend its citizens in the coming days and weeks, social media will be overrun by an orchestrated misinformation campaign spearheaded by Iran. We urge everyone to remember the horrific images that came out of Israel and to not amplify or fall for their propaganda.”
First, what Israel is doing—pummeling Gaza, starving over 2 million people, half of whom are children—are not “the necessary steps to defend [Israeli] citizens”! As of this writing, Israel has slaughtered 2,329 people in Gaza, including 724 children. And this is just the beginning of what Israel promises will be an all-out war and full-scale invasion on Gaza.
This is not Israel “defending itself,” this is a continuation of the genocidal ethnic cleansing that Israel is founded on—a brutal oppression and suppression that has continued for decades by Israel, with full backing from U.S. imperialism.
But in signing this statement, this is what these hundreds of major cultural figures were giving their full throttled backing to.
Second, this statement is trying to inoculate people against the images now flooding social media of the slaughter of Palestinians. Video after video of babies, and children—bloodied, wounded, covered in ash and rubble. Block after block in Gaza leveled. Two million people now without access to food, water, electricity... being forcibly starved, hospitals overrun, ambulances filled with civilian maiming and death. But these voices from Hollywood have said ahead of time that people should keep in mind and “remember the horrific images that came out of Israel and to not amplify” what they say will be a “misinformation campaign spearheaded by Iran.”
The statement ends that, “Our thoughts are with all those experiencing unfathomable levels of fear and violence, and we hope for the day when Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in peace.” But without condemning, or even mentioning, the absolutely disproportionate character of the oppressor nation of Israel—a nuclear-armed, highly militarized nation fully backed and funded by U.S. imperialism—actively oppressing the nation of Palestine, this can only end up being an empty declaration to cover your bases while you wave the Israeli flag and ignore the “unfathomable levels of fear and violence” brought down on Palestinian people by Israel! (And if there's any lack of clarity, when the Creative Community for Peace posted this statement on social media, they wrote in the caption: “We are here to make it clear that Hollywood stands with Israel and stands against Hamas terrorism.”)
All this is aimed at keeping people in the arts and throughout Hollywood silent in the face of U.S.-backed atrocities. People throughout the entertainment industry are terrified that speaking up in support of Palestinians could risk being blacklisted and affect their ability to work—and many are coming under attack when they do speak out. Right now, in the face of mass Palestinian death—with more terror promised—no person of conscience should stand aside. And those who signed this statement should rescind their name and raise your voice against the U.S.-backed Israeli genocidal slaughter of Gaza. People in the U.S., and people of Jewish descent, have a special responsibility to declare loudly and defiantly: NOT IN OUR NAME!
Several years ago, Bob Avakian, the revolutionary leader and architect of the new communism, made an essential point about the right and wrong way to understand the meanings of “Never Again” in response to the Nazi Holocaust against Jewish people:
There's a very important example negatively, that we should all learn from, in the state of Israel. The experience of Jewish people throughout centuries, in Europe and other places, of being bitterly discriminated against and viciously persecuted; and then under the rule of the Nazis during the time of World War 2, being literally exterminated with six million annihilated by the Nazis, certainly ranks at the very top of the whole history of crimes against humanity. But in response to this, among Jewish people—including those who survived that Holocaust—there have been two different and opposite responses. One is “Never Again! Never again must this happen to any people anywhere.” But the other is, “Because of what has been done to our people, anything we do from now on is justified.” So you find them founding the state of Israel on the basis of bloodthirsty ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people who lived there which is now reaching genocidal proportions. No! Our answer has to be the first. Never again shall this happen to any people anywhere, we need to move to a world beyond all that!”
Bob Avakian on the Existential Crisis Facing Israel (from
To learn how to move beyond all that, watch The Bob Avakian Interviews on The RNL—Revolution, Nothing Less!—Show at youtube.com/therevcoms.
If you're in Los Angeles, DO NOT MISS the chance to come together with others on Tuesday night, October 17, 7:30 pm for:
A Special Screening of Selections from The Bob Avakian Interviews
The Hudson Theaters, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood
Buy tickets HERE.