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

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.

JVP supports divestment from and boycotts of companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. This includes companies operating in or from occupied Palestinian territory, exploiting Palestinian labor and scarce environmental resources, providing materials or labor for settlements, or producing military or other equipment or materials used to violate human rights or to profit from the Occupation. Download our full statement on the Palestinian-led BDS movement.



Associated Press: Israeli artists boycott new theater in settlement
Christian Science Monitor: As Netanyahu pushes for settlement freeze deal, suburban Ariel could be sticking point
Jewish Telegraph Agency: Israeli TV, Film directors join Ariel theater boycott
Jewish Telegraph Agency: Ariel theater opening pits left and right in fight over who is hurting Israel 
Jewish Telegraph Agency: Education students boycott Ariel
Ha’aretz: Prominent film, television artists join boycott of West Bank arts center
Ynet: Students join Ariel boycott
Project Democracy: The Ariel Cultural Center: A crucible for Israeli democracy

+972 Magazine: My prime minister called me a backstabber
Did Remez: Yaron London endorses cultural boycott of Ariel


Guardian: Architects against Israeli occupation
Ha’aretz: Frank Gehry, Daniel Barenboim join Ariel boycott campaign

Jerusalem Post: Gehry, Barenboim join boycott of W. Bank settlements

Jewish Chronicle: Frank Gehry backs settlement boycott
Architectural Record: Gehry Signs Letter in Support of Israeli Performers’ Boycott
Building Design: Gehry joins Israel boycott over West Bank settlements
Archiitect’s Newspaper:
  Gehry Supports Israeli Settlement Boycott
New York Times: A West Bank Enclave is on the Edge
Forward: Why Some Jewish Stars Support Israeli Artistic Boycott

Jerusalem Post: US artists’ support for settlement boycott spreading fast

LA Times: Hollywood shows some support for Israeli actors’ refusal to perform in West Bank settlement

Theodore Bikel Op-Ed in Huffington Post: Legitimizing an obstacle to peace
Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon in the Nation:
An Unsettling Protest in Israel
Yale Daily News: Professors support Israeli artists’ boycott

Associated Press: US artists support Israelis’ settlement protest.
Jewish Telegraph Agency: Artists fight over Israel: The sequel

Jewish Telegraph Agency:
U.S. television, film artists join West Bank boycott
Ha’aretz article with quotes from Wallace Shawn: US actors back boycott of Ariel theater

Ynet: Boycotts are legitimate

Ynet: Artists’ boycott of Ariel goes international

Jewish Chronicle: Hollywood joins West Bank protest

Daily Star: British and American thespians support Israeli theater boycott
Ma’an News:
Support for Israeli actors’ boycott grows  
Ma’an News: US actors back boycott of West Bank theater

Irish Examiner:
Israeli minister warns on settlement slowdown
Mondoweiss: PACBI: Artists support for Ariel boycott is ‘a groundbreaking, precedent-setting initiative that will significantly contribute to ending Israel’s impunity’
TPM Cafe:
Clarity on what the artists are saying about performing in Ariel
MJ Rosenberg on Huffington Post: Hollywood joins Israeli artists in boycotting West Bank

Magnes Zionist:
A Fiddler On the Roof in Ariel? Sounds crazy, no?
Mitchell Plitnick: ‘Mainstream’ peace groups need to support this initiative from JVP

Arutz Sheva: US actors support Israeli Ariel protest
Mondoweiss: Groundbreaking Letter

Tikkun Olam: Hollywood, Broadway stars support Israeli cultural boycott


CNN: Israeli Actors Threaten to Boycott Cultural Center in West Bank Settlement
Ha’aretz Magazine: Dramatic effects
Jewish Journal:
L.A. donors play role in Israeli settlement

 Artists to refuse to perform in Ariel culture hall
New York Times: 
Boycott of Theater in Israeli Settlement Grows  


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

, CA 94612     |     510.465.1777    

UK Guardian: Actors boycott West Bank Theater
Gideon Levy, Ha’aretzPuppet Theater
Ha’aretz Editorial: Stalin’s Commissar in the PMO

Tikun Olam: Israeli Cultural Figures Appeal to Actors to Boycott Ariel

Text of the statement:

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