From a Jewish Voice for Peace press release:
The international campaign to support the Israeli actors’ refusal to play in the illegal settlement of Ariel picked up a pair of huge names when architect Frank Gehry and pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim signed on this week. Settlements are Jewish-only communities built on Palestinian land and are considered by many to be the main obstacle to peace.
Known for iconic buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Gehry is considered the “world’s most influential architect” according to Vanity Fair Magazine. Daniel Barenboim is a legendary pianist and conductor who, along with the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, created the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together young Jewish Israeli and Arab musicians.
Both Gehry and Barenboim, who are Jewish, signed a US/UK artist’s statement in support of leading Israeli actors and writers who refused to normalize their own government’s illegal settlements and who risked their livelihoods for their stance. The statement, organized by US peace group Jewish Voice for Peace, has already been signed by over 200 theater and film professionals representing some of the most respected and renowned artists in theater and film – including Oscar, Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer prize-winner Stephen Sondheim, Julianne Moore, film director Mira Nair, Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon, Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, 21-time Tony winner Harold Prince , star of the film “Yentl,” Mandy Patinkin, Fiddler on the Roof star and Cameri co-founder Theodore Bikel, Jennifer Tilly, Harry Potter’s Miriam Margolyes, Ed Asner, Wallace Shawn, and Focus Films’ James Schamus among many others.
Earlier this year, Frank Gehry stepped down as an architect for the controversial Museum of Tolerance project in Jerusalem: many have criticized the Simon Wiesenthal Center for building the museum on top of a Muslim cemetery.
Meanwhile, silence from groups in the United States that are quick to attack critics of Israeli policies shows how indefensible the settlement policy has become.