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Israel lobbyist Ronald Lauder denounces movie star Danny Glover for boycott call

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Actor Danny Glover in December 2009. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/Flickr

Actor Danny Glover in December 2009. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/Flickr

Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, has harshly attacked Danny Glover after the Hollywood star affirmed his support for the cultural boycott of Israel. Lauder accused Glover, famous for his roles in Lethal Weapon and other movies, of “fan[ning] the flames of anti-Semitism in America.”

Glover, who is devoted to left-wing causes, is featured in a documentary on legendary activist Grace Lee Boggs. Lauder’s criticism came after Glover and others in the film released a pro-boycott statement after they found out the documentary, titled American Revolutionary: the Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, is set to screen at an Israeli government-sponsored festival. The story was first broken by the Electronic Intifada‘s Ali Abunimah.

On May 13th and 15th, the movie will screen at the DocAviv film festival in Tel Aviv, Israel.  The festival, featuring many documentaries, is supported by various arms of the Israeli government, including entities that play a role in the West Bank settlement project.  Those who signed the statement say that the festival’s inclusion of the film on Boggs, a long-time activist based in Detroit, was made without their permission.

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, and support their call for cultural and academic boycott of Israel,” Glover, Boggs and ten others said in a statement first published by the Electronic Intifada.  “We immediately took action to have the film withdrawn from the festival. The festival organizers and film producers informed us that this was not possible and they would move forward with the screening, over our objections.   This film uplifts the life work and legacy of Grace Lee Boggs. She has explicitly stated her support of the boycott and believes this screening is in direct contradiction to her legacy and ongoing work as a revolutionary.” 

Hours after the statement was made and spread to Israeli media, Lauder published his swipe at Glover in his capacity as president of the World Jewish Congress, an international group that dubs itself as the “diplomatic arm of the Jewish people.”  “Danny Glover supported a boycott of Israel in 2009, and it therefore comes as no surprise that he does not wish the movie to be screened in Israel,” Lauder said in the statement. “We call on America’s film industry to speak out against the growing campaign to boycott the Jewish state. Just like anti-Semitism, unfair criticism of Israel should be condemned.”

In 2009, Glover and other stars sparked a controversy after signing a letter protesting the Toronto International Film Festival’s decision to celebrate Tel Aviv, though it wasn’t an explicit call for boycotting Israel.

In recent months, Lauder, who used to be one of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s major backers, has become increasingly vocal about the need to defeat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.  As Philip Weiss noted here, Lauder, a billionaire and former president of the Jewish National Fund, had told a London conference on the “delegitimization” of Israel that more needed to be done to fight BDS.

We will draft and lobby for legislation that will withhold government funding from academic institutions that boycott Israel,” said Lauder.  “We will draft and lobby for federal anti-discrimination statutes in the United States against banks, businesses and governments that target only Israel. We will follow the money to find out just who is funding these attacks on Israel and if there is any connection to terrorism.”

Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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31 Responses

  1. seafoid on May 13, 2014, 4:04 pm

    “We will draft and lobby for legislation that will withhold government funding from academic institutions that boycott Israel,” said Lauder. “We will draft and lobby for federal anti-discrimination statutes in the United States against banks, businesses and governments that target only Israel. We will follow the money to find out just who is funding these attacks on Israel and if there is any connection to terrorism”

    Empty words.

    There is a graph at this link of the change in US support for gay marriage over 10 years. I bet it keeps people like Lauder awake at night. Imagine when the collapse befalls Zionism
    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/b91639f6-988d-11e2-a853-00144feabdc0.html

  2. Felixio on May 13, 2014, 4:13 pm

    No matter what they try to do to stop BDS, ain’t going to happen, the absurd behavior of this insane lobby is in the end going to bring it down.

  3. on May 13, 2014, 4:14 pm

    Gee. We didn’t see this type of attack coming, did we?

  4. amigo on May 13, 2014, 4:22 pm

    “We will follow the money to find out just who is funding these attacks on Israel and if there is any connection to terrorism.”Lauder

    I wonder if he will follow the money that funds the terrorist settler price tag attacks.

    Didn,t think so.

  5. Kay24 on May 13, 2014, 4:25 pm

    Danny Glover is a brave man. He knows fully well that he will be the target of hate, and efforts, to silence him. He will be called every name in the book, including being anti-semitic, in an effort to make him an example for other celebrities, who are considering making such a move. I hope he will be fully supported by others who dare, and BDS groups. These zionists cannot handle the truth, does not want their crimes getting any attention, and will label any criticism against them inappropriately, “anti-semitic” to stifle that criticism. People are beginning to see how ridiculous these accusation are,and very soon more people are going to realize there is no correlation between the two. Good luck to Mr. Glover, he will need it as this article shows.

    • MHughes976 on May 13, 2014, 4:33 pm

      He is a brave man, I fully agree. On the other hand I think that we have not reached a point where accusations of anti-Semitism are easily dismissed.

      • Kay24 on May 13, 2014, 4:56 pm

        They are not dismissed as yet, but how long can they keep playing the same card when it is not appropriate? BDS will not find it that hard to reject that accusation, when some bigger entities like the EU, and colleges especially in other nations, are now supporting it too. Let me put it this way, even if the rest of the world gets it, the majority of Americans may never!

  6. Woody Tanaka on May 13, 2014, 4:50 pm

    Danny Glover is awesome.

    This statement makes no sense:
    “Just like anti-Semitism, unfair criticism of Israel should be condemned.”
    Antisemitism is a prejudice and a hate; “unfair criticism” is just that, unfair (which is, itself a subjective value judgment, i.e., an opinion. What’s fair to one is not fair to another). So is this fool really saying that failing to align one’s value judgments in criticizing a state is the same as prejudicial hate??? How stupid. Unthinkingly stupid.

  7. lysias on May 13, 2014, 4:51 pm

    Danny Glover appears repeatedly on Democracy Now!, including one show just a week ago.

    His Wikipedia entry indicates a lively acting career, with many movie and television roles in the past few years.

    • Kay24 on May 13, 2014, 4:59 pm

      Again I say he is brave, because he knows that vindictive zionists will make sure he is not given another role again, in the zionist controlled media, or film land.

      • lysias on May 13, 2014, 5:16 pm

        If they do blacklist him now, it will be all too obvious, in contrast with his recent career.

      • Woody Tanaka on May 13, 2014, 5:31 pm

        He’s got “Lethal Weapon” money. He doesn’t need to work another day in his life if doesn’t want to.

  8. lysias on May 13, 2014, 4:56 pm

    Grace Lee Boggs will be 99 years old on June 27th.

  9. ritzl on May 13, 2014, 6:23 pm

    “…We will draft and lobby for federal anti-discrimination statutes in the United States against banks, businesses and governments that target only Israel. …”

    How Churchillian of Lauder. Problem for him is that legislation cannot be written that narrowly in the US, and even if an institution is focusing on Israel all they would have to write down as their criteria for boycotts is: A) democracies; AND B) countries occupying territory for more than 50 years. That could be sweetened perhaps with, C) countries in violation of more than 20 UN resolutions, IHL conventions, and/or multilateral treaties.

    Broad criteria. One country.

  10. rensanceman on May 13, 2014, 6:55 pm

    Actually, there have been 45 U.N Human Rights Council Resolutions condemning Israel’s action against the Palestinians as of 2013, as well as 42 (forty two) U.N. Security Council Resolutions condemning its actions since 1972. The Great Enabler vetoed them and has adopted the Negroponte Doctrine which requires the U.S. to veto any U.N. Resolution condemning Israel’s actions unless it also condemns “terrorist” groups.

  11. RoHa on May 13, 2014, 7:15 pm

    I knew nothing of Glover’s political activities. I just respected him as a good actor. Now my respects has grown.

  12. a blah chick on May 13, 2014, 7:27 pm

    He is a brave man. It does not require any courage to “stand with Israel.”

  13. Kay24 on May 13, 2014, 7:36 pm

    Here is another brave American who calls price tag crime “terrorism”

    “Bill Bratton, the New York City Police Commissioner whose radical policies in the 1990s under Mayor Rudy Giuliani are credited with making the streets of New York City safer, urged Israeli police chiefs on Tuesday to stamp out as “terrorism” the anti-Arab hate crimes known as price tag attacks.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.590427

    Yes, they do deserve to be boycotted as Danny Glover says.

  14. American on May 13, 2014, 8:14 pm

    ”’……“…We will draft and lobby for federal anti-discrimination statutes in the United States against banks, businesses and governments that target only Israel’…blah, blah

    Yea, well, we will draft and lobby for all zionist fifth columnist to be the target of McCathy hearings on American government subversion and anti American activities.

  15. Basilio on May 14, 2014, 1:08 am

    More is not needed to fight BDS. Rather, more is needed to fight Zionism Hasbara and B.S. Lauder has the nerve to talk about racism when a lot of the land owned by the JNF comes from the indigenous people who were ethnic cleansed, and he says nothing about the way Palestinians are treated. What criticisms of Israel does he think are fair?

  16. Hostage on May 14, 2014, 2:47 am

    “We will draft and lobby for federal anti-discrimination statutes in the United States against banks, businesses and governments that target only Israel.

    We will continue to lobby the federal government for enforcement of existing criminal sanctions against individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments who target Palestinians and subject them to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Lauder, a billionaire and former president of the Jewish National Fund, . . .

    was the head of a Zionist criminal enterprise.

  17. Pat Kittle on May 14, 2014, 5:27 am

    “Anti-Semitism”??

    What about anti-gentilism??

  18. eGuard on May 14, 2014, 7:48 am

    What a coward. The letter was signed by twelve people who appear in the movie. Top signer: Grace Lee Boggs, protagonist. Lauder doesn’t dare to address her (now that would send a clear message to the Asian and black community in the US!). What a coward.

  19. unverified__f91d36j8 on May 14, 2014, 9:45 am

    Nothing brave about being anti-Israel.
    Israel is the safest country to hate on. You can actually walk up to the Prime Minister of Israel’s window and call him an asshole and nothing will happen to you. You could be a convicted terrorist but still receive quality Halal meals in a comfortable prison (until you get released in exchange for talks with Palestinians).

    Speaking out against Russia would be brave.
    Speaking out against Syria would be brave.
    Speaking out against Iran would be brave.
    Speaking out against China would be brave.

    Glover is a coward. Why not come to Israel sir and see for yourself?

    • Woody Tanaka on May 14, 2014, 1:04 pm

      “Israel is the safest country to hate on. ”

      yeah, it’s only “living while non-Jew and demanding your human rights” where it gets dangerous…

    • lysias on May 14, 2014, 3:23 pm

      If you think that speaking out in America against Russia, Syria, Iran, or China requires being brave, you’re nuts.

      Now, speaking in their defense. . .

    • ritzl on May 14, 2014, 5:07 pm

      “Why not come to Israel sir and see for yourself?”

      You guys are so funny. Would a country that detains and interrogates a former US Dept. of HHS Secretary and current head of a major university (Donna Shalala) let a black activist heading to the WB (stee-rike three!) one foot past the detention cells at DBG?

      http://www.kabobfest.com/2010/08/shalala-gets-the-arab-treatment-at-ben-gurion.html

    • adele on May 14, 2014, 6:29 pm

      unverified__f91d36j8 says: Nothing brave about being anti-Israel. Israel is the safest country to hate on.

      Desmond Tutu, who isn’t even anti-Israeli but anti-apartheid was treated to “Black Nazi Pig” graffitti on one of his visits to Israel and Yad Vashem. He wasn’t even hating on Israel, but preaching love & forgiveness and still the Zio-Cult extremists interpreted that as hatred. So I doubt Tutu would agree with your assessment about Israel being a safe country when even preaching “love & forgiveness” is perceived as criminal.

  20. DaBakr on May 14, 2014, 11:50 am

    Danny Glover is not important enough to be ‘blacklisted’ in any context within the hollywood system. His career has been mostly devoted to political cases since his heyday as well. He has enough sympathetic freinds within the system to allow him to work on independant films here and there. But he hasn’t been even on the ‘c’ list for a long time. Nobody muffles his activism or speec and he is about as relevant to Americans as is Waters and O.Stone. If the make a decent movie above or outside of their leftwing obsessions they can still enjoy some popularity-such as Stones last ‘crime’ drama on pot growers. I think Glover was in an ‘interesting’ but not very wel;l known film about the ghosts of US slavery.
    However-like I said-if sites like EI and MW didn’t screech bloody murder every time a has been like Waters and/or Glover makes a comment I doubt many at all-regardless of their position-take much notice. And the list of ‘A’ and ‘B’ celebrity and power acts that continue to play and interact publicly with Israel so far exceeds the few cranks who continue to pursue what they believe is thier righteous cause that it only matters within the pro-BDS community. The only ‘success’ I would admit to on the BDS side is the overwhelming response that come from Israel and its lobby to keep pounding at this msg. so as to limit any spread. But afaict, there has been no big spread at all. The ‘A’ list is as impressive as ever before. Chalk it up to Israeli paranoia or over-sensitivity in media/celeb culture but I don’t see any throngs rushing to join Waters, Glover, Walker, etc except their usual crowd of fans

    • amigo on May 14, 2014, 1:26 pm

      “However-like I said-if sites like EI and MW didn’t screech bloody murder every time a has been like Waters and/or Glover makes a comment I doubt many at all-regardless of their position-take much notice.”Da Bakr

      Got you to take notice–eh.

  21. American on May 14, 2014, 10:15 pm

    Danny should take this opportunity to accuse Lauder of being a racist and hating blacks.

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