When it comes to the profession of liberal values in Hollywood, Israel is still the exception.
The actor Gerard Butler refused to go to Saudi Arabia after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But meanwhile he did attend a gala for the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces that raised $60 million, to support an army that has cut down scores of unarmed protesters at the Gaza fence. Variety November 2:
In his speech, gala chair Haim Saban saluted the Israeli soldiers who were honored for outstanding service. “Tonight you have seen up close the unbreakable spirit and the unimaginable bravery of our IDF soldiers and their families,” said Saban, who chaired the gala along with his wife, Cheryl, for their 12th consecutive year. “Standing behind these heroes is one of my greatest honors in my life.”…
The star-studded event included appearances from Gerard Butler, Ashton Kutcher, Katharine McPhee and fiance David Foster, Andy Garcia, Fran Drescher, and Israeli actors Ronalee Shimon and Yaakov Daniel from Netflix’s political thriller series “Fauda.”
Pharrell Williams provided the musical entertainment and performed his big hit “Happy.” He said it was particularly meaningful so as to overcome the sadness of the Pittsburgh massacre the week before.
“Look, what happened in that synagogue was incredibly cruel, it was wrong, and it’s not supposed to be what our nation is,” Williams said. “This group of people have been tested over and over and over again … but you guys show an incredible resilience.”
But earlier that week, Williams had sent a cease and desist letter to Donald Trump, saying he couldn’t use “Happy” at his rallies.
“Pharrell has not, and will not, grant you permission to publicly perform or otherwise broadcast or disseminate any of his music,” [attorney Howard] King wrote. “The use of ‘Happy’ without permission constitutes copyright infringement.”
Then there’s Jason Blum, a producer of the racial-thriller “Get Out.” He appeared at an Israeli film festival in Beverly Hills and got in trouble for dissing Donald Trump. Hollywood Reporter:
Film and television producer Jason Blum on Tuesday night was booed and physically removed from the stage after making controversial political statements during an acceptance speech at the 32nd Israeli Film Festival….
[He] suggested the recent uptick in anti-Semitism could be attributed to President Donald Trump, which was immediately met with several members of the crowd booing him.
But of course Blum also said “we have much to celebrate with the opening of the 32nd Israeli Film Festival.”
The festival is sponsored by the Adelson Foundation. Sheldon Adelson, together with his wife Miriam, have given more money to Donald Trump than anybody else, and gotten a lot for it: destruction of the Iran deal, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, the defunding of UNRWA, and support for the occupation. Does it occur to Blum that he ought not to show up at the festival, or at least say something about Adelson and Israel too?
Hollywood’s still PEP territory. Progressive Except Palestine!
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 7, 2018