Redgrave speaks out for Israel
BRITISH ACTRESS Vanessa Redgrave has denounced the artists who urged organisers of the Toronto Film Festival to drop a celebration of Tel Aviv.
Ms Redgrave, 72, is an unlikely defender of Israel. The Oscar-winning actress has been a long-standing backer of the Palestinian cause.
But now she has written a letter, cosigned by artist Julian Schnabel and playwright Martin Sherman, to the New York Review of Books, defending the Toronto Film Festival’s decision to showcase films about Tel Aviv.
The festival’s celebration of Tel Aviv led to an attack by writers and actors including Jane Fonda, Danny Glover and David Byrne. (Jane Fonda subsequently said she had signed the boycott letter too hastily.)
The letter from Ms Redgrave and her co-signatories said: “We oppose the current Israeli government, but it is a government. Freely elected. Not a regime. Words matter.
“...These citizens of Tel Aviv and their organisations and their cultural outlets should be applauded and encouraged.
“We do not agree that this involvement is a reason to shun or protest, picket or boycott, or ban people who are expressing thoughts and confronting grief that, ironically, many of the protesters share.”