ACTION ALERT BELOW!
Don’t be fooled by the Jewish Journal’s spin. ADL and the Journal should not be supported as long as they honor Ed Asner!
April 25, 2017
Because of actions initiated and furthered by The Israel Group, the Jewish Journal ran an article (below) announcing that Ed Asner does “not support BDS.” On the surface it seems nice, and I’m sure that the Journal and the Anti-Defamation League and all the donors will undoubtedly sigh in relief. They can proceed with an uneventful Gala in peace.
It’s not that simple. Although Asner may have declared that he personally doesn’t support the boycott of Israel, he did not resign from his advisory role with Jewish Voice for Peace, a leading organization in the BDS campaign. In fact, on Sunday, JVP’s executive director presented the Gandhi Peace Award at Yale to Omar Barghouti, the founder of the BDS campaign.
As long as Asner continues as an advisor to JVP, he should be shunned by the entire pro-Israel community, regardless of how many Emmy’s he has won. All donors and supporters of Israel should immediately contact and pull their support from the ADL and the Jewish Journal, as long as they honor Ed Asner.
Also, the entire community should pay heed to all of the “pro-Israel activist” organizations and news sources that stayed silent throughout this process. Some will take credit for working “behind the scenes,” but they can’t be fighters against BDS and stay silent when it maters most. Where are all of the news articles about what is going on? (Are you protecting colleagues?)
It is urgent to reach out to all pro-Israel friends and colleagues, urging them to contact ADL leadership and the Jewish Journal, and to pull all of their support as long as they honor Ed Asner (unless he resigns from Jewish Voice for Peace).
(NOTICE in the Journals article below, how the Journal’ writes that “Left of center groups like J Street and New Israel Fund have gone on record as being against BDS,” but they purposely leave out one of the most egregious and virulently anti-Israel and pro-BDS organization: Jewish Voice for Peace. Why? Because the Jewish Journal does not want to connect Asner to Jewish Voice for Peace. It is spin and it is the Journal trying to cover up.)
Ed Asner: ‘I do not support BDS’
Legendary television actor Ed Asner made clear Tuesday morning that he no longer supports the movement to Boycott, Sanction and Divest from Israel, known as the BDS movement.
“I have a deep commitment to Jewish life, the Jewish people and the unity of the Jewish people worldwide,” Asner said in the statement, released through a publicist. “I do not support BDS. I just want peace.”
The 87-year-old actor sought to clarify his position after a handful of critics took issue with his receiving an Award from the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. Asner is set to receive the award at the Festival’s opening Wednesday evening. (The LAJFF is a program of TRIBE Media, which also publishes the Jewish Journal).
The BDS movement has been criticized by a broad segment of the Jewish community as being anti-Israel because it promotes the boycotting of all of Israel and not just the disputed territories. Left of center groups like J Street and New Israel Fund have gone on record as being against BDS.
After Asner viewed information LAJFF provided him about BDS, he released the statement.
In an interview with the Jewish Journal’s Avishay Artsy earlier this month, Asner had already distanced himself from supporters of BDS.
On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, the Jewish Journal’s Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival is honoring Ed Asner, a board advisor for Jewish Voice for Peace, among the most anti-Israel organizations that promote the BDS campaign, which includes the total cultural, education, and economic boycott of Israel.
On Sunday, April 23, 2017, BDS co-founder, Omar Barghouti, received the Gandhi Peace Award at Yale University. The presenter of the award was Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace’s executive director.
Rob Eshman, the Jewish Journal’s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, responded (below) to The Israel Group’s letter initial letter (below).
Several significant donors have withdrawn their sponsorship of the film festival. (Most have done it silently.)
The Anti-Defamation League has not responded to a request for comment. We are unsure if they are continuing with their support of the festival.
Many highly respected individuals globally have urged The Israel Group to continue its opposition to Ed Asner being honored
Virtually all pro-Israel advocacy organizations have been silent.
The Jewish Journal runs a spin piece that Ed Asner does not support BDS. He does not include that he is resigning from his role with JVP and the Journal mentions other “Left” organizations that support BDS, but do not mention JVP.
[NOTE: This is not in any way connected with the Israel Film Festival.]
Initial letter to Rob Eshman and David Suissa at the Jewish Journal
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
The Jewish Journal
It is unconscionable that the Jewish Journal’s Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival is honoring Ed Asner at your upcoming Gala in Beverly Hills.
I can only believe that you were unaware of Ed Asner’s role as an advisory board member of Jewish Voice for Peace, the virulently anti-Israel organization that fully supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. This includes a cultural and artistic boycott of Israel, and everything under that umbrella.
In case you weren’t aware, Jewish Voice for Peace:
- led a boycott against the Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema;
- successfully urged Oscar-nominated actors to boycott a packaged trip to Israel [ironically, this was my op-ed published in the Jewish Journal];
- brought a Palestinian terrorist convicted of murdering two students as a guest speaker at their national convention;
- aggressively tried to disrupt and shut down pro-Israel events such as a talk by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, a Taglit Birthright reunion, and an AIPAC conference; and
- is an internationally recognized leading organization within the BDS movement.
As you both know, BDS was responsible for, among other things,:
- the Oslo Film Festival rejection of a film about disabled children in Tel Aviv because the filmmaker is Israeli;
- Mira Nair boycotting the Haifa Film Festival;
- Emma Thompson calling for the boycott of Israel’s Habima Theater;
- the boycott of Israel’s DocAviv Film Festival; and
- artists boycotting the Toronto Film Festival because it included an Israeli film.
Additionally, Asner believes that global anti-Semitism is caused because of Israel’s refusal to establish peace with Palestinians. Did you ever wonder what he thinks caused global anti-Semitism pre-1948? (Rob, maybe you can ask him when you moderate the planned Q&A with Asner at your Gala.)
With this background, Ed Asner should be shunned, not honored.
You may have inadvertently been aware of Asner’s advisory role with Jewish Voice for Peace. However, now that you know, an important question is, Do your Festival and Jewish Journal donors know? Have the Israeli Consulate of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and the many community leaders who are supporting your Gala been informed about Asner’s advisory role with Jewish Voice for Peace? (I’ve contacted the ADL and I’m waiting to hear their response.)
I’ve been advised that some prominent donors have pulled their sponsorship because of our eNEWS ALERT. But we must stop the bleeding. Personally, it pains me to write this, but I don’t want the Jewish Journal to be stained. You must solve this situation and not honor Ed Asner, unless he officially steps down from his role with Jewish Voice for Peace.
It is enough that Israel is attacked globally on a daily basis through propaganda and lies, but it is even more outrageous and offensive to have one of our leading Jewish news organizations and their film festival, honor an advisor to Jewish Voice for Peace, one of the most anti-Israel organizations today.
I await your response.
Response from Rob Eshman, The Jewish Journal’s Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Thanks for your kind words and your concern.
Mr. Asner is a legendary actor. He has won more Emmy Awards for performing than any other male actor. The Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival is honoring him for his achievements as a Jew in film and television.
If the LAJJ refused to honor actors, producers, directors and films because some people found them objectionable, it would have to close up shop tomorrow. The Left would protest (and has protested) some selections, the Right would protest others.
The LAJJ chooses people based on the quality of their artistic work.
Your job is politics, and you should disagree with Mr. Asner’s opinions and protest them and, if you choose, not attend the Festival. I completely understand. But the LAJJ would not be doing its job if it ignored an actor of Ed Asner’s stature, longevity and accomplishment.
All the best,
Response from Jack Saltzberg
Thank you for your response.
Obviously, it is one thing to honor people with differing political opinions, and if Ed Asner were simply a strong vocal critic of Israel’s government, policies, military, or anything else, I would have no problem with him being honored. The Israel Group’s line in the sand is BDS. Asner is a board advisor to Jewish Voice for Peace, arguably one of the most anti-Israel organizations in existence, and it publicly and actively advocates the total boycott of Israel, including economic, educational, and cultural boycott. In fact, just yesterday, Jewish Voice for Peace’s executive director, Rececca Vilkomerson, presented the Gandhi Peace Award at Yale to Omar Barghouti, the co-founder of the BDS campaign.
Justifying it by separating Asner’s private actions from his professional work isn’t acceptable; not when his actions actively promote the total boycott and destruction of Israel. By honoring Asner, the Jewish Journal, a Jewish institution, is legitimizing Jewish Voice for Peace. Imagine what the leaders of JVP will make out of this event, and the damage it will cause to Israel and to artists who wish not to be boycotted when they perform in Israel.
As Professor Judea Pearl eloquently stated, “We should not help JVP demonstrate that they can be part of the Jewish tent and anti-Israel tent at the same time. They are not part of our tent.”
Rob, maybe you can use this as an opportunity to urge Mr. Asner to resign from his advisory position with JVP. Then, you will be helping to safeguard Israel while making Ed Asner someone worthy of an honor.
Please contact the sponsors and donors and inform them about Ed Asner and his role with Jewish Voice for Peace. Ask the sponsors to contact Rob Eshman (firstname.lastname@example.org), and to:
place pressure on Rob Eshman and the Jewish Journal, to change their honoree by withdrawing their support now and in the future; and
not attend the Gala if Ed Asner is honored.