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Boycott the Real Human Rights Violators: Open Letter to Emma Thompson

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Emma Thompson

Dear Ms. Thompson,

The Jan. 27 passing of Pete Seeger got me thinking about you.

That may seem a little surprising; there’s no obvious connection between a banjo-strumming American folk singer and a British Oscar-winning actress. So let me explain.

The obituaries for Mr. Seeger noted that in the 1930s and 1940s, he had been a supporter of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. But in 1993, Seeger publicly apologized for, as he put it, “following the party line so slavishly, for not seeing that Stalin was a supremely cruel misleader.”

It’s a shame that it wasn’t until 40 years after Stalin’s death that Seeger finally acknowledged the truth about his former idol.

I am hoping it won’t take you 40 years to acknowledge the terrible mistake you have made in urging a boycott of Israelis.

You publicly called on London’s Globe Theater to cancel its invitation to the Israeli theatre company Habima to take part in a Shakespeare Festival.

You and your colleagues asserted that “by inviting Habima, the Globe is associating itself with the policies of exclusion practiced by the Israeli state.”

Allowing Israelis to perform would make the festival “complicit with human rights violations,” you claimed.

I know a little something about human rights violations – such as the violation of my daughter Alisa’s right to live.

In 1995, Palestinian Arab terrorists associated with the Islamic Jihad movement decided to practice their brand of “exclusion” by bombing the bus on which Alisa was riding. Eight innocent people were murdered, more than 50 were injured. The U.S. State Department publicly identified five of the killers. To this day, they live freely in the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Ms. Thompson, please understand me. I am not saying that actors should refrain from taking stands on political issues. But I am directing your attention to the fact that on so many occasions, actors and other entertainers who have injected themselves into public controversies have ultimately proven to be badly mistaken, as the case of Pete Seeger demonstrates.

Many prominent Hollywood figures took part in the 1950s McCarthyite witch-hunts. They said they were defending American culture against radicals. But they didn’t mind slandering innocent people in the process.

Harry Belafonte is a wonderful entertainer. But his support for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez was reprehensible. And his racially charged attacks on African-American Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were vile.

Sean Penn is a talented actor. But his embrace of Saddam Hussein was disgraceful. Whatever one thinks of the Iraq war in retrospect, who can deny that the world is better off without Saddam?

When we look at the brutal dictatorship that rules Vietnam today, when we think about the countless innocents slaughtered by that regime, it is impossible not to resent Jane Fonda’s support for the Vietcong.

At least the folksinger Joan Baez, who once vocally supported the North Vietnamese, eventually had the decency to repudiate them – but, once again, only after it was much too late.

That, Ms. Thompson, is what I fear will happen to you if you throw in your lot with the haters and boycotters of Israel. The radical chic that is so appealing to you today will be revealed as a horrible mistake soon enough. You will, eventually, recognize the true nature of the tyrants and terrorists of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

But how much must Israel suffer until you, like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, finally stop romanticizing dictators?

Yes, there are evil regimes that deserve to be boycotted. The apartheid regime of South Africa deserved it. So do the terrorists who rule Gaza. But democratic, peaceful, egalitarian Israel does not.

Stephen M. Flatow

About the Author: Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

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  1. Just another liberal idiot who is buying in to Britain’s long history of antagonism to Israel without knowing the facts.

  2. Just another liberal idiot who is buying in to Britain’s long history of antagonism to Israel without knowing the facts.

  3. Stop blaming LIBERALS! Jesus Christ! Liberals can be Zionists, you know! I am one! Tired of this characterization!

  4. Ms. Thompson – you are a brilliant actor -you are not, however, either a student of history or religion. You react to your surroundings and the stimuli found within. You react to what you hear and see, even though the facts may be propaganda. People look up to you and listen to what you say. Kindly do some research before you back any one faction and learn the truth surrounding the situations. Perhaps a trip to the area in question is in order, without bodyguards or protection and as a normal civilian, for first hand proof of who is the aggressor and who is the target? You might be surprised at what you find.

  5. I will never support another film with her in it !!!, my contribution 🙂

  6. This is not new to me, Emma Thompson for some reason had always hated Israel. She is a big supporter to the so-called palestinian cause. SHAME ON HER!!!

  7. Emma! Emma, EMMA, EMMA, Emma…

  8. What a pity… Sad, so sad…..

  9. Alex Salomon says:

    not one word about Syria from these holy ppl.

  10. Colin Fuller says:

    Who the heck is Emma Thompson?

  11. Bravo mr Flato. You used kinder words for ms Thompson than i would have.
    Abe Z

  12. just another Brit airhead-she should stick to acting as she’s worthless at everything else!

  13. There are a lot of misguided folks in the film world and Emma Thompson is one them I will boycott all films in which stars in my library and club

  14. Edward Lobel says:

    When I first read of ms. thompson's boycott, I called for a boycott of her films.
    I honestly do not know how that worked out, but I do know I did not pay to see her in her latest film. I understand she was brilliant but non the less, the godlen globe and sag did the smart thing and did not award her any statues. Hopefully this will continue with her being shut out by the academy of motion pictures oscar awards. Perhaps her peers have taken notice that she tried to stop Israeli actors from plying their craft and other actors took heart that she was going against her union. Instead of some actors saying she was a most wonderful person, they should point out her follies in trying to stop other actors from working!

  15. Terry Beals says:

    May God open their blinded eyes!

  16. Tim Dufelmeier says:

    Joan Baez never supported North Viet Nam. She was always against agression by both sides. Baez later was attacked by Jane Fonda for writing an open letter to North Viet Nam ( the NY Times) criticizing the treatment of the boat people (Ethnic Chinese) after the conclusion of the war.

  17. Thank you for writing this letter on behalf of all Israelis and Jews around the world. The letter should also be sent to Meryl Streep who presented the award to Thompson.

  18. I am calling on everyone, not just Jews, to boycott Europe. Do not travel there, do not buy anything made in Europe or anything from factories owned by Europeans. Please spread the word to your Christian friends.

  19. Mary Hale says:

    how can such a beautiful looking woman on the outside be so vile on the inside..she will not be blessed..

  20. she is a vile and stupid woman. nothing to do with her acting ability.

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