I wrote the following for the Huffington Post, to address the controversy about the statement I signed criticizing the Toronto International Film Festival for celebrating the city of Tel Aviv as part of Israel’s P.R. campaign to turn attention away from its battles with the Palestinians.

I recently signed a letter protesting the Toronto International Film Festival‘s decision to showcase and celebrate Tel Aviv. This in the very year when Gaza happened. The decision made the festival a participant in the newly launched campaign to “rebrand” Israel. Arye Mekel, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Director General for Cultural Affairs has said that artists and writers must be enlisted in order to “show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.” The protestors felt it was wrong for the much-respected festival to be used in this manner. The role of art, after all, is not to prettify but to expose reality with all its contradictions and complexities.

I signed the letter without reading it carefully enough, without asking myself if some of the wording wouldn’t exacerbate the situation rather than bring about constructive dialogue.

Last week, Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz, director of the Chai Center in Los Angeles, explained to me the meaning of the Hebrew word “teshuva”– to fix things you have done incorrectly, not just by never doing them again but by “coming with a sincere heart. Words that come from the heart enter the heart.”

Some of the words in the protest letter did not come from my heart, words that are unnecessarily inflammatory: The simplistic depiction of Tel Aviv as a city “built on destroyed Palestinian villages,” for instance, and the omission of any mention of Hamas’s 8-month-long rocket and mortar attacks on the town of Sderot and the western Negev to which Israel was responding when it launched its war on Gaza. Many citizens now suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result. In the hyper-sensitized reality of the region in which any criticism of Israel is swiftly and often unfairly branded as anti-Semitic, it can become counterproductive to inflame rather than explain and this means to hear the narratives of both sides, to articulate the suffering on both sides, not just the Palestinians. By neglecting to do this the letter allowed good people to close their ears and their hearts.

Additionally, protesting the use of the festival to “rebrand” Israel was perhaps too easily misunderstood. It certainly has been wildly distorted. Contrary to the lies that have been circulated, the protest letter was not demonizing Israeli films and filmmakers. On one of the many trips I have made to Israel, I spoke at Tel Aviv University’s film department and am well aware, as I’m sure the other signatories are, that Israeli films are not a mouthpiece for their government’s policies. Nor was the letter an attack on the legitimacy of Tel Aviv as an Israeli city, or a call to boycott the Toronto Film Festival. In fact, many signatories are attending the festival and have films showing there.

As I said in my recent blog, the greatest “re-branding” of Israel would be to celebrate that country’s long standing, courageous and robust peace movement by helping to end the blockade of Gaza through negotiations with all parties to the conflict, and by stopping the expansion of West Bank settlements. That’s the way to show Israel’s commitment to peace, not a PR campaign. There will be no two-state solution unless this happens.

The Israeli-Palestinian story cannot be reduced to a simplistic aggressor-victim relationship. In order to fully understand this, one must be willing to come together with an open heart and really hear the narratives of both sides. One narrative sees 1948 as the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land. Another sees it as the birth of a nation. Conceivably it was both. Neither narrative can be erased, both must be heard.

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  1. I hope this clears things up for everyone.

  2. In 2005 the Israeli lobbyists also sponsored a “Spotlight on Israel” at the hodocs documentary film festival in Toronto. Imagine the chutzpah it took to frame the presentation of a dozen “documentaries” so as to marginalize Palestinian perspective. Several of the filmmakers signatory to the current Toronto declaration showed their films at hotdocs 2005. Elle Flanders refused to show her film as part of the Spotlight. Hotdocs gave no apologies to filmmakers or audience members who felt the spotlight was contrived.

  3. In 2005 the Israeli lobbyists also sponsored a “Spotlight on Israel” at the hodocs documentary film festival in Toronto in. Imagine the chutzpah it takes to frame the presentation of a dozen documentaries so as to marginalize Palestinian perspective. Several of the filmmakers signatory to the current Toronto Declaration showed their films at hotdocs 2005. Elle Flanders refused to show her film as part of the Spotlight. Hotdocs gave no apologies to filmmakers or audience members who felt the program was contrived to avoid certain realities.
    Thank you for your consideration of this issue and I hope that you will continue to inspire other influential people to pause, reflect and do the right thing. It takes courage to endure the invective and retribution that comes your way when an industry closes ranks.

  4. Also apartheid had to narritives. The black South Africans saw it as a system of institutionalized racisim, the Whites saw it as the way to protect themselves from the black majority. That there are two narritives does not mean that both are right and equally and morally acceptable.
    Take a side Jane. Have some courage.

  5. right the two parts suffers,let’s dream of an agrements of both sides, and peace!!but will this happens with strongs and hard-necked leaders, stuborn in their negative attitude, and the folks always paying for that!! frederique dhenein

  6. I absolutely agree. On the one hand, America MUST stand by Israel and ensure her survival. On the other, no conscientious person can keep silent about the way Palestinians are treated in Israel. It’s a hard balancing act, and I don’t think you can be faulted for coming down a little harder than you intended on the side of humanitarianism.

  7. I appreciate your willingness to admit a mistake and clarify the issue. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to undue an attack on Israel, even after it is proven to be completely untrue. I hope you will take more time to consider what is at stake before lending your name out to other lobby groups.

    The claim by the protest that they would put the same effort if another city they opposed was choosen is laughable. Has anyone in Hollywood even whispered of the need for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit to be returned to his family?

    Some bloggers have uncovered evidence that Palestine House is the silent backer of this protest. It is the protesters who have fallen for the Palestinian propaganda machine.

    You are still being quoted as saying that aid is not being allowed into Gaza. This is simply untrue. It undermines the efforts of the Israeli government to provide assistance to those in need with the needs to protect Israeli citizens.


  8. Dear Jane,

    First, I’d like to say how happy I was to see that you had a change of heart.
    Second, as a very proud Jewish-Israeli, who does not support the “two states” idea, I would like to say that the hypocracy of the other nations of the world really makes my blood boil. The Americans are slaughtering in Afganistan and Iraq, but it’s OK. And when Israel PROTECTS ITSELF against an alleged “small” enemy (yet with the backup of powerful countries such as Iran, Syria and Lebanon), then it’s wrong.
    All of the commities in the UN- and you can check it yourself- all of the commities that their job is to look at the situation here objectively, have automatically taken the side of the Palestinians, with no appearant reason. We try to deal with them in the most diplomatic way- singing papers like Oslo, Oslo II etc., but all they do is either blow up a bus or send young kids.
    YES, they ssend young kids. No one said anything when children at the age of 6-10 were caught with explosives on their bodies.
    We try to deal with this situation as calmly as possible, but.. you know what, do a little experiment: ask someone to slap you in the face a few times. Let me know after how long you felt the need to slap the guy back.
    Our current PM, Binyamin Netaniyahu, said a few years ago: “If our enemies will put down their weapons, there won’t be any war. If Israel will put downi its weapon, there will not be Israel”.
    So tell all your Anti-Israel friends (Mel Gibson in partucular!!) what I had just told you. Let’s see what will they have to say.

  9. Here is what is wrong with Fonda’s thinking:

    Here is what is wrong with Fonda’s thinking:

    1. she is trying to characterize the protest as being against the fact that the introduction of Tel Aviv as the featured city of the festival will be positive for Israel’s image. So what she is saying is that Israel should not be allowed, in any venue, to improve its image, and image that has been maligned, sometimes maliciously, sometimes unintentionally, by the media for the past 40 years, ironically, as soon as Israel stood up and was counted as a strong power in the Middle East. Who is Jane Fonda, or any of these other so-called artists, to decide that Israel or any other country should not have the right to improve their image- to create some truth in the minds of so many people who understand Israel only in terms of the many defensive wars that Israel has had to fight to exist. Sorry Miss Jane, you do not get that right.

    2. “This is the very year when Gaza happened”. That’s right dear Jane- Gaza happened in 2009 despite the fact that, after Gaza was offered back to the Palestinians, they turned to terrorism and rocket fire instead of building a useful society. THe fact that Israel waited for 5 years, while a million of its citizens ran for cover regularly as rockets landed, is what she should be noting, not condemning the fact that Israel finally acted. There did not have to be a Gaza offensive. Hamas was responsible for it. Not Israel.

    3. If these excellent Israeli films in fact show Israel’s “prettier face” then that is terrific. Israel does in fact have a pretty face. And an entrepreneurial face. And an inventive face. And Tel AViv is one of the premier party cities of the world, where the participants are from every walk of life, welcome regardless of who they are. Israel is a miracle of country that has done more with less, against more odds, than any nation currently in existence. Maybe that is the problem- Jane Fonda cannot stand the success of this little state so she condemns any attempt to share the truth of what Israel is and instead wants the world to believe what Israel is not.

    4. the saddest part of the article follows. After apologizing, sort of, for some of the worst aspects of the original letter (for example, the idea that Tel Aviv, which was built from nothing on sand dunes, was built on the foundations of Palestinian villages) she goes on to demand that Israel fix the problem (that presumably Israel created) by stopping all settlement expansion and stopping the so-called blockade of Gaza. She demands nothing of Hamas, or Hezbollah, or their parent in Iran. She demands nothing of the Palestinian people. She only demands of Israel. And she thinks that if Israel stops building in the West Bank that there is suddenly going to be a solution? And she expects Israel to open the taps in Gaza so more rockets can be imported to, someday soon, be launched at Israeli cities perhaps at the same time as Hezbollah launches its own attack from the north (using chemical weapons perhaps, as reported by the Kuwaitis today). No Miss Jane, that is not going to happen. The Arabs attacked Israel time after time before there was any thing called a settlement. And they attacked the Jews in the land of Israel before there was a State of Israel. Miss Jane- wrong- Israel is not going to give in yet again and get nothing in return other than attacks. And when people like you lend their diminishing brands to demand that Israel make concessions to a larger Islamic world that wants no Israel at all, you cannot retain any sense of dignity of purpose.

    5. Final comment, because it is getting late. Fonda talks about two narratives. One- that Israel is the indigenous homeland of the Jewish people who were returning to their land after years of expulsion and attack. She actually does not define that narrative at all well because she does not care for it. THe other narrative she defines quite well- “One narrative sees 1948 as the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land.” Miss Jane- the Jews returned to their indigenous homeland, and were granted a state in 1948. Ever since they have tried to retain that state despite incredible odds. THe fact that there are well over a million Israeli Arabs demonstrates that the alternative narrative is incorrect. NO Palestinians were dispossessed, because there was no such thing as a Palestinian in 1948. And the Arabs who fled, given the assurances of the advancing Arab armies, that it would be only days before the Jews were pushed into the sea- killed- and Israel eliminated- deserved to lose their lands and could not be readmitted after a defensive war that Israel won. The simple truth is that if the Arabs had left Israel alone, Israel would have included a large number of Israeli Arabs, and the size of Israel would have remained at the original size deemed by the UN. Everything that took place after that to make Israel larger occurred because of Arab actions against Israel. There is only one narrative that has any truth to it, and that is this- the Jews returned to their land, as the indigenous people of Israel, after being expelled 2000 years earlier. The Jews were willing to live in peace after being granted the right to form a nation and the Arabs refused to accept Israel in their midst. THe Arabs attacked over and over again, and each time the Israelis learned a little more about what they had to do to survive- take the hilltops, control the surrounding areas, trust no piece of paper, and grudgingly accept that their neighbours wished only one thing for them- their annihilation. That is the only accurate narrative and anything less, Miss Jane, will not hold water.


    The article was written by a friend of mine…



  10. OK everyone speaks of the Palestinian Arab refugees who fled in 1948; of the 750,000 about 150,000 actually did not flee. 1,000,000 Arabs today are Israeli citizens.

    However no one talks about the 1,000,000 Jewish refugees who were forced to leave the Arab countries; 600,000 fleeing to Israel after 1948. Today about 10,000 remain.

    I am also against expanding settlements but attacking Tel Aviv was not the way to go about it.

    I admire your courage in admitting that you did not read the letter thoroughly.

  11. The problem is that if one attacks only one side and ignores half the story or “all the facts” or the suffering of the other side,one should not be surprised that some will consider this as “antisemitism.”

  12. Wonderful that you posted this! Thank you so much!!

  13. I like how you are willing to reconsider your ideas, learn and change or explain. It is a mature way to live life. More could do to learn from it

  14. dear Jane
    i so appreciate your writings in the Huffington Post
    (actually i appreciate ALL of your writings) – i appreciate the way you express the entire context of a situation, appreciate the way you receive and integrate new information into your understandings and communicate that to the “outside world”.

    this is the only way i believe there can ever be peace among “parties” with different viewpoints/passions – but, sigh, so few can hold a container that contains opposites and can navigate among shades of grey – with an open heart.

    many blessings for all your good works off and on the stages of theater, film and life.


  15. Dear Ms. Fonda,

    Your effort at trying to undo some of the damage you have done, through your careless reading of the anti-TIFF letter, is just one small step in the right direction.

    I am particularly disturbed by your closing comment.

    Indeed there are two narratives Ms. Fonda.

    One is based on real history and events recorded by reasonably impartial historians. This supports not just an Israeli narrative, but a narrative that is accepted by those who are objective enough to put their own biases aside for the most part, if not completely to see and understand things as they truly were.

    Then there is the Palestinian/Arab narrative which is the work of Arab/Palestinian propagandists and their sympathizers.

    You have carelessly and wrongly posited that there is truth to the Palestinian narrative of what happened in 1948.

    In so doing you completely ignore the context of those events and further completely ignore the history that preceded those events.

    The Arabs including those Arabs living within the Palestinian mandate, never before the 1960’s considered themselves as a distinct Palestinian society. Before 1948 and for some time thereafter, they saw themselves as Arabs who were part of southern Syria.

    The change in perception to seeing themselves as a distinct Palestinian society came about as a result of part of Arafat’s political/war strategy against Israel and with a view to gaining world sympathy. For a number of reasons, I needn’t enumerate except to say none of those reasons are good and some have to do with resurgent antisemitism, that ploy has been very successful.

    The critical reality you miss, which incidentally remains the root cause for there being no peace in the Holy Land is the intractable Jew and Israel hatred of the Arabs and Palestinians.

    That was the root cause of the hostilities between Arabs and Jews, where Arabs were always the aggressors that began to surface in the late 19th century and which gained momentum after WWI.

    In the aftermath of WWI, with the division of the former Ottoman Empire, the British mandated territory was all intended to become a state for the Jews. Because of the British becoming more anti-Semitic and seeing opportunities to further their interests in the Middle East, not the least of which was an interest in oil, the British gave 78% of their mandated territory to the Hashemites to rule over, which is now the state of Jordan, leaving the remaining 22% of the land to be divided between Jews and Arabs still within the region.

    The British also appointed Haj Amin Al-Husseini to be the grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Husseini was a virulent genocide minded anti-semitic Arab leader who incited repeated attacks on the Jews in the area.

    That same genocidal Jew hatred is what moved the Arabs to reject the UN Partition Resolution of 1947 and to attack the infant state Israel in 1948.

    The allied Arab nations that attacked Israel were responsible for the large majority of the Arabs fleeing the area. These Arab allies told the regional Arabs to leave until the land could be cleansed of the Jews and returned to them and because they threatened that if they stayed, they would be treated as Israeli collaborators and killed.

    These facts are indisputable.

    With that, the Arabs attacked Israel in 1948 and lost that genocidal minded war.

    The regional Arabs who fled to neighboring states could not return. Instead of taking these Arabs from the former Palestinian mandate into their society, they put them in refugee camps, which still exist to this day in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

    That intractable Jew/Israel hatred is running rampant throughout the Middle East and that includes Palestinian society.

    That Jew/Israel hatred is found in the charters of both Hamas and Fatah including the refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist, the call for armed resistance against Israel and the goal to replace all of Israel with a single Arab/Palestinian nation.

    In the context of history Ms. Fonda, the Palestinians are the victims of their fellow Arabs who added a new ideological battle front to that war and have continued to abuse and use the newly designated Palestinians to that end and to support their war efforts against Israel, by employing assymetrical warfare by the Palestinians.

    Further, another primary cause for the misery of the Palestinians in the West Bank is that they cannot rid themselves of nor control their intractable Palestinian Jew/Israel hatred, which time and again that has been self destructive.

    Every war Israel has fought against the Arabs has been a defensive war to survive the genocide minded Arabs.

    Every military action taken against Palestinian leadership, be it the PLO, PLFP, PA, Hamas, Fatah, and other terrorist arms of each of these groups, has been defensive.

    Who then is the aggressor Ms. Fonda and who is the victim?

    In the context of history over the past century it is the Jews and Israelis who are the real victims of Arab/Palestinian genocidally inspired aggression.

    As for the Palestinians who continue to lead impoverished and miserable lives, they are not the victims of Israel, but rather the victims of their Arab brethren and their own self destructive and blinding Jew/Israel hatred.

    The Palestinian call the birth of Israel “the Naqba” – ie. Tragedy. Indeed it was a tragedy, but a tragedy not visited upon them by Israel.

    As for the Palestinian/Arab narrative that casts Israel as the villain and they as the victims of Israel, that is comprised of either lies or damned lies which is all coming from the Arab/Palestinian propaganda playbook.

    If Ms. Fonda you would only begin reading authoritative history on the subject of the ongoing war between Israel and the Arabs, both pre and post 1948, you would soon have to admit that the Arab/Palestinian narrative is no more then an effort borne in part of self deceipt, to conjure up lies to cover harsh truths that the Arabs and the Palestinians simply cannot bear to admit.

  16. “Everywhere in the world; except in America, the Palestinian narrative is well known.”-Rashid Khaladi, Nov. 2008.

    THE Ongoing NAKBA

    On November 19, 2008, during the final day of Sabeel’s [Arabic for The Way] 7th International Conference: THE NAKBA: MEMORY, REALITY AND BEYOND, Noble Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire inspired the nearly 300 internationals in attendance to rise up and honor Mordechai Vanunu.

    Vanunu has been nominated for the Noble Peace Prize annually since 1988 for his courage and truth telling, by providing the photographic evidence that warned the world that Israel had already manufactured upwards of 200 nuclear warheads in 1985. Israel locked Vanunu up for 18 years, has held him under house arrest since April 2004, yet Israel continues to get away with nuclear ambiguity, has never allowed IAEA inspectors into the Dimona, nor have they signed the NPT.

    Mairead said:

    Dear Friends,

    I am very happy to be here with you and to be invited to speak to you. I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Naim Ateek, and all those who helped to organize this conference. I am deeply grateful to have the freedom to come here to East Jerusalem and the freedom to speak and meet with you.

    In this the 2lst century many of us take freedom for granted, but not everyone has

    Freedom here in Israel/Palestine. I realized this, yet again, when I told a Palestinian friend I was attending this conference and he told me that though he was born in Jerusalem he is not allowed to come into East Jerusalem.

    This brought home to me that East Jerusalem is indeed an integral part of the occupied territory of Palestine and many Arab people born here are not allowed into East Jerusalem.

    Many Arabs who do live in East Jerusalem live in fear of their homes being demolished or expulsion by the Israeli Government (such as the Al-Kurd family home in the Sheikh Jarab Neighbourhood of East Jerusalem where the Supreme court has ruled on the expulsion of this family from their home.) Since l967 almost 20,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the West Bank.

    The expulsions, and demolitions continue almost daily, along with continuing development of illegal settlements for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem, and the West Bank. A few days ago I visited the site in West Jerusalem where the Israelis are building a Museum of Tolerance upon an ancient Muslim cemetery, where the bones of the Muslims’ ancestors are being exhumed.

    This is deeply painful to the Muslim people and I would like to appeal for this project to be cancelled. The Israeli Supreme court, whose role it is to uphold human rights and International laws, has agreed to this desecration of Muslim graves, and continues to rule in favour of many inhumane and illegal Policies, directed against Palestinians, and against those Jewish Citizens who have the moral courage to challenge this discrimination and destruction of Palestinian homes.

    In spite of all this, I myself have great hope for change in the Middle East. I have hope because for almost a decade now I have been coming to Palestine/ Israel and in that time I have met with many deeply committed people who have dedicated their lives to working for a peaceful, just solution to what is one of the longest running conflicts in the world. To all these people I offer my support for your non-violent struggle for human rights and democracy.

    I know that all occupations, and violent conflicts, sooner or later come to an end and that here in this part of the world, occupation will end, justice will reign, and reconciliation will flourish between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

    But before peace can flourish, its roots of freedom, equality, justice, must be nourished with courage and truth.

    It takes courage to speak truth to power when the consequences are often suffering. The truth shall indeed set your spirit free, but in this oppressive occupying power, the truth will also be physically, emotionally and in other ways very costly.

    But we must challenge not only Israeli state injustice, but also challenge Palestinian armed militant insurgency groups to reject violence and use non-violent civil resistance – a political strategy which is not only morally right but in our Northern Irish experience does work. Still there have always been people in history, willing to tell the truth at great personal cost to themselves, and it is to such people we, the human family, remain indebted.

    We are indebted especially to all those who continue to tell the truth of Nakba. In this the year of the 60th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, in l948, when 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes.

    Today, the occupation continues also with the wall annexation of more Palestinian land, and the building of an Apartheid Racist system by the Israeli Government.

    Another great injustice is currently being perpetrated upon the Palestinian people

    by the Israeli Government, with their blockade of Gaza. Recently, I went with the Free Gaza Movement by boat from Larnaca to Gaza to help break the siege of Gaza. This siege is a policy of collective punishment of one and a half million Gazans by Israel because they voted for a Hamas Government.

    Collective punishment of civilians is against the Geneva Convention. The people of Gaza have been closed off completely from the world for two and a half years now, and their community and infrastructure is slowly being destroyed. There is a shortage of medicines, food, electricity and the basic necessities of life. But perhaps the worst form of torture for any human being is being unable to hold and touch the people they love, and the people of Gaza are not allowed to go across the now closed borders to be with their families. Hundreds of wives are parted from husbands in the West Bank, over 700 students cannot get out to go abroad to take up their positions in Universities, Sick people cannot get out to get hospital treatment, over 8O% of the children are suffering from malnutrition, and they have no milk for the children.

    Gaza is like a huge prison except the Israeli Occupiers’ policy is depriving the inmates of sufficient food and medicines for survival, in this the worlds largest open-air prison. The International community and UN, should resume economic assistance as they have a responsibility towards the civilian population of Gaza, which is not dependent on whether Hamas satisfies the political conditions set by Israel or whether ceasefires hold.

    In the face of all this injustice perpetrated upon the Palestinian community, The EU, European Governments and much of the world community, have not only remained silent but have connived with this injustice by cutting off financial aid necessary for the Palestinians’ survival, and are thus complicit with these ongoing crimes against humanity.

    I was shocked and saddened by the suffering I witnessed, but I took hope from the warmth and resilience of the people of Gaza. They want dialogue and unity with other Palestinians in the West Bank, and dialogue with the Israeli Government based on justice and equality.

    After meeting with Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyah and speaking at the Hamas Parliament, and at a meeting with over 100 political representatives, of all the political parties in Gaza, including Hamas and Fatah, I took away with me real hope that more and more Palestinians recognize that Palestinian National Unity and non-violent civil resistance is a political strategy that will work and give them great strength.

    Increasingly they are recognizing that divided Palestinian people, armed struggle and militarism will not solve their problem. I hope that all those of us who want Peace in the Middle East, will support the rightful struggle of non-violent civil resistance of Palestinians for an end to Occupation, a Free Palestine, and the upholding of all UN resolutions including the UN resolution 194 – Right to return of Refugees.

    As part of this non-violent civil resistance struggle, I support the Divestment/Disinvestment Campaign and the Campaign to end USA’s military support ($10 million dollars per day) to Israel which helps funds the military occupation of Palestine and other moves for Boycott.

    I also believe the Swiss Government, as repository for the Geneva Convention, should convene its members to discuss Israeli non-compliance of its obligations under the Geneva Convention. Also the Assembly of the United Nations should move to suspend Israel from its U.N. memberships, until it complies with all UN resolutions required of it.

    It is to be hoped now that the Israeli Government will recognize too that Militarism, occupation and repression only feeds the violence and they will enter into serious dialogue and negotiations with Hamas and other Palestinian leaders, as the democratically elected voice of the Palestinian people. These negotiations should be within the framework of international law, particularly international humanitarian law and human rights law, and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice and Security Council resolutions.

    This year also the State of Israel celebrates its 60th anniversary.

    I recognize the right of all people including the Jewish people to a peaceful existence. I also recognize the state of Israel but believe many of the Israeli Government’s domestic and foreign policies are racist and uphold an apartheid system.

    I believe such policies do not reflect the profound wise Jewish values of justice and peace. In an interdependent, interconnected world, where countries are made up of multi-ethnic, multi-religious, groups, we are challenged to build Government structures which reflect the plurality of all citizens and whose laws are inclusive of all members of that society.

    Governments cannot marginalize or have second class citizenship for whole sections of the population, as such injustice will result in violence. We learned this lesson in Northern Ireland, and are now moving towards a power-sharing all inclusive Government.

    I believe to have genuine peace, the Israeli Government needs to move from a Jewish state to a power-sharing democratic state which is equal and inclusive of all its citizens and not just its Jewish citizens.

    There is great hope for peace in Israel/Palestine, as this is a political problem with a political solution and the Israeli Government and USA, by treating Palestinians on a Fair basis, and with real political will can help solve this historical conflict which has resulted in this inhumane occupation.

    I recognize there is a deep fear of ethnic annihilation amongst many Israelis, but we, as the human family, must all learn to deal with our fears non-violently, and realize our best hope for human security is not in occupation but in implementing just and equal policies for all the people, and making friends with our enemies.

    Our security as the human family does not lie in militarism, nuclear weapons or war.

    Another courageous voice who reminded us of this is Mordechai Vanunu.

    Mordechai told the world Israel had nuclear weapons. He was concerned that possessing such weapons endangered Israel as it too could become another Hiroshima. For his act of truth telling he was punished by the Israel Government and continues 22 years later to be held in East Jerusalem unable to leave Israel or speak to foreigners or foreign press.

    For those of us who work to see a Nuclear Free Middle east, a nuclear free world, we remain indebted to Mordechai for his sacrifice on all our behalf, and we hope that Israel will uphold it International obligations to human rights and let Vanunu go free, and give leadership in the Middle East by abolishing its Nuclear weapons.

    We are all challenged to move from a Culture of violence, to a Culture of non-violence.

    Last year the Nobel Peace Laureates launched a Charter for a world without violence, in which they endorsed the words of the WHO ‘Violence is a preventable disease’.

    I would encourage you to study this and campaign for your Governments, religious Institutions and NGO’s to consider endorsing this Charter.

    The non-violent message in this Charter is not new. 2,000 years ago Jesus said ‘Love your enemies, do not kill’.

    The Cross is for me the greatest symbol of non-violent love in action, and in the words of the late Fr. McKenzie ‘you cannot read the bible and not know that Jesus was totally non-violent’.

    Also to remember the words of one of the early Christians ‘I am a Christian, I cannot be a soldier’.

    What a great contribution we can all make to the world in helping bring peace, if we only take the message of love and non-killing seriously and live by it. Then we could with our brothers and sisters of all faiths and none, build a no killing, Non-violent Middle East and world together.

    Peace, Salaam, Shalom, Shanti,
    Mairead Maguire

    Preceding Mairead, and the standing ovation for Vanunu, Reverend Tony Wolfe, a Presbyterian pastor from California expressed the thoughts and hopes of all those who attended the conference:

    We are more than 200 Christians from five continents who have come together to commemorate the tragic events that occurred 60 years ago in the lives of the people of Palestine. While we have come to hear from and to offer our solidarity and support to the indigenous Palestinian community in both Palestine and Israel, we have also heard from brothers and sisters in the Muslim and Jewish communities as they too have borne witness to the injustices visited upon the Palestinian population of this land. They have seen more than 531 villages depopulated and destroyed, and the creation of more than 750,000 refugees who have not been allowed to return to their homes since 1948.

    We recognize the irony in the coincidence that this year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The establishment of peace with justice requires that the full truth be told about the events of 1948 and the subsequent displacement of hundreds of thousands more Palestinian citizens in 1967, a process which has continued to the present day. The human rights of the Palestinian people continue to be crushed under a military occupation that dehumanizes both oppressed and oppressor. We share our conviction that it is only an acknowledgement of the full truth behind and within this current state of oppression that will lead to true freedom for all parties in the conflict.

    Truth is essential for peacemaking.

    We acknowledge the truth that our silence about the status of the Palestinian people equals complicity in this ongoing tragedy. The status quo is a crime against humanity. As Christians, we can no longer be silent. Things worsen as each day passes.

    The so-called peace process is rather a consistent and persistent process of death and destruction, both physically and spiritually.

    The Nakba–the catastrophe that has been imposed and is still being imposed on the people of Palestine–continues unabated and unrestrained. The truth of it is silenced or ignored both in our churches and in our media. This must change if we are to be true to Jesus’ call to be peacemakers.

    We have been encouraged by the thousands of Palestinians and Israelis who have practiced methods of nonviolent resistance in seeking to bring an end to the current conflict. We lift up the practice of nonviolence as the most practical means of achieving peace in this situation where the balance of military power is so overwhelmingly one-sided and where the reliance upon violence only continues to make matters worse.

    We are concerned by the use of the Bible as an instrument of colonialism and exploitation by those who would enlarge the conflict. We reject the exclusivism presupposed in such an interpretive approach to biblical truth.

    We seek the reconciliation of all peoples throughout the world, and therefore call on our brothers and sisters in the worldwide church to speak out and act out the ministry of reconciliation.

    We have been touched by the faces of children wherever we have gone.

    We have come to realize that an entire generation of children is being crippled because they have no access to the nutrition needed for normal growth and development, and thus endure spiritual and social alienation, violence and lack of opportunities which none of us would tolerate even for a day in our own communities.

    We remember the call of the Nobel peace laureates that the first decade of this new century be devoted to nonviolence. We hear anew the call of Jesus to “let the little children come unto me,” to let them be placed in the center of the current picture of marginalization, thus challenging the international community with their vulnerability and their need for protection.

    Therefore, we call upon all our churches and governments:

    · to work with renewed energy for an end to this endlessly spreading military occupation;

    · to insist on full implementation of all United Nations resolutions and all human rights requirements in international law which pertain to Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories and the right of return for Palestinian refugees;

    · to insist on greater freedom of movement and more humane conditions in the occupied territories;

    · to insist that Israel accord equal rights to all its citizens, Jewish and Palestinian alike;

    · to divest themselves from investments in companies that enable the occupation;

    · to insist that Israel lift its ongoing siege and collective punishments which prevent the free movement of people, goods and humanitarian aid in and out of Gaza; and finally

    · to support the work of Sabeel in its efforts to build bridges of nonviolence between people in all the monotheistic religions represented in the region.

    We have heard the call of urgency from our fellow Christians in this holy land.

    As in Jesus’ own day, so Bethlehem lies under military occupation today surrounded by a prison wall. Our memories of the birth of The Child of Bethlehem 2000 years ago are contrasted and challenged by the reality of the children and the parents and the grandparents of Bethlehem today. As followers of that holy child, may our spirits meet in Bethlehem’s streets as we join in prayers and actions for light and life!

    May we seek creatively to disturb the status quo with acts born of the Spirit of courage, love and truth.

    THANK YOU Jane for courageously expanding this narrative!

  17. Jane,why not just state how you truly feel.That its fine for Israel to expel Palestinians from their land and use chemical weapons on children.
    This half-hearted concern for the residents of Gaza is laughable.Please stop.

  18. This year it is Gaza, next year it would be some other reason to demonize Israel. Read the Hamas charter. This has nothing to do with “occupation”, this has to do with the very existence of Israel.

    The PLO came into existence prior to the 1967 war. What occupation were they against? It wasn’t the occupation of Gaza by Egypt and the occupation of the West Bank by Jordan. It was Israel in the pre-1967 borders.

    Ms. Fonda, you and your ilk make me sick.

  19. Dear Jane:

    I think that it is important to get facts straight before speaking out. Israel is the easiest target in the world these days because Islamic extremism, oil money and leftist causes have joined forces. “Stars” are being used by Islamists to advance their agenda of jihad and conquest. Those same “stars” are also using the issue to paint themselves as humanitarians and liberal thinkers even though the truth is that they are siding with terror. The “stars” and some “intellectuals” appear to be helping to advance the steady rise of Islamic extremism.

    I think that it is important to support Israel. Jane, the peace movement that you want to protect (they too are blind to the real threats in the world, especially from Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran) ignore the war and terrorism over the decades by Islamists who see no reason to compromise (except on a temporary basis) because their religion will not allow compromise with Jews (whom they evicted from their own countries). Supporters who signed the Toronto Film Festival statement are too lazy to read history to arrive at logical and fair-minded conclusions.

    There is a lot of bullying, stupidity and bandwagon mentality against Israel in what the “stars,” manipulated by Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Fatah, are doing. It would be laughable if it were not so dangerous – revealing so much ignorance and mean-spiritedness.

    People like you who appease Islamists are doing damage to Israel. I think that your brothers- and sisters-in-arms are proud of this new political power gathered through the hate campaign against Israel. However, when the shit hits the fan and those same groups who you now support, begin once again (as they did in 9/11 and have been doing constantly throughout the Muslim world over the centuries) to attack women, Blacks, Gays, Hollywood, our Western culture, values and religions; then please think back to when you led the battle against Israel in order to endanger its survival, religion, culture and economy. Please educate yourselves on the issues before you shoot off your big mouths in support of lies and hostility against Israel.


  20. Thank you for “rethinking” your signature to the petition and posting your feelings on the Huffington post.

  21. Amen?

  22. Thanks Jane,

    This is something that can only be called Israeli terrorism in the Gaza Strip.highlighting the necessity of citizens to understand the Israeli corporate sponsors of the world’s latest apartheid state. I found it interest how other countries are protesting,.Starbucks Coffee were rebranded with near identical logos, reflecting the true ethos of the corporation’s chief executive Howard Shultz as ‘Zionist Coffee’. Coffee place mats, branding the ‘Zionist Coffee’ logo were placed throughout Belfast city centre, exposing to customers the nature of the relationship between the corporation and the Israeli government.As well as having followed the US military to establish stores in occupied Afghanistan, Iraq and even in the notorious Guantanamo Bay torture centre, the Starbucks CEO, Shultz proudly accepted the “Israel 50th Anniversary Friend of Zion Tribute Award”. I do like that type of active but creative use of image and corporations. Israel displays all the symptoms of a fascist apartheid state this type of actions are aimed at raising awareness of what Israeli or zionist view are.

  23. My Evening in Sderot: June 8, 2009.

    Less than a five minute car ride from the Erez Checkpoint-where I spent 3 days embedded with CODE PINK activists who were invited by the UN to build playgrounds in Gaza- driven by a spirit of dissent from US policy for 2009 is the final year of the UN Decade of Creating a Culture of Nonviolence for All the Children of the World.

    America is on the record in the UN as abstaining from voting because “it would make it harder for us to go to war.”

    In the settlement [and under international law ALL the settlements are illegal] of Sderot, bomb-shelters are more common than gas stations.

    Across from the cinema lies the crowded open air community center that is furnished with bean bag pillows and padded benches.

    As I passed by many people I made eye contact with a plump 53 year old Russian immigrant who did not want to give her name, but smiled all the time as we conversed via my English-Hebrew-Russian speaking translator who introduced me as an American reporter wanting to know about life in Sderot.

    She tells us, “America needs to know we want peace on this planet. My destiny brought me to Sderot fifteen years ago and I don’t feel much different except the quassams make me nervous and anxious, but this is still a great place to live. I couldn’t find an apartment to rent anywhere when I arrived except in Sderot. There had been a huge Aliyah and only in Sderot could I find a place with an apartment to rent. The important thing is to have a roof over my head.”

    During this reporters first trip to Jerusalem in 2005, I learned about Aliyah from an American who informed me, “My friends got so tired of me complaining about my political frustrations over the last election; they said, ‘If you don’t like it here, just leave!’

    “I had already been considering joining the Peace Corps, and when I got turned down because of a medical problem, I explored the possibility of going to Israel.

    “I learned about, Aliyah, which means ‘going up,’ and the deal was hard to pass by. I get fifteen hundred shekels or about thirty-six hundred dollars a year in increments to help with my expenses. I can apply for unemployment benefits after seven months, as long as I look for a job. I just completed Ulpan, which was five hundred hours of Hebrew language immersion studies that took five months, five hours a day, for five weeks.

    “I get subsidized rent and just moved out of the Absorption Center Projects. All the new immigrants get room, utilities, and three meals a day for the first five months in Israel. We also receive free medical care and all the doctors here are dedicated.

    “We can go to the university with 100 percent of the tuition paid by the government. College is much cheaper here; it’s about three thousand to four thousand dollars a year. Until I am thirty years old, I can receive up to three years of education for my master’s degree.”

    Fortuna, an affable widow with four children who had all moved away from Sderot, migrated from Tunius to the colony in 1956, “It was all desert here, just a few mobile trailers were here. When I first came here there was nothing at all but sand and a few cheap house trailers, one medical clinic with one doctor, but no shopping at all.

    “Eight years ago the quassams began coming and all I could do was think about the next one. Two years ago while I was in my bathroom one exploded in front of my house and I thought I was dieing. The explosion broke the glass windows but the municipality repaired it quickly.

    “I am always waiting to hear ‘Zeva Adom-Zeva Adom’ [red alert-red alert] announcement that warns the rockets are coming at us. I am nervous all the time, I never leave my home and am only here today because my neighbor took me shopping and then brought me here.

    “I am always afraid to go out of my house, but days like this it is like a party, everyone comes outside. The last rocket came over about a month ago and I am out here now only because my friends give me courage to come here and sit.

    “I have not met any Arabs but there are a lot of them here. They are lucky the municipality lets them live and work here. There is an Arab neighborhood close by, but I do not know where it is and I never talk to any of them because I am afraid of them.

    “The only way to stop the rockets are to annihilate all the Arabs in Gaza.”

    With a broken heart and a deep sigh, I thank Fortuna for her time and wished her many more days like that day. She smiled broadly and hugged me good bye.

    BTW-On November 18, 2008, I was one among forty seven international ecumenical Christians and other people of faith who rolled out of bed before 5 AM to travel from Jerusalem to the Erez Crossing to stand up as a united people of conscience in NONVIOLENT Solidarity with the people of Gaza and in support of all the NGO’s that had been denied access into the Gaza Strip.

    We went in love and for love of all of God’s children;

    Be they the oppressed or the oppressors

    Those imprisoned by walls and those who erect them,

    Those who are denied clean water and their deniers,

    Those whose fears rule their hearts and the heartbroken,

    Those whose ideology, greed, apathy, and power blind them to their culpability, responsibilities and obligations.

    We went with hope to arouse the consciences of the leaders of the world to seek peace through justice; equal human rights for all.

    I went back last June still with hope that the consciences of the leaders of the world can be accessed for the sake of the children of Gaza Palestine as well as Israel.

    “HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it.”-St. Augustine

  24. Dear Jane,
    I just want you to know I am thinking about you and how being a person in the spotlight is like being under a magnifying glass. You are an amazing person and I wrote this for you.

    Lady Jane Fonda

    Lady Jane Fonda a woman of great heart,on top of that God made her so smart.

    She’s beautiful, talented and filled with grace,filled with love for the human race.

    Her heart gets bruised with the rumors they say, it’s comfort and love that we send her way.

    Inspired are we who know what’s right, we know you’ll continue with your rigteous fight.

    An advocate for those in need, like an angel straight from heaven on your trusted stead.

    Knowledge is power of this were sure, for those who act like idiots sadly there is no cure.

    So Lady Jane Fonda we all hope you hear, that we all love you and hold you dear.

    This is where this little poem ends, and with my admiration we will always be friends.

    I hope this poem helps you to know I found you to be a grace filled woman.

    With respect and affection,
    Raeann McDonald

  25. Dear Ms Fonda,
    I wanted to thank you for removing your signature from the protest letter and instead supporting an open and free dialogue. I wanted to thank you for supporting free speech, as you have always in the past and continue to do so now. It is a brave move and takes courage and character but for me as an artist and I am sure you feel the same way, it is the only way. Peace, liberty and freedom of speech go hand in hand. I am sad that some Egyptian filmmakers have chosen to remove their films from competition, it is their prerogative, but I think they would benefit more from attending and getting their say out there,(a say that has to do with the internal politics of their own country not only with Israel) it is a personal choice, but what I know from my small experience meeting people at film festivals, talking with them, even your “enemies” makes everything seem smaller, we are all human you see, when you sit and have a coffee with someone on a sunny afternoon, it feels like we can work things out. That is what is so wonderful with these types of arenas. It is a shame not to take advantage of the endless possibilities that exist as a result of human interaction.

    It is the eve of the Jewish New Year and I wish you and all of us a New Year filled with Love and Peace, Amen.

  26. I respect many of your projects and the things you have done, but I feel you are backtracking more than necessary here.

    I found a discussion of the letter in question (and a link to it) on DemocracyNow (cut and paste if you haven’t seen it):


    This sentiment in the letter seems to sum up the statement:

    “Looking at modern, sophisticated Tel Aviv without also considering the city’s past and the realities of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza strip, would be like rhapsodizing about the beauty and elegant lifestyles in white-only Cape Town or Johannesburg during apartheid without acknowledging the corresponding black townships of Khayelitsha and Soweto.”

    That said… I find the statement to be far too mild, if anything. The vast majority of violence in Palestine is perpetrated unquestionably by the Israeli military forces and the civilian Palestinian casualties greatly outnumber Israeli casualties.

    The use of violence on both sides is unfortunate, but the question of who is being the most aggressive (and who is vastly more powerful) should not be clouded any more than it already is.

    Now, I’m not trying to psychoanalyze you here, but I think you may have a heightened fear of public backlash stemming from your more radical days. This is something for you to consider yourself, but I think we need more radical voices today than we’ve ever needed before. Milquetoast leftists and radicals are simply not going to bring about broad and much-needed change.

    And I’m not just talking about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. The U.S. may or may not (arguably) be engaged in as much military aggression these days, but the overall state of the world is in much more dire straits. The environmental conditions around the world only continue to get worse (as toxins accumulate & the old-growth doesn’t come back very quickly) and hundreds of millions are starving each day (cited on my blog). Such realities deserve to be reflected upon and commented about much more than they are.

    Anyway… we need to stand strong and not let various social pressures make us back down from strong ethical positions. I don’t think you went to far with this letter, and I can understand you wanting to be diplomatic, but having too many diplomats is just like having too many cooks who then fail to notice that one of the entrées is boiling over.

    With respect,


  27. Thanks for clarifying this. However, I am still disappointed that you have backed out of your support for the letter. I thought the letter was fine as written. I also find it hard to believe that you didn’t read the letter carefully. It seems rather than you have caved in to pressure.

  28. “The Israeli-Palestinian story cannot be reduced to a simplistic aggressor-victim relationship. In order to fully understand this, one must be willing to come together with an open heart and really hear the narratives of both sides. One narrative sees 1948 as the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land. Another sees it as the birth of a nation. Conceivably it was both. Neither narrative can be erased, both must be heard.”

    This is one of the most cogent pieces of opinion I have ever heard about this heart-breaking global challenge. Sadly, the solution requires deep human understanding — something shockingly missing in this debate.

    Thanks, Jane.

  29. Thank you Jane for your protesting against the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival’s presentation of ten films about the Israeli city Tel Aviv. It seems to me in Brazil that the end of the blockade of Gaza has a little support by american citizens. In Brazil we can have our own problems of criminality but most of us are strongly against the great injustices committed by colonizer jews against native palestinians.

    • Colonizer Jews?? Do 3500 years of non-broken presence in the Land of Israel not count for anything? With a name like Ricard Araujo, I think that the South American Aborigines (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indigenous_peoples_in_Brazil) have a much better claim to Brazil than European colonizers.

      The Jews are the indigenous people of the region and were there long before Islam was concocted.

      BTW: Gaza has been governed by Hamas for quite a long time after they threw out Fatah and after the Israelis, in a gesture of goodwill (in the false hope of getting peace talks going), removed 9,000 of their own citizens.

      Did Gazans/Hamas make Gaza a better place for tourism and agriculture and improve life for its people? No, they demolished the existing greenhouses, smuggled arms and ammo into Gaza and then sent thousands of rockets into Israel with UN approval – war has been and still is their main objective. Israel has every right to defend itself just as you would expect Brazil to defend itself against a Hugo Chavez if that maniac had his sights on your country.

      Read: http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/5334541/the-moral-inversion-of-richard-goldstone.thtml

  30. Bravo, Jane. Very well said. You are brilliant.

  31. I appreciate giving your backing of the boycott a 2nd thought. It is not a simple conflict and Israel should not be demonized for defending its own citizens under constant rocket fire.

  32. Dear Jane:

    It take courage to admit an error and you should be commended.

  33. Please read and listen….



    • MORON, who was shelling Israeli cities? You are just AFNJ-off who only sees the pals as victims. Israel left gassah and were repayed by having shells lobbed at them. The wall has been a great way to stop terrorists. You should f-yourself

  34. Jane,

    Thank you for your follow-up comments on the Toronto Declaration and your admission that you hadn’t read the text carefully enough before signing it. Yes, the declaration misrepresented the history of Tel Aviv, among many other misrepresentations and falsehoods designed to demonize and delegitimize Israel.

    I’m glad that you’ve come to realize that there are two sides to this issue: an Israeli side as well as a Palestinian side. This second blog shows you to be far more open-minded than many of the other signers of the Delaration, who totally embrace the Palestinian narrative and ignore the Israeli narrative and see Palestinians as totally in the right and Israel totally in the wrong. There are always complexities in a conflict such as this and nothing is ever black and white, as many Palestinian sympathizers seem to think.

    Thanks again for your revised comments.

  35. Jane

    What a coward you have become and what a hypocrite to boot. You couldn’t live with a little girl runing down a Vietnamese street showing the awful napalm burns inflicted on her by US bombs, neither could the rest of the world.

    It was horrible but just as horrible if not worse are the pictures of the dead Palestinian babies that the Isrealis have murdered time and time again.

    The Israeli’s are no better than their Nazi teachers and Jane you are complicit in Israeli propoganda due to renuciation of what you truely believe because you were pressured by a powerful Hollywood rabi. You said it was the wording of the letter, please just call yourself a slave of the jewish media monopoly and be done with it.

    Only when evil is confronted can it be defeated the jews have easily subjugatged this by calling you anti-semite for realizing the true horrors caused by Israel every day.

    I hope you turn in their graves, you apologist coward.

  36. Jane,

    I have wondered after seeing all the public outbursts over the last few days how you handle rude, in-your-face types. You have had and have lots of criticim directed towards you. How do you make sense of it all? And what do you do to keep the wind in your sales. Also, I think you do a good job of not engaging or responding – on the same level – to that type of behavior. Funny, I often think of Dolly when these things happen. I wonder how she keeps it together so well. Seems like she should teach a seminar.


  37. You signed your name to a letter without reading it?A letter that was bound to cause controversy?

  38. As Rhoda Kadalie and Julia Bertelsmann, two black South African women whose families were active in the anti-apartheid movement, wrote recently:

    Israel is not an apartheid state … Arab citizens of Israel can vote and serve in the Knesset; black South Africans could not vote until 1994. There are no laws in Israel that discriminate against Arab citizens or separate them from Jews. …South Africa had a job reservation policy for white people; Israel has adopted pro-Arab affirmative action measures in some sectors. Israeli schools, universities and hospitals make no distinction between Jews and Arabs. An Arab citizen who brings a case before an Israeli court will have that case decided on the basis of merit, not ethnicity. This was never the case for blacks under apartheid.”…

  39. Historically the land the Israeli’s occupy is their land and the Palestinians were merely brought there as cheap labor.

    As for how they’re treated… Israel treats them as citizens, allows them to vote and does not visciously attack them as muslims attack Jews and Christians in muslim occupied countries.

    Make note that Israel is a small country by any standards, yet look at the muslim countries that surround her. They’re enormous and most of the land is unused and unoccupied. At any time since 1948 they could’ve offered the Palestinians, their muslim brethren, a plot of land. But instead they posted border guards to keep Palestinians from entering their countries.

    Many can speculate why these muslims would not want to help their muslim brothers beyond acting like they actually care, and I too have my own theory which I believe is right…

    I think Israel would love nothing better than to know peace and live in harmony with the muslims in their country. Let’s face it, they’re the only country in the entire region that creates rather than destroys, offers civil rights, creates and manufactures products, invents new things, and repeatedly comes up with medical procedures that benefit the entire world. In the midst of constant war they still manage to be a major world contributor. And do make note of the fact that Israel is known as ‘the breadbasket of the middle east.’ God has blessed them and gave them the land a long time ago, and has promised that they will live there forever and ever.

    Yet what have the arab muslims done during these same years? They’ve allowed others with superior technology and drive to come and extract oil from their lands, and through no effort on their part they bacame filthy rich. Did they use the money for the good of the people? Some did, but not to bring their country into the modern age beyond using technology that others have created. They sent some of their people to better countries than their own to be educated in schools better than their own. And the elite enjoy rich boy toys – much like children who’ve found a wallet, they spend money foolishly on war and things that amuse them. If you look at their countries you’ll still see most of the people walking around in bedsheets, riding on rikkety old bikes on dirt roads to their mud and stone huts where they eat goat meat and dust for dinner. There are no supermarkets outside of the major cities, no malls or convenience stores, pavement, parks, libraries or schools. They still live much as they did 2000 years ago while tiny Israel thrives.

    The fact of the matter is that the muslims in that region will never allow the Israeli’s and the Palestinians to live together in peace, and if there is even a hint of peace, the neighboring muslims will supply rockets to front groups such as Hezbollah to cause turmoil. Perhaps they see how prosperous Israel is in the face of constant upheaval and fear what great things they would be capable of if they did not have to expend so much of their money to be in a constant state of readiness for war.

    A final note: as a Christian I must side with Israel, as the Jew is the brother to the Christian, adopted into the family of God through the kinship of our Lord Jesus Christ. It doesn’t mean I’ll support them in everything they do, I don’t do as much for my children. When they do wrong I can see that and acknowledge it, and the same goes for Israel. But nevertheless, if my son did something wrong and someone tried to kill him for it, though I’d admit his error, anyone trying to seriously harm him will have me to contend with… this is much the same as I feel towards Israel.

    Speaking of Israel, the Lord God said: ‘I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who come against you.’ This is what we as a nation are going to be seeing as President Obama turns his back on Israel as he’s been doing. In fact he’s the worst president in America’s history when it comes to being a friend to the Jewish people or the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people. And make no mistake about it, “we will reap what we sow.”

  40. Dear Jane,

    I agree that it’s important to hear the narratives of both sides of the Palestine/Israel conflict. In doing that, it’s crucial to resist pressure to interpret the military damages as ‘equal’ on both sides, for example, when war crimes associated with the Gaza massacre are presented as ‘war crimes on both sides’ without pointing out the differences in scale. The UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reports on war crimes in the conflict detail the extent of the crimes. Clearly, the crimes perpetrated by the IDF massively outweigh the crimes of Hamas. It is important that the truth about this be included in an honest attempt at peace-making. Cover-ups to pacify any party never lead to peace.

    Another point that can get smothered in attempts to try to divvy up responsibility without being so-called inflammatory is to omit the fact that Palestine is occupied and occupied countries have a legal right to fight their occupiers. There’s no evidence to suggest that Palestinians would be lobbing missiles at Sredot if Israel was not illegally occupying Palestine and perpetrating crimes against them with blockades, land stealing and all the many injustices going on. In short the occupied party is in a completely different position than the occupying party and has rights to self-defence that the occupier does not have. Invaders and occupiers have literally placed themselves in the line of fire.

    I wish none of this was happening. I don’t enjoy criticizing any country. However, I’m absolutely sure that watering down the complaints against Israel’s documented and disproportionate injustices will not help Israel or the rest of us.


    Stefa Shaler

  41. Dear Ms. Fonda:

    When I first heard of the Letter of Declaration, I could not believe that you had attached your support to this. I have read your last book, and I remember you saying that you had become interested in examining your christian faith. Your work with young women can attest to that. Loving and being with the down trodden was one of Jesus’s greatest messages. Then to sign a letter condemning the Jews about Gaza and aligning yourself with Hamas in anyway, I found this upsetting and not at all like you sounded in your book. I am ignorant about any history of the the country of Israel. In my heart I am saddened that once again it is the Jews who are attacked in print, in the air by bombs, and by anti-semitic rhetoric. The jews are a people who want to live in peace. They do not to my knowledge send ships, bombs,or soldiers to other countries to invade them, they do however defend themselves. Now this is going to sound right out there, but I am not afraid of the jews doing anything harmful to the world, but I am afraid of the Muslims doing something to harm the world. 911 is not a myth, and our Canadian soldiers are not fighting insurgents they are fighting terrorists.

    I admire your work as an actress, and you have certaintly made a lot people happy. In some ways you remind of my mother-in-law she is the matriach and we all sit at her knee to listen to her “wisdom”. She shoots first and asks questions later, and hurts people with her comments. Just because you are a woman in your 70’s does not mean you have self-actualized, there are still lessons to be learned and lots of knowledge to be gained. I am glad you re-read the Letter and clarified your stand. Now just like my MIL enjoy that garden and stay happy and peace be with you.


    Karen McMillan

  42. Israel is presented in the media as a monodimensional carricature, a country you identify with war. Who has heard that Israel recently produced a stem cell cure for MS? That Israel developed that little camera in a pill to detect cancers that would otherwise develop unnoticed? That the imaging systems in most hospitals were developed in Israel? Two Nobel prizes in Chemistry that will revolutionise mdical treatment? That the cell phone we use, the Intel chip in our computers, the Windows software we use are all developed in Israel? That the first teams at any world disaster inevitably include the Israelis?

    You write: ” the greatest “re-branding” of Israel would be to celebrate that country’s long standing, courageous and robust peace movement”. I think “rebranding” would be to acknowledge that there is far more to Israel than the wars foisted upon them.

    Jews in Palestine have been under attack in a big way since 1920, and the Jewish community was massacred and driven out of Jaffa in 1921, out of Hebron in 1927 … and if they were simply left alone, there would be no wars.

  43. Many are unaware that Israel thwarts potential suicide and other violent attacks by the Palestinians on a daily basis, this is underscored by the media. Israel has every right to defend itself from Palestinian attackers who are bent on the destruction of Israel. Israel has made too many futile attempts at peace. How does one make peace with those that want an end to your existence? The Arabs must stop using violence as a vehicle for change, it must take violence out of their rhetoric, their belief system, their behavior, only then can peace be conceptualized.

  44. Expanding the narrative should include recognizing the fact that there are more Jewish refugees from Arab countries than Palestinian refugees from Israel.

    Gazans voted for Hamas knowing in advance what would happen if they did vote for Hamas. Votes have consequences. It is unlikely that there will be a new fair election any time soon. Hamas used the Gaza invasion as an excuse to execute and harass
    Fatah members in Gaza. This fact has been completely ignored.

    Hamas is an organization with a Nazi-like hatred for all Jews everywhere. The leadership of Hamas are Holocaust deniers and believer in international Jewish and/or Zionist conspiracy theories. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s existence within the pre-1967 borders.

    Boycotting movies is particularly useless because it boycotts one of the most liberal segments of Israeli society. I doubt that movies made by Israeli Arabs would be boycotted. This boycott ends up being a boycott of movies by Israeli Jews.

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