120+ celebrities and entertainment industry professionals to sign open letter in support of artistic freedom and against boycott of Sydney Festival.
More than 120 leaders from the entertainment industry have signed an open letter released by the non-profit entertainment industry organisation Creative Community For Peace in support of the Sydney Festival and participating artists.
After suffering through two years of border closures, extended COVID lockdowns, the most catastrophic bushfires on record and devastating floods, this iconic Festival, celebrating its 45th year, is supposed to celebrate Sydney’s diverse history and rich culture, reuniting Sydney as a community.
The open letter comes in response to attempts by anti-Israel activists to boycott the Sydney Festival because the Israeli Embassy in Australia is sponsoring the performance of a world-renowned Israeli dance ensemble.
The entertainment leaders stand united in rejecting the cultural boycott of Israel as yet another roadblock to peace and its subversion of art for nefarious political purposes.
“While art can reflect politics, and artists can choose to reflect their politics in their own art, art should never become subservient to politics and artists and cultural events should never be forced to be politicised,” the letter reads.
Signatories to the open letter include: Gene Simmons: Bassist / co-lead singer KISS; Haim Saban: Chairman & CEO, Saban Capital Group Aaron Bay-Schuck, CEO/Co-Chairman Warner Record; Diane Warren, Songwriter/Producer; Craig Emanuel: Partner, Paul Hastings LLC; Emile Sherman: Co-Founder, See-Saw Films; Rick Rosen, Co-Founder, Endeavor; Ben Silverman; Chairman & Co-CEO, Propagate Content; Orly Marley, President, Tuff Gong Worldwide; Jacqueline Saturn, President, Virgin Music; Stephan Elliot, Director; Emmanuelle Chriqui: Actress; Dan Rosen; Michael Rotenberg, Partner, 3 Arts Entertainment; David Zedeck , Global Head of Music at UTA; Gary Gersh, President, Global Touring, A.E.G.; and Sherry Lansing, Former CEO of Paramount Pictures. A full list of all the signatories can be seen below.
The letter’s signatories believe strongly in the power of art to bring people together, transcend boundaries, broaden awareness, and affect positive societal change. They also call on their friends and colleagues to join in expressing support for the artists of the Sydney Festival and against this counterproductive boycott call.
“We, the undersigned, believe the cultural boycott movement of the Sydney Festival is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition. While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer.” the letter continues.
“The organisers of the Sydney Festival boycott intentionally misrepresent the truth about Israel and make provocative statements, to try and bully artists into backing out of the festival. Their messages deceptively involve an element of dishonesty and deny the truth of Jewish indigeneity to the land of Israel. Their actions only further hostility and dampen hope for peace, which all of us so urgently desire,” stated Ari Ingel, Director of Creative Community for Peace.
Mr. Ingel added that “the Sydney Festival is a beautiful event celebrating Sydney’s diverse and rich culture – bringing the entire community together. Unfortunately, it’s now being used for political purposes to divide, rather than unite. The boycott movement is also counterproductive and instead of amplifying the voices of coexistence trying to effect real change on the ground, those who support the calls for a boycott are only creating more hostility, division, and mistrust.”
Creative Community for Peace aims to promote the arts and culture as a means to peace and to counter and educate the entertainment industry about rising antisemitism. To learn more about their work, visit www.creativecommunityforpeace.com.
We, the undersigned, believe that cultural events are vitally important vehicles to bring people together of different backgrounds under a shared love of the arts.
The annual Sydney Festival embodies this unifying power. Every year, thousands of Australians make common cause in a massive display of cultural exchange and celebration of our diverse cultures and histories.
Unfortunately, this year, the spirit of the Festival is under attack by those calling for a boycott because the Israeli Embassy is sponsoring a world renowned Israeli dance ensemble. This call for a boycott turns the festival from an opportunity for unity into a weapon of division.
We also reject the boycott activist claims that Jews are not indigenous to the land of Israel. The Jewish people have over a 3,000 year connection to the land of Israel, and many Jewish families have lived in the land for hundreds of generations. This fact does not deny any other groups claims of indigeneity.
While art can reflect politics, and artists can choose to reflect their politics in their own art, art should never become subservient to politics and artists and cultural events should never be forced to be politicized.
We believe the cultural boycott movement is an affront to both Palestinians and Israelis who are working to advance peace through compromise, exchange, and mutual recognition.
While we all may have differing opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the best path to peace, we all agree that a cultural boycott is not the answer.
As Nick Cave stated: “The cultural boycott of Israel is cowardly and shameful. Israel is a real, vibrant, functioning democracy - yes, with Arab members of parliament - and so engaging with Israelis, who vote, may be more helpful than scaring off artists or shutting down means of engagement.”
We call on all our friends and colleagues in the entertainment community to express their support for an exciting and successful Sydney Festival 2022 and to purchase a ticket and attend the festival itself to understand the power of arts to bring people together first hand.
Gene Simmons: Bassist / co-lead singer KISS
Haim Saban: Chairman & CEO, Saban Capital Group
Aaron Bay-Schuck: CEO/Co-Chairman Warner Records
Jason Adelman: Vice President, Brand Innovators
Orly Adelson: Producer, Orly Adelson Productions
Marty Adelstein: CEO, Tomorrow Studios
Michael Adler: Partner of Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler, Feldman & Clark Inc.
Nate Auerbach: Partner, Versus Creative
Eric Balfour: Actor
Eve Barlow: Music/Culture Journalist
Richard Baskind: Partner & Head of Music, Simons Muirhead & Burton
Miles Beard: Senior Vice President, A&R at Artist Partner Group, Inc.
Aton Ben-Horin: Global Vice President of A&R for Warner Music Group
Pablo Bendersky: Producer/Artist
Steven Bensusan: President, Blue Note Entertainment Group
Adam Berkowitz: Founder and President, Lenore Entertainment Group
Luc Bernard: Director, Voices of the Forgotten
Josh Binder: Partner, Rotherberg, Mohr, and Binder LLP
Neil Blair: Partner, The Blair Partnership
Evan Bogart: Songwriter & Co-Founder of Boardwalk Entertainment Group
Josh Brill: Writer, Producer
David Byrnes: Partner, Ziffren, Brittenham, LLP
Markell Casey: Senior Director A&R, Sony Music Australia
Brian Celler: Bravo Charlie Management
Pamela Charbit: A&R Manager, Atlantic Records
Deborah Conway: Artist
Leanne Coronel: President, The Coronel Group
Emmanuelle Chriqui: Actress
Raye Cosbert: Managing Director, Metropolis Music
Ian Daly: Head of Brand Strategy, Live Nation
Greg Daniels: Writer and Producer
Josh Deutsch: Chairman/CEO, Premier Music Group
Avi Diamond: Director, Film & Licensing Warner Chappell Music
Kosha Dillz: Artist
Craig Dorfman: President and Owner, Frontline MGMT
David Draiman: Artist, Frontman of Disturbed
Stephan Elliot: Director
Craig Emanuel: Partner, Paul Hastings LLC
Ron Fair: Record Producer & CEO, Faircraft Inc.
Sharon Farber: Composer
Daniel Federman: Owner, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Ken Fermaglich: Partner, United Talent Agency
Josh Fluxgold: President, One Way MGMT
Erica Forster: VP of Music Partnerships, DanceOn
Gary Foster: Principal at Krasnoff Foster Productions
Jordan Frazes: Founder, Frazes Creative
Daryl Friedman: Former Chief Advocacy & Industry Relations Officer for The Recording Academy
Siri Garber: President, Platform Public Relations
David Gardner: President, Artists First
Andrew Genger: Manager, Red Light Management
Gary Gersh: President of Global Talent, AEG
Gary Ginsberg: Former Senior VP, SoftBank Group Corp.
Daniel Glass: President and Founder, Glassnote Records
Karen Glauber: President, HITS Magazine
David Glick: Founder & CEO, Edge Group
Elon Gold: Comedian
Michael Goldwasser: Producer & President/Co-Founder, Easy Star Records
Andrew Gould: Senior Music Executive
Cary Granat: CEO, Immersive Artistry
Trudy Green: Trudy Green Management/HK
Steve Greenberg: President, S-Curve Records
Scott Greenberg: Manager and Partner at LBI Entertainment
Ronnie Harris: Partner, Harris & Trotter LLP
Jo Hart: Founder, Hart Media
Avi Hirshbein: Associate, Sony Production Music
Richard "BournRich” Ingram: Artist, Creative Director
Neil Jacobson: Founder, Hallwood Media
Zach Katz: President, Raised In Space
Scott Kluge: President, Tremendous Entertainment
Amanda Kogan: Agent, The Gersh Agency
Rick Krim: Co-Founder, Worldwired Music
Gabz Landman: VP of A&R, Warner Records
Sherry Lansing: Former CEO of Paramount Pictures
Colin Lester OBE: Founder/Chairman, JEM Music Group
David Levy: Partner, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment
David Levy: Former President of Turner/WarnerMedia, Founder of Back Nine Ventures
David Lonner: CEO, The David Lonner Co.
Ben Maddahi: SVP A&R, Columbia Records
Gabriel Mann: Composer/Producer
Susan Markheim: Manager, Full Stop Mgt., The Azoff Company
Orly Marley: President, Tuff Gong Worldwide
Nancy Matalon: VP of A&R, Spirit Music Group
David Mazouz: Actor
Leetal Nissenbaum: VP of Synchronization and Licensing, Ultra Records
Lisa Nupoff: Manager, IMINMUSIC Management
Scott Packman: SSP Partners
Mike Praw: Music Executive
David Renzer: Former Chairman/CEO of Universal Music Publishing
Jaimison M. Roberts: Attorney
Hanna Rochelle: Founder & President, Lyric Culture
Rick Rosen: Co-Founder, Endeavor
Michael Rotenberg: Partner, 3 Arts Entertainment
Autumn Rowe: Songwriter, Producer, DJ
Jacqueline Saturn: President, Virgin Music
Ayelet Schiffman: SVP Head of Promotions, Island Records
Paul Schindler: Senior Chair of the New York Entertainment and Media Practice
Steve Schnur: President of Music, Electronic Arts
Jordan Schur: CEO & Chairman, Mimran Schur Pictures & Suretone Entertainment
Sam Schwartz: Partner, Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency
Camila Seta: Marketing & Content Strategy, Rogers & Cowan
Emile Sherman: Producer, See-Saw Films
Noah "Westside Gravy" Shufutinsky: Artist
Ben Silverman: Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Propagate Content
Ralph Simon: Chairman & CEO, Mobilium Global Limited
Marty Singer: Attorney, Lavely and Singer
Jeff Sosnow: EVP A&R, Warner Music
Donna Spievak: Director of Strategic Marketing, Interscope Records
Nancy Spielberg: Filmmaker
Jonathan Steinsapir: Partner, Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert LLP
Gary Stiffelman: Founder, GSS Law
Aaron Symonds: Composer
Traci Szymanski: President, Co-Star Entertainment
Adam Taylor: President, APM Music
Noa Tishby: Actress, Producer
Fred Toczek: Partner, Felker Toczek Gelman Suddleson
Eric Tuchman: Writer, Producer
Jeremy Vuernick: Executive VP of A&R, Capitol Records
Diane Warren: Songwriter, Producer
Joshua Washington: Artist, Producer
Jon Weinbach: President, Skydance Sports
Nola Weinstein: Global Head of Culture & Experiential, Twitter
Evan Winiker: Managing Partner, Range Media
Jeffrey Winter: Executive Director, The Film Collaborative
Sharon Tal Yguado: Founder & CEO, Astrid Entertainment
David Zedeck: Global Head of Music, United Talent Agency
Willy Zygier: Artist
Benjamin Adler: Violinist (CHUTNEY)
Romi Kupfer: Artistic Director (RK Collaborations)
Rick Kalowski: Screenwriter/Producer
Garry Charny: CEO/Producer, Spotted Turquoise
Julie McCrossin: Broadcaster/Comedian
** Note - The signers of this statement do so as individuals on their own behalf and not on behalf of their companies or organizations. All organizations and companies listed are for affiliation purposes only.
ABOUT CREATIVE COMMUNITY FOR PEACE:
Founded by entertainment industry executives, Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) is a non-profit organization comprised of prominent members of the entertainment industry who have come together to promote the arts as a means to peace, to counter antisemitism within the entertainment industry, and to galvanize support against the cultural boycott of Israel. CCFP is apolitical and does not stand for any government official or party. Instead, CCFP believes in artists and their ability to affect lives and effect positive change in the world. For more information please visit: creativecommunityforpeace.com