The Times
The Times

Entertainment Industry Leaders Stand United Against Cultural Boycott of Israel and In Support of Sydney Festival

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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.

 

OPEN LETTER

 

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.

 

 

 

 

SIGNATORIES

 

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

Dan Rosen

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)

Maxine Radus,

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