WASHINGTON - A number of Hollywood stars circulated a letter Tuesday protesting a petition calling for a protest over the Toronto International Film Festival for its Tel Aviv-themed event.
The letter, which appeared simultaneously in the Los Angeles Times and the Toronto Star was signed, among others, by Jerry Seinfeld, Sacha Baron Cohen, Natalie Portman, Jason Alexander and Lisa Kudrow.
The letter, which was paid for by Jewish organizations in Los Angeles and Toronto, said, "Anyone who has actually seen recent Israeli cinema, movies that are political and personal, comic and tragic, often critical, knows they are in no way a propaganda arm for any government policy."
Film festival protesters, which included culture critic Naomi Klein, and directors John Greyson and Richard Fung, said the Israeli films presented at the festival promote Israel's recent publicity campaign, which seeks to show Israel and Tel Aviv as enlightened, liberal places, without conducting a dialogue on their treatment of Palestinians.
The Toronto festival's management did not give in to pressure, and showed all 10 films in the City of City event, which spotlighted Tel Aviv. Among them were Ephraim Kishon's "Big Dig," Assi Dayan's "Life According to Agfa," and Keren Yedaya's "Bride of the Sea."
Meanwhile, Jane Fonda, who had initially opposed the spotlight on Tel Aviv at the festival, Tuesday released a statement that she had changed her mind.
"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," Fonda wrote on the huffingtonpost.com. She added that the suffering of both sides should be articulated.
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