Israel/Palestine

Bradley Burston on BDS

A top piece in Haaretz:

The Toronto Declaration was ostensibly a protest against a festival decision to honor Tel Aviv and its centenary celebrations. But the neo-Socialist Realism text of the open letter went far beyond that. It denounced TIFF for failing to publicly note, for example, that “Tel Aviv is built on destroyed Palestinian villages.” An uproar ensued, not least because many observers, including some leftists, saw an implication that Tel Aviv, and, by extension, Israel, was itself occupied territory, bereft of legitimacy.

Jane Fonda, a headliner of the celebrities who signed the declaration Toronto group, came to recant her support, candidly writing in the Huffington Post that that she had “signed the letter without reading it carefully enough” and pointing in particular to the “abandoned villages” passage.

She added that “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.”

The Toronto group was unmoved by Fonda’s words. They had achieved their goal, that of turning the spotlight away from Israel and, if only briefly, toward the real martyrs for Palestine – themselves. The web flowed with praise – and even petitions – hailing the courage of the “true heroes” of the Toronto Declaration.

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