Palestinian terror attacks like Hamas’ nightmarish assault on Israeli civilians are sadly nothing new. They filled the news roughly 50 years ago, but what has changed is how Hollywood has gone from defending Israel to becoming a major critic.
Some celebrities have continued to side with Israel, but the opponents are getting more vocal as ground combat in Gaza seems imminent. “The View” host Sunny Hostin bashed Israel’s response to terrorism, claiming it was “going to launch an offensive against those 2.2 million people, half of which are children.” She declared Israel had “to look at some restraint” in another broadcast, despite the barbarity of the Hamas attack which used zero “restraint.”
Actress Tilda Swinton was one of the big names of more than 2,000 who called themselves, “Artists for Palestine.” Other celebrities, such as Charles Dance, Steve Coogan and Miriam Margolyes, joined the effort that called on nations to stop supporting Israel. “Our governments are not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them.”
The group falsely criticized Israeli Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant’s “depiction of Palestinians as ‘human animals.’” Even pro-Palestinian “news” outlet al Jazeera gave the full quote where he said, “We are fighting against human animals.” In other words, Hamas, which raped and murdered its way across southern Israel.
Half-Palestinian supermodel Gigi Hadid managed to get chastised by Israel for an Instagram post that stated her “deep empathy for the Palestinian struggle.” She added that, “Condemning the Israeli government is not antisemitic and supporting Palestinians is not supporting Hamas.” Except when you say you have “deep empathy” right after a massive Palestinian terror attack.
Ex-porn star Mia Khalifa called Palestinian terrorists “freedom fighters” and Oscar winner Riz Ahmed demanded an end to, “indiscriminate bombing of Gaza’s civilians and vital infrastructure.” Which, if he knew anything, he’d know Israel goes out of its way to warn off civilians.
“Princess Bride” actor Wallace Shawn slammed Israel’s response to the terror attack, declaring, “What’s happening right now is certainly one of the most deliberate cruelties inflicted on a group of people that I can remember.” And Kylie Jenner backpedaled quickly after posting on Instagram, “now and always we stand with the people of Israel.” She soon deleted it and reportedly lost hundreds of thousands of followers.
It wasn’t always this way.
In 1972, Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics. The outrage shocked the world. Four years later, other Palestinian terrorists hijacked a plane with Jewish and Israeli passengers and took it to Uganda, demanding release of yet more terrorists. This time Israel took action and rescued those held, with only one soldier and three hostages killed. The terrorists were all wiped out.
Both times Hollywood responded with great concern. But Entebbe rallied those opposed to Palestinian terrorism and the film industry quickly produced two movies celebrating the victory that were filled with stars.
“Raid on Entebbe” starred Peter Finch and action star Charles Bronson and won two Emmys. “Victory at Entebbe” had more big names – Burt Lancaster, Richard Dreyfuss, Burt Lancaster and Elizabeth Taylor among them. It didn’t win but was nominated for four Emmys.
Fast forward to the Oct. 7, Hamas pogrom, kidnapping, raping and murdering Jews that killed 1,300. Israel shockingly has far fewer friends in Hollywood despite the depravity of the latest attack.
Commendably, some of the early responses from Hollywood supported Israel. More than 1,000 celebrities signed what they called “Israel Under Attack – Open Letter” “in support of Israel.” Signers included stars like Gal Gadot, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Pine, Mayim Bialik, Michael Douglas, Jerry Seinfeld and Helen Mirren.
The letter was published by the nonprofit Creative Community For Peace, which was founded to “to promote the arts as a bridge to peace, to educate about rising antisemitism within the entertainment industry, and to galvanize support against the cultural boycott of Israel.” It will be a test to see if they continue their support as the war goes on. Even Disney donated $2 million to Israeli relief efforts, including $1 million to Red Cross affiliate Magen David Adom.
Just as more than 40 years earlier, many Hollywood attitudes changed. John Oliver began his show, “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” and turned the mass rape, kidnapping and murder into blaming both sides. That evolved into blaming one side – Israel – and talking about Israeli “war crime.” He criticized Israel’s plan to refuse to send in aid to Gaza as having, “all the appearances of collective punishment, which is a war crime.”
It got far worse from there. The better question is why.
The raid on Entebbe culminated a near 30-year run of victories for the new state of Israel. It won its independence in 1948 and was victorious in a war in 1956. In 1967, it devastated Arab nations, unifying Jerusalem and capturing much territory – including Gaza. Israel won a much tougher war in 1973, as well.
Israel even managed to win by getting peace with Egypt. Leaders of the two nations won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.
The TV miniseries “Holocaust” also came out in 1978, beginning a series of movies about the horrors the Nazis did to the Jewish people. Even the TV miniseries “Masada” told of how the Romans had attacked the Jewish people.
Soon after all that, the global left began to declare the PLO a victim group. Israel won too much and went from being the left’s image of a socialist state filled with kibbutzim, to a military state with a powerful army. The 1982 Lebanon War didn’t go well for Israel and resulted in allegations of war crimes.
Palestinian terror continued, but it was now the victim. American Leon Klinghoffer was murder by terrorists who seized the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. Klinghoffer was an older Jewish man in a wheelchair and the terrorists shot and killed him and dumped him into the sea. This time, Hollywood produced one movie, five years later – “Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair.” It starred Lancaster and Eve Marie Saint. It got little attention and no awards.
The pro-Palestinian narrative had taken hold in Hollywood.
This was also still the era of the Cold War and the Arab nations were generally aligned with the Soviet Union, a point often forgotten today. So, one of the few nations really fighting against them actively was Israel. And Hollywood, which always loved the communist USSR, couldn’t stand that either.
Now, Israel has been attacked with the worst and most-deadly butchery since the Holocaust. Even before Israel launches a ground offensive into Gaza to kill terrorists and rescue hostages, the narrative is already written among the Hollywood elite.
Israel is in the wrong. No matter what it does.