Why Artists Must Oppose the Boycott Israel Movement

One hundred artists, filmmakers, writers, and other cultural workers have called for a boycott of an artist-run gallery in Glendale, California — a town less than five miles from Hollywood.

Why? Because an exhibit there, which is a nod to Glendale’s long-standing artist community, does not include artists of Armenian descent. Armenians represent 40% of the community’s population, and they argue that this is enabling an “erasure” of their community.

BDS propaganda campaign against Israeli TV series, Fauda

Of course, an erasure of the Jewish ethnicity of Israel is exactly the goal of the deplorable Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel — a nation that is fully 75% Jewish.

An important distinction, however, is that the artists are calling for a boycott in Glendale because they want others to be included and are championing diversity. Contrast that with the cultural boycott campaign against Israeli artists and audiences, which wants an entire community excluded from international cultural events.

Artists and cultural workers have an obligation to stand up for artists and audiences who are singled out for censorship based on their gender, ethnicity, or nationality. Leaders of the BDS campaign — like Roger Waters, Brian Eno, and Ken Loach — call for the boycott of Israeli artists not because of the content of their work, but because of the cover of their passports.

Both the Jews and the Armenians suffered horrifying genocides, with the loss of 1.5 million and 6 million of their people respectively. Despite the false claims of anti-Israel, anti-peace activists, the Palestinians fortunately have not.

I don’t know the intent of the organizers of the Glendale exhibit, but I do know that darkness lies at the heart of the cultural boycott campaign against Israel. And every artist — indeed every person who respects democracy, tolerance, and human rights — must oppose BDS and the cultural boycott campaign against Israel.

Lana Melman, CEO of Liberate Art Inc., is a leader in combating cultural boycotts against Israel. A 25-year veteran of the entertainment industry, Ms. Melman is a writer, speaker, and Hollywood liaison connecting the international creative community with Israel.

About the Author
Lana Melman, the CEO of Liberate Art Inc., is a leader in combating cultural boycotts (BDS) against Israel and a Hollywood liaison connecting Israel to the international creative community. As an attorney and 25-year veteran of the entertainment industry, Lana served in both business and creative capacities at CBS, Warner Bros., and Paramount, and wrote and produced both television and feature films. In addition, Lana was the premier director of Creative Community for Peace (CCFP), an entertainment-based nonprofit organization. Most recently, Lana produced the first celebrity anti-BDS panel with artists from film, television and music including musician Alan Parsons and actor Mark Pellegrino. Lana served as the Hollywood liaison behind Variety’s “Spotlight on Israel TV” bringing due recognition to Israel’s unique television industry. Lana brought 7-time Grammy winner, Ziggy Marley together with the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in support of its clean water initiative. Mr. Marley’s statement in support of Israel was replayed across the globe. Through her radio and TV interviews and speaking engagements nationwide, Lana reaches diverse audiences and engages in open discussion about what is taking place, what is at stake, and what we can all do in today’s high-conflict world to guard one of our most precious rights: freedom of artistic expression. Lana has two sons and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Jeff Melman, a Directors Guild of America and Emmy Award-nominated director and producer.
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