Helen Mirren, Mila Kunis and Zachary Quinto have slammed filmmakers calling for a boycott of an Israeli LGBTQ+ film festival.
Last year, moviemakers including Turner Prize winner Charlotte Prodger and Palme d’Or nominee Alain Guiraudie led calls for a boycott of the Tel Aviv International LGBTQ Film Festival in protest of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
Ahead of this year’s event, a host of big names including Helen, Mila, Zachary, Neil Patrick Harris, Billy Porter, and Gene Simmons have signed a letter slamming activists and entertainment figures who back a boycott.
“We reject any attempt to boycott TLVFest – Israel’s largest LGBTQ Film Festival – which works to showcase the stories of LGBTQ people globally and create a brighter future for LGBTQ people both inside Israel and around the world,” their letter, published by the Creative Community for Peace nonprofit, reads. “We stand united with all the participating filmmakers against the divisive rhetoric espoused by boycott activists who seek to misinform, bully and intimidate artists into removing their films from the festival or shame them for participating in the festival.”
The upcoming event, also known as TLVFest, is slated to start on 11 November. Each year it comes under fire from activists from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement who demand their supporters cut cultural and economic ties with Israel.
The movement has some high-profile supporters, including Roger Waters, Brian Eno and Normal People author Sally Rooney, while Lorde also cancelled a concert in Israel at the request of fans backing a boycott.
However, it has been called antisemitic for its singling out of Israel for action, and acts including Radiohead and Nick Cave have slammed those requesting they do not perform in the Jewish state.