Over 200 entertainment figures sign letter against boycott of Israeli LGBTQ film festival

Neil Patrick Harris attends Entertainment Weekly's LGBTQ issue party at the Stonewall Inn on June 5, 2019, in New York. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Neil Patrick Harris attends Entertainment Weekly's LGBTQ issue party at the Stonewall Inn on June 5, 2019, in New York. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

More than 200 prominent figures in the entertainment industry have signed a public letter against cultural boycotts of Israel, in response to calls from the BDS movement to boycott the Tel Aviv International LGBTQ+ Film Festival — also known as TLVFest — the biggest of its kind in Israel.

The signatories include actors Neil Patrick Harris, Mayim Bialik, Mila Kunis, Helen Mirren and Zach Quinto, and musicians Sia and Gene Simmons.

“Films have the power to bring people together, transcend boundaries, broaden awareness, and affect positive societal change,” the letter reads.

“In Israel, movies have the unique power to bring together Jews, Arabs, and people of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds in collaboration under a shared love of the arts, working together towards the common goal of telling their stories, and building bridges of compassion and understanding,” it continues.

“The annual Tel Aviv International LGBTQ Film Festival (TLVFest) embodies this spirit of unity and truth, featuring films from filmmakers of all backgrounds, including Palestinians.

“For this reason, 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.

“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.”

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