More than a hundred celebrities, including Richard Gere, Claire Foy, Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo, and Peter Gabriel, have signed an Artists for Palestine declaration in support of Palestinian organizations labeled as terrorist by the Israeli government.
Israel is accused of undertaking "an unprecedented and comprehensive offensive against Palestinian human rights advocates," according to the statement.
The Israeli government designated six Palestinian human rights organizations as terrorists in October: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, Al-Haq Law in the Service of Man (Al-Haq), Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women's Committees (UPWC).
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine connects all of these organizations (PFLP), a Marxist–Leninist terrorist organization responsible for dozens of kidnappings, suicide bombings, and other attacks, including the infamous Entebbe Hostage Crisis.
Even according to Fatah, the Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' political party, Addameer and UAWC are PFLP affiliates. Addameer helps Palestinian "political prisoners" who have been convicted of security violations. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) claims that, UAWC is the PFLP’s agricultural extension.
UPWC is an official affiliate of Fatah and has a counterpart organization designated as a PFLP Women’s Union by the U.S. Agency for International Development. The group’s website claims normalization of ties with Israel is “treason,” and members support the “boycott of occupation in all forms.”
The Israeli Minister of Defense reports that Al-Haq operates in support of the PFLP. Al-Haq’s website states that they seek to protect the rights of all Palestinians, “irrespective of the identity of the perpetrator.”
Claiming to protect children, DCI-P receives funds from the United Nations International Children’s Relief Fund. Many board members have close ties to the PFLP. For example, when DCI-P community leader Hashem Khader Abu Maria died during a violent protest in the West Bank, the PFLP released a statement claiming, “this true revolutionary comrade went to join the demonstration and joined the martyrs of Palestine, his blood shed at the hands of the occupier’s forces.”
"The vital work of these six organizations to protect and empower Palestinians and hold Israel accountable for its gross human rights violations and apartheid regime of institutionalized racial discrimination is precisely the work that Israel is trying to end," according to the letter from Artists for Palestine. The letter ignores the "human rights" organizations' documented ties to terrorist organizations.
The following celebrities also signed the letter:
- Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham
- Vagina Monologues actress Eve Ensler
- His Dark Materials author and atheist activist Philip Pullman
- Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters
- Life of Pi author Yann Martel
- The Crown actress Claire Foy
- Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs
- Talking Heads founder David Byrne
Ruffalo reiterated his support on Twitter, saying he is “proud” to be standing “against Israeli government repression.”
Proud to be one of 100+ artists, actors, and more calling on the international community to defend Palestinian human rights orgs against Israeli government repression. #StandWithThe6— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) November 17, 2021
In the US? Demand action from Congress now: https://t.co/yuSdvv5J3shttps://t.co/NGYTlWdEGh
Some organizations hit back against the statement online, such as pro-Israel student group CAMERA on Campus, which wrote, “Perhaps you missed the part where the six groups have ties to an internationally recognized terrorist organization, proven by [NGO Monitor].”
Hi Mark,— CAMERA on Campus (@CAMERAonCampus) November 18, 2021
Perhaps you missed the part where the six groups have ties to an internationally recognized terrorist organization, proven by @NGOmonitor.
Human rights groups and terrorist groups must not be intermixed.
Read for yourself:https://t.co/iHvv0awkKB https://t.co/lt9JUJd4l9
StopAntisemitism.org responded, “These aren’t the actions of Human Rights Groups but TERROR ORGS w/the goal of murdering JEWS!”
Many of the celebrities who signed the statement have made false statements about Israel before. For example, Sarandon incorrectly referred to Israel as an “apartheid” state in May. Gere visited Hebron, Israel, in 2017 and said it was “exactly what the old South was in America.” While other signatories have not admitted fault for spreading misconceptions about Israel, Ruffalo did apologize earlier this year after accusing Israel of committing a “genocide.”