Israeli Artists Condemn Settlements

When some 60 leading Israeli actors and playwrights signed a letter stating they would refuse to play in the new theatre in Ariel, one of Israel’s largest settlements, the attacks from Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport and many others were swift and intense. Over 150 leading Israeli academics and writers- including Amos Oz and David Grossman- came to their defense. It was the first time such mainstream figures had drawn a line around normalizing settlements which are illegal according to international law, and which constitute one of the main impediments to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

 Inspired by their courage, and responding to a call for international support, Jewish Voice for Peace has developed a statement that has been signed by over 150 theater and film professionals representing some of the most respected and renowned artists in theater, film and television – including Four Pulitzer Prize winners, several recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships, a MacArthur Fellowship, a National Medal of Honor,and scores of recipients of the highest U.S. acting honors, including Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, Obie Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and the Oscar.

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace: “The response of American and UK artists to the courageous actions of their Israeli counterparts is just phenomenal. It is especially notable that so many of the signatories are Jewish with long-standing connections to Israel. We hope that the strong show of solidarity by Americans and UK actors in response to these brave Israelis will help spark a new conversation in both countries, one that acknowledges that the Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are illegal by every measure of international law, contribute to the daily violation of human rights of Palestinians, and are a major obstacle to a just peace in the region.”

For further background and frequently asked questions, click here.

JVP supports divestment from and boycotts of companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. This includes companies operating in or from occupied Palestinian territory, exploiting Palestinian labor and scarce environmental resources, providing materials or labor for settlements, or producing military or other equipment or materials used to violate human rights or to profit from the Occupation. Download our full statement on the Palestinian-led BDS movement.


Voice of America (with Audio): Group of Israeli Academics Move to Support Palestinian Plight
Christian Science Monitor: As Netanyahu pushes for settlement freeze deal, suburban Ariel could be sticking point
Al Jazeera: Israel Academics to Boycott College
Jewish Telegraph Agency: Ariel theater opening pits left and right in fight over who is hurting Israel 
Jewish Telegraph Agency: Education students boycott Ariel
Ha’aretz: Prominent film, television artists join boycott of West Bank arts center
Ynet: Students join Ariel boycott
Project Democracy: The Ariel Cultural Center: A crucible for Israeli democracy

+972 Magazine: My prime minister called me a backstabber


Guardian: Architects against Israeli occupation
Ha’aretz: Frank Gehry, Daniel Barenboim join Ariel boycott campaign
Jerusalem Post: Gehry, Barenboim join boycott of W. Bank settlements
Jewish Chronicle: Frank Gehry backs settlement boycott
Architectural Record: Gehry Signs Letter in Support of Israeli Performers’ Boycott
Building Design: Gehry joins Israel boycott over West Bank settlements
New York Times: A West Bank Enclave is on the Edge
Forward: Why Some Jewish Stars Support Israeli Artistic Boycott

Jerusalem Post:  US artists’ support for settlement boycott spreading fast
LA Times: Hollywood shows some support for Israeli actors’ refusal to perform in West Bank settlement
Theodore Bikel Op-Ed in Huffington Post: Legitimizing an obstacle to peace
Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon in the Nation:
An Unsettling Protest in Israel
Jewish Telegraph Agency: Artists fight over Israel: The sequel
Ha’aretz article with quotes from Wallace Shawn: US actors back boycott of Ariel theater
Ynet: Boycotts are legitimate
Ynet: Artists’ boycott of Ariel goes international
Jewish Chronicle: Hollywood joins West Bank protest
Daily Star: British and American thespians support Israeli theater boycott
Ma’an News:
Support for Israeli actors’ boycott grows  
Ma’an News: US actors back boycott of West Bank theater

Irish Examiner: Israeli minister warns on settlement slowdown
Mondoweiss: Artists support for Ariel boycott is ‘a groundbreaking, precedent-setting initiative that will significantly contribute to ending Israel’s impunity’
MJ Rosenberg on Huffington Post: Hollywood joins Israeli artists in boycotting West Bank
Magnes Zionist: A Fiddler On the Roof in Ariel? Sounds crazy, no?
Mitchell Plitnick: ‘Mainstream’ peace groups need to support this initiative from JVP
Arutz Sheva: US actors support Israeli Ariel protest
Mondoweiss: Groundbreaking Letter

Tikkun Olam: Hollywood, Broadway stars support Israeli cultural boycott

CNN: Israeli Actors Threaten to Boycott Cultural Center in West Bank Settlement
Ha’aretz Magazine: Dramatic effects
Jewish Journal: L.A. donors play role in Israeli settlement

Ynet: Artists to refuse to perform in Ariel culture hall
New York Times:  Boycott of Theater in Israeli Settlement Grows 

UK Guardian: Actors boycott West Bank Theater
Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz: Puppet Theater
Ha’aretz Editorial: Stalin’s Commissar in the PMO

Tikun Olam: Israeli Cultural Figures Appeal to Actors to Boycott Ariel

Text of the statement:

On August 27th, dozens of Israeli actors, directors, and playwrights made the brave decision not to perform in Ariel, one of the largest of the West Bank settlements, which by all standards of international law are clearly illegal.  As American actors, directors, critics and playwrights, we salute our Israeli counterparts for their courageous decision.

Most of us are involved in daily compromises with wrongful acts. When a group of people suddenly have the clarity of mind to see that the next compromise looming up before them is an unbearable one  — and when they somehow find the strength to refuse to cross that line  —  we can’t help but be overjoyed and inspired and grateful. 

It’s thrilling to think that these Israeli theatre artists have refused to allow their work to be used to normalize a cruel occupation which they know to be wrong, which violates international law and which is impeding the hope for a just and lasting peace for Israelis an Palestinians alike.  They’ve made a wonderful decision, and they deserve the respect of people everywhere who dream of justice. We stand with them.

*Statement organizers and signatories represent a wide range of political opinions and perspectives, but have come together for the sole purpose of making a joint statement on this one critical issue.
**All identifications and affiliations are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsements by any institutions

Ed Asner
8-Time Emmy Award winner; Former President Screen Actors Guild,

Daniel Barenboim
Conductor, Pianist
7 Grammy Awards; Wolf Award; numerous other awards

Roseanne Barr
Actor, Comedienne, Writer, Television Producer
Roseanne, Emmy, Golden Globe, 6 People’s Choice Awards, 3 American Comedy Awards,  TV Land Innovator Award


Theodore Bikel
Actor, Singer, Musician
Co-founder of the Cameri Theatre of Tel Aviv; President of the Associated Actors and Artistes of America; Academy Award nominee; Tony Award nominee; Actor in Theatre, Film and Television

Eve Ensler
Playwright, Performer
The Vagina Monologues; Obie Award; Guggenheim Fellowship

Frank Gehry
National Medal of the Arts, Pritzker Prize Winner, Designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain,  Experience Music Project in Seattle.

Mary Rodgers Guettel
Composer, Author
Once Upon A Mattress; Freaky Friday; Free to Be You and Me; The Hot Spot; From A to Z; The Mad Show; Working; The Madwoman of Central Park West; Director of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization

Sheldon Harnick
Pulitzer Prize winner; Tony Award winner; Fiorello!; Fiddler on the Roof



Ethan Hawke
Actor, Writer, Film Director

Bill Irwin
Actor, Mime, Choreographer
Winner two Tony Awards; Winner of the National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer’s Fellowship; Guggenheim, Fulbright and MacArthur Fellowships

Tony Kushner
Playwright, Screenwriter
Pulitzer Prize for Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia; Caroline or Change; Tony, Emmy, Drama Desk Award winner; Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominee; Co-author of Munich

Jennifer Jason Leigh

Miriam Margolyes
BAFTA winner; Wicked; Little Dorrit; James and the Giant Peace; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Julianne Moore
Boogie Nights; Magnolia; Far From Heaven; The Hours; The Big Lebowski;  A Single Man; The Kids Are All Right

Mira Nair
Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake, Mississippi Masala, Salaam Bombay! 

Cynthia Nixon
Sex and the City; The Heidi Chronicles; Angels in America; Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winning actress


Lynn Nottage
Pulitzer Prize winner for Ruined; MacArthur Fellowship; Guggenheim Fellowship

Mandy Patinkin
Actor, Vocalist
Evita; Sunday in the Park with George; Tony and Emmy Award winner; The Princess Bride, Yentl; Mamaloshen (Vocalist)

Harold Prince
Director, Producer
Pajama Game, Cabaret, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Sweeney Todd, Evita, Phantom of the Opera, Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Zorba; Follies (a short list of an impossibly long list); multiple Tony Award Winner National Medal of the Arts recipient



Vanessa Redgrave

Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe, Cannes Film Festival and the Screen Actors Guild awards; BAFTA Fellowship; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; Julia; The Trojan Women; Blowup; Isadora; Mary Queen of Scots; Atonement

James Schamus
Producer, Screenwriter, Film Historian
BAFTA Award Winner; producer of Brokeback Mountain; co-writer and producer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; The Ice Storm, Eat Drink Man Woman, Academy Award nominee, CEO Focus Features

Wallace Shawn
Actor, Playwright, Translator

My Dinner With Andre; The Princess Bride; Vanya on 42nd St; playwright of The Fever, The Designated Mourner, Aunt Dan and Lemon; translator of The Threepenny Opera

Stephen Sondheim
Composer, Lyricist
Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award, Multiple Tony, Grammy, Drama Desk, Obie Award winner; Kennedy Center Honors Lifetime Achievement Award; West Side Story; Gypsy; A Funny Thing Happenend on the Way to the Forum; Company; A Little NIght Music; Sweeney Todd; Sunday in the Park with George; Into the Woods (a short list of a remarkably long list)

Jennifer Tilly
Bullets Over Broadway, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Liar Liar, Bound; Academy Award Nominee


Ben Achtenberg
Filmaker, Refuge Media Project

David Adjmi
Stunning; Steinberg Playwright Award, the Bush Artists Fellowship, and the Kesselring Fellowship for Drama


Bruce Allardice
Managing Director
Ping Chong & Co.

Philip Arnoult
Director, Center for International Theatre Development (CITD)

Anthony Arnove
Author and Editor
Co-Directed (with Howard Zinn and Chris Moore) and Executive Produced “The People Speak.”

Caron Atlas
Cultural Organizer and Consultant
, Project Director, Arts and Democracy Project

Arthur Aviles
Artistic Director, The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre

Sheila Balter
Actor, Director
Word for Word Performing Arts Company

David Barlow
Actor, Writer, Performance Artist

Ken Barnett
Actor, Teacher

Laura Barnett
Theater Educator, Performance Artist, Director

George Bartenieff

Obie Award Winner

Bruce Barthol
Composer, Lyricist
San Francisco Mime Troupe

Mark Barthol
Composer, Lyricist

Mark Barton
Lighting Designer

John Bell
Director, Puppeteer
Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, Great Small Works.

Melia Bensussen
Obie Award Winning Director; Chair of Emerson College Department of Performing Arts

Eric Bentley
Theatre Scholar, Critic, Author, Playwright, Editor and Translator

Margo Berdeshevsky
Poet, Actor, Author, Photographer

Jonathan Berger
Artist, Curator

Theodore S. Berger
Executive Director of the New York Foundation for the Arts for thirty years

Susan Bernfield
Artistic Director, New Georges

Philip Bither
Senior Curator, Walker Arts Center

Chana Bloch
Poet, Translator

Paul Boesing
Actor, Composer

Valerie Brinton

Abigail Browde
Writer, Actor, Director

Stefan Brün
Theater Director

Robert Brustein
Theatrical Critic, Producer, Playwright and Educator. Founder – Yale Repertory Theatre

James Bundy
Dean, Yale School of Drama;  Artistic Director, Yale Repertory Theatre

Kathleen Chalfant
Obie Award winner (2x), Drama Desk winner, Tony Award Nominee; Angels in America:  Millenium Approaches; Wit

Linda Chapman
Director, Playwright, Performer
Associate Artistic Director, New York Theatre Workshop

Rachel Chavkin
Founder and Artistic director of the TEAM (the Theater of the Emerging American Moment); Obie Award winner

Trudi Cohen
Puppeteer, Theater Artist
Great Small Works

Becky Cole
Writer, WGAE

Kia Corthron

Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas

Clare Coss

Alex Courtney
Stage, Film and Television Actor


Tim Cusack
Artistic Director
Theatre Askew

Savitri D.
The Church of Life After Shopping

Aaron Davidman
Actor, Director, Playwright

Matthew Dellapina

Ivor Dembina

David J. Diamond
Producer, Theater Consultant

Elin Diamond
Critic, Scholar



Liz Diamond
Chair, Directing Department – Yale School of Drama

Tamar Diesendruck
Awarded Rome Prize; Guggenheim Fellowship

Sally Eberhardt
Producer, Actor
Theatres Against War (THAW)



Edward Einhorn
Director, Playwright, Novelist

Artistic Director of Untitled Theater Company #61 and of the Festival of Jewish Theater and Ideas

Deborah Eisenberg
Playwright, Author, Actor
MacArthur Fellow
ship, Guggenheim Fellowship, O. Henry Awards

John Clinton Eisner
Artistic Director, Lark Play Development Center

Linda Elbow
Company Manager
Bread and Puppet Theater

Rebecca Ennen

Oskar Eustis
Artistic Director, The Public Theater

Phyllis Ewen

Bertie Ferdman, Ph.D.
Director, Theatre Artist, Curator, Producer, Educator

Artistic Director – ExPgirl

Corey Fischer
Actor, Playwright
Playwright of See Under: Love; co-founder of the Traveling Jewish Theater (now the Jewish Theater San Francisco)

Elinor Fuchs
Critic; Scholar
Yale School of Drama

Juliette Galant

Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros
2004 finalist, Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Adam Greenfield
Director of New Play Development, Playwright Horizons

David Greenspan
Actor, Award-Winning Playwright

Andre Gregory
Actor, Director
My Dinner With Andre

Kathryn Grody
Actor, Writer
Obie Award Winner

Jason Grote
Playwright, Screenwriter

Marilyn Hacker
Writer, Translator, Editor
Anne Hallinan
Woman’s Will

Del Hamilton
Co-Founder and Artistic Director

7 Stages

Josh Hamilton

Hali Hammer

Jeremy Hardy

Karen Hartman

Suzanne Hayes
Actor, Producer, Director
Word for Word Performing
Arts Company

David Herskovits
Founder and Artistic Director
Target Margin Theater

Ian W. Hill
Gemini CollisionWorks

Joan Holden

Jeffrey Horowitz
Founder and Artistic Director, Theater for a New Audience
Advisory Board of The Shakespeare Society and Artistic Directorate of London’s Globe Theatre, Artistic Advisor to the Shakespeare Globe Centre (USA)

Holly Hughes
Performance Artist
Guggenheim Fellow; one of the “NEA 4”, whose proposed grants were vetoed for gay content

Birgit Huppuch

Julia Jarcho
Playwright, Director, Performer

Morgan Jenness

John Jesurun
Writer, Director, Multi-Media Artist

Jeffrey M. Jones
Playwright, Curator
Little Theatre @ Dixon Place, Pataphysics @ The Flea

Melanie Joseph
Artistic Producer, The Foundry Theatre

Chris Kam
Independent Producer

Audrey Kalajian

Stephen Kaplin
Puppeteer, Theater Designer/Performer
Great Small Works and Chinese Theatre Works

Melissa Kievman

Dwayne King

Lauren Klein

Maxine Klein

Zachary Klein

Josh Kornbluth

Gail Kreigel
Playright, Composer

Aaron Landsman
Independent Artist

Paul Lazar
Co-Artistic Director Big Dance Theater

Herbert Leibowitz
Writer and Editor

Maxinne Rhea Leighton

Robert H. Leonard
Professor, Department of Theatre Arts – Virginia Tech

Gideon Lester
Dramaturg and Curator
Former Associate and Acting Artistic Director, American Repertory Theatre

Roberta Levitow
Co-Founder, Theatre Without Borders

Kathryn Levy

Sheila Lewandowski
Executive Director, The Chocolate Factory Theater

Irene Lewis
Artistic Director, Center Stage, Baltimore, Maryland

Ethan Lipton

Casey Llewellyn
Theater Artist

Jason Loewith
Executive Director, National New Play Network

Quincy Long

John Carroll Lynch
Body of Proof; Fargo; Zodiac; Shutter Island; Big Love; The Drew Carey Show




Kirk Lynn
Co-Producing Artistic DirectorRude Mechs, Austin, TX

Henry MacWilliams
Director, Writer, Producer


Matthew Maguire
Co-Artistic Director, Creation Production Company

Matthew Maher

Judith Malina
Actor, Director
Founder and Artistic Director, The Living Theatre

Karen Malpede
Playwright, Theater Three Collaborative

Bezalel Manekin
Encore! Educational Theater Company (Israel)

Nina Mankin
Dramaturg, Writer

Emily Mann
Artistic Director/Playwright
McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton, NJ

Elizabeth Mansfield
Performer; Writer

Deborah Margolin
Playwright, Actor, Educator

Vijay Mathew
Co-Director, American Voices New Play Institute

Marin Mazzie
Actress, Singer

Ellen McLaughlin
Playwright; Actor

Erin Mee
Director, Educator
Swarthmore theater arts professor

Greg Mehrten
Actor, Director, Writer

David Michalek
Artist, Photographer
Visiting Faculty Member – Yale Divinity School

Tyler Micoleau
Lighting Designer

Tim Miller
Performance Artist
One of the “NEA 4”, whose proposed grants were vetoed for gay content

Jennifer Miller
Performance Artist, Founder and Artistic Director of Circus Amok

Barbara Miluski

Jennifer Monson
Dancer, Choreographer, iLand
Guggenheim Fellowship

Steve Moore
Artistic Director, Physical Plant Theater

Susan Mosakowski
Playwright,Co-Artistic Director Creation Production Company

David Moscow

Erika Munk
Critic, Writer, Educator, formerly at the Yale School of Drama

Tom Nelis

Harry Newman

Jim Nicola
Artistic Director, New York Theatre Workshop

Alicia Ostriker

Carol Ostrow
Producing Director, The Flea Theater

Annie-B Parson
Co-Founder, Artistic Director Big Dance Theater, NYFA and Guggenheim Fellow

Sally Ann Parsons
Costumer, Craftsman, Designer

Shailja Patel
Sundance Theatre Fellow 2010

Katie Pearl

Sybille Pearson
Rockefeller Playwrights Fellowship; founding member of The Playwrights Circle at The New York Theatre Workshop;  Artistic Resident at the Vineyard Theater  

Ralph Pena
Artistic Director, Ma Yi Theater

Carla Peterson
Artistic Director, Dance Theater Workshop

Brian Pickett
Theater Artist and Educator, Member Steering Committee – Theaters Against War (THAW)

Catherine Porter
Co-Artistic Director Peculiar Works Project, Obie Award Winner

Maria Soledad Cervantes Ramirez
Actor, Translator

Ruth Reichl
Writer and Editor
Former Editor-in-Chief – Gourmet magazine, Memoirist, 6-time James Beard Award winner


Kate Ritter
Musician, Actor

Gordon Rogoff
Theater Critic; Director; Professor of Theater
Yale School of Drama; Obie Award Winner

Jenny Romaine
Puppeteer, Theater Artist
Great Small Works

Avital Ronell
Writer, Academic, Literary Critic

Najla Said
Actor, Playwright

Richard Schechner
Professor of Performance Studies at the Tisch School of Performance Arets, NYU; Editor of the Drama Review; Artistic Director of East Coast Artists

Ken Rus Schmoll

Laura Schleifer
Writer, Actor
Theaters Against War

Lisa Schlesinger

Sarah Schulman
Playwright, Novelist, Historian

Peter Schumann
Founder, Bread and Puppet Theater

Brian H. Scott
Theatrical Designer

Regine Anna Seckinger, Ph.D.
Advisory Board Member, Rude Mechanicals, Austin, TX

Jamil Shamasdin

Peggy Shaw
Performance Artist, Actor, Playwright

Sloane Shelton
Actor, Writer, Producer

Jonathan Marc Sherman

Christopher Shinn
Obie Award winner, Guggenheim Fellowship, Pulitzer Prize finalist

Misha Shulman

Jeanmarie Simpson
Theatre/Film Artist

Blair Singer
Television Writer
NBC Universal

Michael Singer
Television News Producer
Former producer, CBS News

Peter Snoad
Playwright, Actor

Alisa Solomon
Theater Critic, Dramaturg
Director of Arts Concentration, Columbia School of Journalism

Bonnie Stein
Performing Arts Administrator; Manager; Project Producer and Coordinator; Executive Director GOH Productions

Kris Stone
Stage Designer

Mark Sussman
Scholar, Puppeteer, Director

Great Small Works; Concordia University

Caridad Svich
Playwright, Songwriter, Translator, Editor

Luciana Talamonti
Actor, Director

Bill Talen
The Church of Life After Shopping

Jonathan Tasini

Former President, National Writers Union

 Astra Taylor
Zizek!; Examined Life


Zohar Tirosh-Polk

Kathleen Tolan
Playwright, Actor

Basil Twist
Obie Award Winner

Rob Urbinati
Director, Playwirght, Screenwriter
Director of New Play Development at Queens Theatre in the Park

Charlie Varon
Playwright, Performer

Paula Vogel
Playwright, Scholar
Pulitzer Prize Winner, Eugene O’Neill Chair, Playwriting Department -Yale School of Drama

Irena Wachendorff
Writer, Musician

Angela Waldegg
Director, Actor, Teacher

Naomi Wallace
Playwright, Screenwriter

Anne Wangh
Choreographer, Lecturer on Dance
Founder, Dance Library of Israel

Stephen Wangh
Playwright, Director, Acting Teacher
Naropa University

Anne Washburn
Guggenheim Fellow

Donya K. Washington

Stephen Webber

Brenda Wehle

Evan Weissman
Actor, Playwright
Buntport Theater Company

Mac Wellman
Playwright, Author, Poet, Scholar
Donald I. Fine Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College

Anabelle Winograd
Writer, Critic, Educator

Eunice Wong

Kristina Wong
Award-Wnning Solo Performer and Writer

Robert Woodruff

 Susan Yankowitz
Award-Winning Playwright and Librettist

David Zellnik
Playwright, Screenwriter, Lyricist


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