Top Oscar nominees invited to witness Palestinian life under Israeli occupation
Oscar nominees in the top acting and directing categories, as well as the host at tonight’s ceremony, Chris Rock, have received invitations from a coalition of groups to visit Palestine and experience life through the eyes of Palestinians living under apartheid and military occupation.
The ironic invitations were sent from musician Brian Eno on behalf of Artists for Palestine UK, the Palestinian Performing Arts Network, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, in response to an Israeli PR junket offered nominees as part of this year’s Oscar Swagbag.
The alternative invitations were delivered to nominees’ reps via email. Recipients included Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne, Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlotte Rampling, Saoirse Ronan, Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Mark Ruffalo, Mark Rylance, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rooney Mara, Rachel McAdams, Alicia Vikander, Kate Winslet, Adam McKay, George Miller, Alejandro Iñárritu, Lenny Abrahamson, and Tom McCarthy.
Rylance, nominated for Best Supporting Actor in Bridge of Spies, has already said he won’t be accepting any gifts. He has previously pledged to accept neither professional invitations to Israel nor funding from any institutions linked to its government until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights. Asif Kapadia, whose film Amy is nominated for Best Documentary Feature, has also signed the pledge, as have five-time Oscar nominee Mike Leigh, director Ken Loach and musician Brian Eno.
“Our hope is that other artists will follow suit and take a stand for Palestinian human rights, as so many cultural figures did in the struggle against South African apartheid,” wrote Eno.
The US campaign to End the Occupation, which joined Jewish Voice for Peace in publishing a full-page color ad in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times, suggested a range of actions people could take to urge the stars to resist Israeli PR bribery:
Sign the Petition
Join Thunderclap on Feb 28
Use these sample tweets and handles provided to reach the nominees directly
Share these creative memes on your Facebook and Twitter using#SkiptheTrip.
Watch and share these videos by Apartheid Adventures and AJ+
Media interest in the SwagBag controversy has been extensive, coming as it does on top of a high-profile #OscarsSoWhite campaign to expose racism at the heart of the movie industry which has failed to find even one non-white leading Oscar nominee, for the second year in a row. Here’s a selection.
Oscar winners, come to Israel! It’s just like a movie…but people are actually killed
by International Business Times February 26th, 2016 “Any Oscar nominee taking up the offer will find themselves working as an unpaid stooge in an extended 10-day photo opportunity on behalf of a government that breaks international law, violates human rights and has been credibly accused of war crimes.”
Brian Eno: “Oscars’ swag bag is part of Israel’s cultural propaganda campaign”
by Salon February 26th, 2016 “Israel is using artists, again, to obscure its dismal human rights record. We must all demand the truth”
Pro-BDS Groups Urge Oscar Nominees to Skip Free Israel Trip
by Haaretz February 25th, 2016 “U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Jewish Voice for Peace place full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times, five days before the Academy Awards ceremony.”
Oscar nominees urged to skip Israel swag bag trip
by Reuters Video February 24th, 2016
LA Times Runs BDS Ad Advising Top Oscar Nominees To #SkipTheTrip To Israel
by MintPress News February 24th, 2016 ‘We want them to join our movement for human rights,’ said one organizer of the campaign to urge celebrities to boycott a free trip to Israel found in top Oscar nominees’ giveaway bags.”
Hollywood stars urged to reject free Oscar goodie bag trip to Israel
by The Telegraph February 24th, 2016 “Two US groups take out full-page newspaper advert denouncing junket being offered in nominees’ gift bag at this year’s award ceremony.”
Ad accusing Israel of apartheid published in LA Times
by Jewish Telegraph Agency February 24th, 2016
Oscar nominees urged to skip Israel swag bag trip
by Reuters February 24th, 2016
Full-Page Ad in Today’s Los Angeles Times Calls on Oscar Nominees to #SkipTheTrip Offered By Israeli Government
February 24th, 2016 ‘Same Ad Rejected By Variety Magazine Last Friday’
Variety Refuses to Publish a pro-BDS Ad Accusing Israel of Apartheid in Oscars Issue
by Haaretz February 23rd, 2016 “After the sponsored trip to Israel included in the swag bags for the Oscars, the magazine rejected Jewish Voice for Peace ad due to the sensitivity of the topic and the rude tone it has.”
Variety pulls pro-BDS ad accusing Israel of ‘apartheid’
by Jewish Telegraphic Agency February 23rd, 2016
Variety Kills Ad Denouncing Israel Trip in Oscars Swag Bag
by Forward February 22nd, 2016
Pro-Palestinian Group Urges Oscar Nominees to Reject Free Israel Trip
by The Wrap February 22nd, 2016
Variety Censors Ad Supporting Palestinian Human Rights
February 22nd, 2016 “Ad Calls on Oscar Nominees to ‘Skip the Trip’ to Israel Offered in Swag Bags”
Academy disavows Oscars gift bag featuring Israel junket
by The Electronic Intifada February 18th, 2016
Academy Sues Over Oscar Gift Bags that Include Sex Toys, Vaporizers
by Variety February 17th, 2016 “A lawsuit was launched by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences against the company marking Oscars gift bags that include a free trip to Israel.”
This year’s Oscar swag bag includes a $55,000 trip to Israel
by The Washington Post February 11th, 2016
Israel tries to bolster its image via Oscars ‘swag bag’
by Reuters February 8th, 2016
Israel offers free holidays to Oscars contenders in effort to improve image
by The Guardian February 8th, 2016 “Government says visits by ‘leading opinion-formers’, should they take up voucher for 10-day trip, would have ‘enormous resonance’ among their fans.”