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Aided by ADL, a handful of high-profile Hollywood Jews respond to Israel-Gaza war

by Danielle Berrin

August 18, 2014 | 12:00 pm

Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh

A handful of high-profile entertainment industry leaders have affixed their names to an open-letter formulated by the Anti-Defamation League calling for "decent people everywhere" to prevent the future rearming of Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip and sparked the recent month-long war with Israel.

Among the symbolic 18 signatories (a number that means "life" in Hebrew) are Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chair Amy Pascal, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer, Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh, film director Brett Ratner and the actress Mayim Bialik.

The letter will run as an ad in this week's Jewish Journal, and features only a few lines of text. Most prominent placement is given to a well-known quote by Israel's first (and only) female Prime Minister, Golda Meir: "We can forgive them for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with them when they love their own children more than they hate us."

After weeks of deeply polarized responses to the recent conflict, this represents an assertive move by Jewish leaders in Hollywood, many of whom have remained silent on the issue. Hollywood's most vocal Israel supporters have included media mogul Haim Saban, talk show host Bill Maher, radio host Howard Stern, comedian Joan Rivers and Relativity's Kavanaugh, who recently penned an op-ed in the Hollywood Reporter calling Hamas "one of the most anti-Western, anti-creative, violent forces on the planet."

Perhaps as Israel and Hamas have entered into a fragile but tangible truce, the message of preventing Hamas from rearming itself serves to reinforce the relative quiet. The ADL letter ends with the hope that "the people of Israel and Gaza can move towards a more peaceful future."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Danielle Berrin writes the Hollywood Jew blog, a cutting edge, values-based take on the entertainment industry for jewishjournal.com. A Los Angeles Times profile dubbed her...

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