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  • Lara Crigger

Creatives Need To Create A Better World For Israel

In this issue:



 

Creatives Need to Create a Better World for Israel


Some days I feel like the creative world has gone insane. Actors don lapel pins that directly evoke Israeli lynchings. The maker of a Holocaust movie proves he has learned nothing from the experience and publicly “refutes his Jewishness” to thunderous applause. Editors of a literary magazine resign en masse because the publication dared to publish an op-ed written by an Israeli—one who, in fact, has dedicated her life to healing the rift between Israelis and Palestinians.


What on earth is going on?


I’ve seen it in my own small corner of the world. I’m somewhat active in book publishing circles, though over the past few months, I’ve had to pull back for my sanity’s sake. Antisemitism—always an unspoken current in the industry—has become a riptide, violent enough to pull you under.


Here’s a great example: Mere days after the terrorist attack on Israel, the worst loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust, the book publishing online community banded together in solidarity and held an auction to raise money.


For the Palestinians.


How is this happening? How can my fellow creatives be getting it so wrong? I know these are good people; I know they have boundless compassion and empathy—they must, because compassion and empathy are necessary skills in creative professions.


But that incredible skill and strength has been weaponized against Jews. Their empathy has been twisted, reshaped by social media algorithms that beam endless “Pallywood” TikTok videos and Instagram Reels into their feeds, until the lies are easier to believe than the truth.


For centuries, Jews have been at the forefront of the artistic world, whether it was vaudeville in the 18th century, modern art in the 19th century, or moving pictures in the 20th century. Yet each time we have been erased from the narrative, our inventions and innovations turned against us.


Thankfully, there are an increasing number of creatives unafraid to be fiercely, passionately Zionist. Actors like Michael Rapaport and Debra Messing are showing that you don’t have to pick between Zionism and Hollywood. Musicians like Disturbed’s David Draiman are speaking up at their shows to roaring crowds.


I’m taking heart from their efforts, and from the hundreds of thousands of lesser-known actors, artists, writers, musicians, and other creatives who raise their voice every day to stand up for Israel and make the world that much safer for the entirety of the Jewish people. (Drop your favorite ones in the comments!)


Every creative voice raised in support of Israel, and Jewish people in general, is in fact creating a better world for us all.

 

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz: “A New Spiritual Framework for Zionism”


In this Times of Israel op-ed, Rabbi Yanklowitz argues that it’s time for a new age of Zionism, one that can unite Jews of different backgrounds across the world. This form of Zionism would be rooted in the concepts of Mussar, the study of Jewish ethics. As Rabbi Yanklowitz writes: “What we are is moral beings, beings with deep spiritual potential, beings with the ability to change the world, first by changing ourselves.”

 

Thomas Friedman: “Netanyahu Is Making Israel Radioactive”


Need your daily dose of “argh!”? Then check out this op-ed by Thomas Friedman, “Netanyahu Is Making Israel Radioactive.” In it, Friedman claims that Netanyahu has made it impossible for Diaspora Jews to support Israel, basing his argument on familiar Hamas talking points, such as Israel having killed over 30,000 Palestinians in Gaza. (Where do those numbers come from? Hamas. So why are we trusting the word of terrorists again?)

Whether you love or hate Netanyahu is completely irrelevant to the question of whether or not Jews should be allowed to defend themselves against terror. The answer is easy: yes.

 

Bari Weiss: “The Holiday from History Is Over”


One last must-read this week comes from our friend Bari Weiss, “The Holiday From History Is Over.” Recently Weiss went to Israel, where she spoke with Israelis and Palestinians living the reality of war and filmed several short documentaries, some of which are available in the body of the article, others which are available on The Free Press’s YouTube channel. Her writing is stark and moving as always, and even if you don’t click on any other link this week, you should read this one.

 

WATCH: Israel’s Eurovision Entry, “Hurricane”


After weeks of drama, the revised Israeli entry for Eurovision 2024 has been unveiled: Eden Golan’s “Hurricane.” The original version of the song, “October Rain,” was alleged to contain references to the 10/7 terrorist attacks. So, in order to stay in the competition, the European Broadcasting Commission forced Israel to remove the lyrics and resubmit the song. You can watch the entry below, and cheer on Israel in the competition starting May 7th.



 

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