In letter, Palestinians urge Richard Gere to cancel Israel visit

We, Palestinian performing arts organizations, are writing from Palestine to urge Richard Gere to cancel his upcoming participation in the Jerusalem movie premier of Norman as it would inadvertently undermine our collective, non-violent struggle for human rights. The letter says: Regardless of intentions, your presence in Jerusalem provides Israel with a stamp of approval to continue its oppression of Palestinians. Emblematic of this, Israeli diplomat Arye Mekel said in 2009, “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theatre companies, exhibits. This way, you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.” Art and artists are used by Israel to present the country in positive light, subsequently whitewashing its oppressive policies and military occupation.
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