Letter: Why Emma Thompson?

Letter: Why Emma Thompson?

I thought the recent Jewish Times coverage of the films being offered by the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (Jan. 13 pullout section) was well done with one major exception: You failed to mention what has been the subject of numerous discussions and emails.

I was disappointed and upset that the female star of the opening night movie, “Alone in Berlin,” is none other than Emma Thompson, a vehemently anti-Israel activist. Your readers and many ticket purchasers have not been told that she actively supports boycotts and other actions that are designed to hurt Israel and her Jewish citizens. She wants to isolate and delegitimize Israel, and she has spoken against Israel and signed, for example, a petition to exclude Israel’s theater from performing in England.

She is the poster woman of everything many people in Atlanta and elsewhere abhor. The AJT said the movie is a “must-see.”

Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson resist the Nazi regime one postcard at a time in “Alone in Berlin.”
Brendan Gleeson and Emma Thompson resist the Nazi regime one postcard at a time in “Alone in Berlin.”

By showing “Alone in Berlin” on opening night, or any time, the AJFF is condoning the actions of Thompson. The community should be informed about this and have answers to the following questions:
• Did the AJFF know about Thompson’s anti-Israel campaign and, if so, when did it first find out?
• When did the AJFF first advise its officers and/or board of directors of Thompson’s background? Did the board approve “Alone in Berlin” as the film to be shown on opening night?
• When did the AJFF first inform its sponsors and all its ticket holders and potential buyers that it was helping the reputation of someone who seems to focus her ire and venom on Israel and not on other disputed areas, such as Tibet, Crimea, Cyprus and Kashmir?
• If the AJFF knew about Thompson’s background before opening night, why did it not immediately inform the public and the local Jewish newspapers?
• The AJFF reviewed more than 500 films. With so many movies and thousands of actors and actresses, why was a movie starring Thompson selected at all, let alone for opening night?

Let’s have a thorough discussion of this matter and not try to cover it up. My criticism is not with the movie, but the actions of the starring lead actress on the opening night event.

Doesn’t the selection of this actress allow those who curse and condemn Israel to say that the Atlanta Jewish community approves of her anti-Israel actions? Why should the spotlight be on Thompson? Should the AJFF show a movie that enhances Thompson’s reputation?

A wise mentor once told me that it is never too late to tell the truth, never too late to apologize and never too late to correct a wrong. The AJFF needs to take corrective actions. If this is not done, is it possible that next year we might see the likes of Mel Gibson, Vanessa Redgrave, and other anti-Israel or anti-Semitic actors and actresses?

I hope that the Atlanta Jewish Times reports on this and that the AJFF selects another movie for opening night.

— Lowell Fine, Atlanta

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