Nobody cares what a movie star like Meg Ryan thinks about the Mideast, says Jacob Weisberg at Newsweek, but her decision to cancel an appearance at an Israeli film festival is disturbing, nonetheless. Ryan is a "conventional Hollywood Democrat" whose "sheeplike" following of the liberal mainstream makes her the perfect "barometer of celebrity politics." Stars like Ryan "once reflexively favored Israel," but since the Gaza flotilla incident in June, have begun "dabbling in the repellent idea of shunning the entire country" — an entirely "unacceptable way for outsiders to protest Israeli treatment of Palestinians." Here, an excerpt:
Support for the Israeli cultural boycott has been growing in surprising places lately. After the Gaza flotilla incident in June, rock bands including the Pixies canceled performances at a music festival in Tel Aviv. Elvis Costello announced in May that he was canceling two upcoming performances to protest the treatment of Palestinians. Unlike Ryan, Costello is a thoughtful person whose views are worthy of respect. So why, exactly, do I think he’s wrong, too?
[...] The [strongest] case against a cultural boycott of Israel is based on consistency, proportionality, and history. That supporters of this boycott seldom focus on China or Syria or Zimbabwe—or other genuinely illegitimate regimes that systematically violate human rights—underscores their bad faith.... What they’re saying is, "We consider your country so intrinsically reprehensible that we are going to treat all of your citizens as pariahs."
Read the full article at Newsweek.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 10 things you need to know today: September 22, 2014
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Does solar energy have a battery problem?
- How U2 became the new Nickelback
- Can the U.S. Army degrade and destroy Ebola?
Subscribe to the Week