December 4, 2023
“The Battle for Hollywood: How Israel-Hamas Conflict is Dividing Tinseltown
While war is an endless, unfortunate reality in much of the world, the current conflict between Israel and Gaza is making waves in the entertainment industry. In what is an unusual circumstance, filmmakers and actors are facing tough decisions regarding their chosen projects and how to approach this highly-charged situation.
On the one hand, there are those involved in film and television projects who are choosing to maintain their involvement in projects tied to the region. This is the case for many productions related to Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian political and militant group which the Israeli government declared a terror organization in 1989. They are either maintaining their involvement to support the cause or find the material an important artistic challenge.
On the other hand, there are many who are choosing to drop out or bypass projects tied to the ongoing violence between Israel and Gaza. Some of them are reluctant to take any position at all, while others, such as prominent actress Penelope Cruz, have publicly declared their support for Gaza and their sympathy for the people affected by the conflict.
This tension is making itself felt in Hollywood circles and can be seen in the decisions of powerful figures about projects that have long been planned. For example, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners recently dropped out of the Netflix film The Red Sea Diving Resort, which is billed as a “thriller” based on a true story of a daring mission to help Ethiopian refugees escape Sudan in the early 1980s. Production of the film had alreadye begun when the company decided to pull out in response to the Israeli-Gaza conflict.
The discussions and decisions surrounding Hollywood filmmaking during the war between Israel and Gaza have highlighted just how divided – and complicated – the entertainment industry can be. Where some have publicly asserted their positions, many have chosen not to get involved in politics, while still others have seen the artistic material in the situation and chosen to pursue it. The effect that the war will have upon the entertainment industry remains to be seen, but it looks like it is sure to be a tumultuous time.