Sony Hack Reveals Hollywood’s Hand In Repairing Israel’s Broken Image
The WikiLeaks archive reveals how some of Hollywood’s top players want to combat the negative publicity of last summer’s brutal war on Gaza and link the pro-Palestine movement to anti-Semitism.
CULVER CITY, California — A MintPress News analysis of emails contained in WikiLeaks archive of the Sony Hack reveals how Hollywood executives are working to repair Israel’s public image in the wake of the savage death toll from last summer’s Operation Protective Edge offensive against Gaza. This includes a proposed documentary which would attempt to tie support for Palestine to anti-semitic violence in Europe and the United States.
A group of hackers called Guardians Of Peace held Sony computers hostage last year before leaking thousands of files to the Internet. The U.S. government has attempted to link the crime to North Korea, citing retaliation for the controversial Sony Pictures film “The Interview.”
Searchable Sony archive shows Hollywood’s Zionist bias
Previous analysis of the leaked documents revealed how Sony executives, including Amy Beth Pascal, chairwoman of the Motion Pictures Group of Sony Pictures Entertainment from 2006 until just after the Sony Hack in 2015, made racially insensitive comments about Barack Obama.
WikiLeaks released a searchable archive of leaked internal emails and documents on April 16. Investigation of the archive shows a pattern of support for Israel and its violent Zionist policies both during and after the 2014 assault on Gaza by Sony employees and other important members of the film industry.
Known as Operation Protective Edge, the brutal assault left at least 2,000 civilians dead and some 150,000 homeless. Pascal and almost 200 other Hollywood executives publicly signed a Creative Community For Peace petition blaming Hamas for the devastation of Israel’s attack on Gaza — an action the Jewish Journal cautioned “should not be confused with courage” in an op-ed titled “Hollywood Zionists are alive and well.”
A leaked email shows that the Creative Community For Peace works in direct opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to end investment in Israel and is especially strong on college campuses.
David Lonner, a TV producer on shows like “Devious Maids,” writers to Pascal on behalf of the CCFP:
“Over the past couple of years, I, along with a group of influential music execs put together a group called Creative Community for Peace which battles the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) which has tried to stop artists from performing in Israel. We have been very successful in making sure artists like Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Paul McCartney and others were not intimidated.”
Ali Abunimah, writing for The Electronic Intifada, revealed April 2014 emails showing Sony executives taunting Ehab Al Shihabi, CEO of Al-Jazeera America, in response to the network’s unbiased reporting on Palestine. Emails from August quote another executive, Steven Bernard, complaining to several other executives, including Pascal, that a report from Iran’s PressTV links Sony cameras to the guidance systems of Israeli rockets.
A deeper analysis of the emails by MintPress shows that Sony corporate culture is deeply aligned with Zionism, and many within Hollywood seek to take a more active role in creating propaganda opposed to Palestinian rights and statehood.
“Now, let’s win the media war”
Pascal was on a mailing list for The Israel Project, a non-profit with financial ties to groups involved with other forms of propaganda, including planting pro-Israel stories on social media via paid interns.
In one fundraising email, received in September 2014, The Israel Project tells Pascal, “Israel Won. Now, Let’s Win The Media War.” The email continues:
“Israel won. Hamas lost. The terrorists have been forced to stop their onslaught without achieving anything. But the struggle isn’t over. Now, the battle moves to the global media. … Help the fight against Hamas by donating today.”
Though it’s not known whether Pascal ever donated as a result of this or similar campaigns, the WikiLeaks archive clearly demonstrates Sony and other Hollywood executive’s desire to win the “media war.”
Both Hollywood media sources and Mondoweiss have already covered an August 2014 email thread between Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media and a Hollywood producer (“The Social Network”), and another producer, Ron Rotholz (“Canadian Bacon”), which included dozens of celebrities and Hollywood elite in its “cc:” list — a list that inadvertently exposed a secret Natalie Portman email. Kavanaugh also signed the Creative Community For Peace petition.
During this exchange, Kavanaugh complains:
“The problem is that Moore ‘ law is kicking in. Before the summer 50 percent of college students supported israel, today less the 25 percent do. There are hate crimes against heed happening in almost every major metropolitan city, now including the US.”
The concern raised by Kavanaugh and other participants is that declining opinions of Israel could lead to a second Holocaust. “So what do we do?” he asks.
The same email thread returns in October, when Kavanaugh revives it by sharing a link to a CBS Evening News story about armed guards protecting synagogues in Germany during Yom Kippur. The email has a new subject: “Happy New Year. Too bad Germany is now a no travel zone for jews.”
It’s here that several film industry executives begin planning a more active role in the “media war.”
“The greatest messaging machine”
Cassian Elwes, a British producer (“The Dallas Buyers Club”), responds to Kavanaugh’s link:
“How about we all club together and make a documentary about the rise of new anti semitism in Europe I would be willing to contribute and put time into it if others here would do the same. Between all of us I’m sure we could figure out a way to distribute it and get it into places like Cannes so we could have a response to guys like loach. Perhaps we try to use it to rally support from film communities in Europe to help us distribute it there”
“Loach” refers to Ken Loach, a British filmmaker, who called for a boycott of Israeli cultural products at the 2014 Sarajevo Film Festival.
The idea is met with enthusiasm.
“I’m in,” replies Kavanaugh.
“Me too,” says Pascal.
Mark Canton, producer of films like “300,” jumps in to suggest: “Lets organize this.”
Jason Binn, founder of luxury fashion magazine DuJour, offers to promote the film, sight unseen, while Hollywood attorney and occasional actor Glenn Feig offers legal representation.
From this point forward, a new, smaller group begins sharing links to reports of anti-Semitism in Europe and the U.S., but now with an eye toward building evidence for their proposed documentary. In addition to Elwes, Kavanaugh, Pascal, Feig, Binn and Rotholz, the group is joined by TV producer Ben Silverman (“Mob Wives”).
“Ron and I are talking in earnest tomorrow about directors. I don’t know if any if you know or have an opinion about him but I’m an admirer if Errol Morris,” writes Elwes on Oct. 10.
John Battsek, a producer of documentaries for Passion Pictures, is also discussed for possible involvement.
It’s clear that Elwes is aware of the power that Hollywood holds over the opinion of the global public.
“We work in the greatest messaging machine in the world and if we can’t get this message across no one can,” he writes on Oct. 5.
Linking Palestine to anti-Semitism
The group’s message is one that explicitly links anti-Semitism not just to recent, violent attacks on Jews worldwide but to any opposition to the policies of Israel. Because they believe that criticism of Israel could lead to a new Holocaust against Jews, all such criticism has to be vigorously opposed.
In September, Rotholz and Kavanaugh attacked a New York City performance of “The Death Of Klinghoffer,” a modern opera that’s critical of Israeli occupation of Palestine and the ways it leads to unrest and terrorism.
Kavanaugh explicitly links the opera to fears of a renewed Holocaust:
“We can continue to be silent and pretend this isn’t happening because it is not in our country yet. We can ignore the anti semitism akin to pre ww2 Germany … now lining the streets of london, France Germany and around the world. We all may think we’re protected here in the free US. We are not. It had now hit our doorstep and yet we remain silent?”
In reply, Rotholz writes:
“And tommorrow the UK Parliament are voting to recognise the State of Palestine, which would mean the recoginition of the current govt. co-run by Hamas …… Sweden, Poland and Hungary have already done this ……. many lines are being crossed …….. it’s a new reality for us. The tacit and subtle recognition of Hamas as a legitimate government with legitimate policies and a legitimate charter, by Western governments is a hate crime on a global scale.”
Rotholz links to a video titled “The Jewish Voices on Campus,” in which students on U.S. campuses liken support for Palestine to anti-Semitic attacks.
“The issue is we do experience a lot of anti-semitism, in a lot of different ways,” Henry, a student at the University of California, Berkeley, says in one of the video’s first spoken sentences.
In the next shot, Michael, a Harvard University student, is seen speaking at a microphone. “To be completely honest with you, you know, being against Israel has become the cool thing to do,” he says.
Immediately following this statement is footage of peaceful, pro-Palestine demonstrators chanting on an unidentified college campus, while another student is heard describing a college professor who reportedly called his students “little jihadis.”
Later, in October 2014, the group working on the documentary project shares news of both recognition of Palestine by European governments and swastikas painted on university campuses with equal interest and dismay.
Based on the WikiLeaks archive and the other sources available, MintPress was unable to determine whether the documentary project remains active. If discussions continued after the hack, they are not available to the public. No IMDB listings or other industry news could be found for the proposed film.
While the proposed documentary may never reach theaters, it’s clear that Hollywood, the world’s “greatest messaging machine,” has been engaged in producing propaganda on behalf of Israel.
Crossposted at MintPress News