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May 02, 1980 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-05-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

friday, May 2, 190


Open Letter to Vanessa Redgrave

(Copyright 1980, JTA, Inc.)

(Editor's note: Eva Bar-
tok, internationally
known actress, has made
numerous films in Great
Britain. The Hungarian-
born film star issued this
open letter after Vanessa
Redgrave called for a
boycott of Israel. Ms.
Bartok gave this letter to
Herbert Luft, the Jewish
Telegraphic Agency's
film critic, asking that it
be made public.)
On March 31st, you asked
- --heBritish Actor's Equity to
stitute a veritable boycott
-against the state of Israel.
There were only 200 mem-
bers at that meeting — I
was not one of them. But
some of us — some of the
26,300 members who were
absent must speak up. We
must not be guilty of si-
lence, for silence is a form of
And I, especially — I
whom Britain took in, shel-
tered and adopted — I who
prize my status as a British
subject more highly even
than if I had been born there
— I especially must speak
out when I see any attempt
to suppress human rights.
You claim that the
"rights of the Palestinian
artists are inseparable from
the rights of the Palestinian
people." Fine. Then what
about the "inseparable
rights of the British artists
and people?" What about
the rights of the Israeli ar-
tists and people? What
about the rights of everyone
on this rapidly shrinking
globe? What about human
Why were you not de-
fending the rights of the
embattled Hungarian
youth and workers in
1956? Of the Czech youth
and workers a short time
later? Of the Polish youth
and workers only a few
years ago? Of the Afghan
youth and workers at this
very moment? Could it be
because you were never
on the spot" when their
rights were being —
bloodily — suppressed?
You see, I was. I was both
a child and an adolescent
under the rule of the Nazis
in Hungary. I was in my
early teens when the Rus-
sians "liberated" that al-
ready devastated country —
I was there: I saw them both
at work. The slogans — the

Envoy Released

l's Ambassador to Col-
bia, Eliyahu Barak, re-
turned home Monday after
a two-month ordeal in the
Dominican Embassy in
ogota where he and a score
4-41V f other diplomats and
foreign nationals were held
- hostage by leftist revolu-
tionaries. The hostages
were finally released last


Soviet Sit-In

Some 100 Jews staged a
100-hour sit-in last week in
,front of the Soviet Embassy
to protest Soviet mistreat-
ment of Jews.

flags changed, but the goals
remained the same: the
crushing of the individual
human being — together
with all his rights.
Vanessa, history is an
endless repetition of "new"
leaders taking power —
leaders full of so-called
"new" political ideas. They
promise to stop wars, feed
the people — they promise
equality, prosperity and
"inseparable human and ar-
tistic rights." But what is
the reality?
Ask Solzhenytzin about
his "human and artistic
rights." Ask any number of
muzzled Russian, Czech,
Polish, Hungarian, Bulga-
rian or Romanian artists.
For that matter, ask a Rus-
sian Jew of today.
Surely, you remember
Stalin's attitude towards
them. Surely Vanessa,
you must know that if
there were no state of Is-
rael, their fate — even
today — could easily be a
repetition of the
Holocaust. A Holocaust
which, I must remind
you, would probably not
have happened had there
been a state of Israel in
Was there ever a dictator-
ship that did not suppress
the very people they pur-
ported to defend? I am in ac-
cord with the well-known
writer, Henry Miller, who
once said in an article, "We
do not want followers of this
or that political leader, be-
lievers in this or that ideal,
however noble. We need in-
dividuals who can work
with their fellow men with
tolerance and understand-
Here in the United States
of America that tolerance
was extended to you just re-
cently when the Screen Ac-
tors' Guild supported the
producers who cast you in
the part of a Jewish concen-
tration camp survivor in
"Playing for Time" for CBS
Television. They upheld
your artistic rights, Van-
essa, in spite of vehement
opposition from many
sources — opposition which
has grown out of the con-
troversy you caused a few
years ago when you made
pro-Palestinian, anti-
Israeli comments upon the
acceptance of your Academy
Do you really think that
there are no supporters of
Israel — both Christians
and Jews — among the
members of the Screen Ac-
tors' Guild or the Academy
of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences? Or do you think
that because they supported
your human rights that
they concur with you? I as-
sure you, they do not! But
they do practice what they
It is a shame that you
cannot extend the same
tolerance and respect for
human rights to the
people of tke young state
of Israel. The basic "hu-
man right" is the right to
live. While people are still
having that right taken
away, violently — on both
sides — neither one of us

should be supporting
their murderers.
The youth of the world
can make their own judg-
ment. But, hearing your
words of support for the
PLO — the words of some-
one whose talent they ad-
mire and respect — how can
they not become confused?
They are confused enough
already. Here again, I speak
from experience, having
given a series of talks spon-
sored by the Department of
Humanities at universities
throughout the United
States of America and
Canada. Yes, they are con-
fused — but the questions
they ask and the comments •
they make show clearly that
they are seeking higher

values for mankind.- I as-
sure you, they don't want
violence; bloodshed or ra-
cism. What they want is the
brotherhood of man.
I can't believe that the
youth of England is any
different from their North
American brothers and sis-
ters in their longing for a
better world: so I would like
to make a proposal to you.
If you do not agree with
what I have said here, why
don't we put our respective
points-of-view before the
youth — the people. Let
them be the judge of which
one of us speaks with their
voice. It will be easy to ar-
range — via TV satellite, if
necessary. What do you say,



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