The Israeli Ministry of Tourism is offering this year’s Oscar nominees a free VIP trip to Israel worth $50,000.
This is a cynical and desperate attempt by the Israeli government to fight its increasing international isolation with bribes to celebrities.
Oscar nominees Mark Rylance and Asif Kapadia have already promised not to visit Israel professionally.
An Israeli government press release admits the whitewash: “If they do indeed accept the invitation, their visit will have enormous resonance among millions of fans and followers, including social media.”
As the Washington Post said, the initiative is a response to the growing strength of the movement for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS).
The Academy has sought to distance itself from the initiative by filing a lawsuit against Distinctive Assets, the company distributing the luxury gift bag, which includes the trip to Israel.
Musician Brian Eno summed up the irony of sending celebrities to Israel at a time of increased repression against Palestinians: “Visit Palestine! Enjoy a tear-gas filled weekend in an East Jerusalem ghetto!”
Palestinain BDS National Committee