After two weeks of taking flak for signing the controversial letter protesting the Toronto International Film Festival’s decision to honor Tel Aviv with a special City to City program, Jane Fonda now says she screwed up—not so much by supporting a half-baked boycott, but by signing something “without reading it carefully enough.” In a column on the Huffington Post, she wrote that “some of the words in the protest letter did not come from my heart,” particularly the ones that were “unnecessarily inflammatory,” like the ones depicting Tel Aviv as a city “built on destroyed Palestinian villages.”
That’s fine, we suppose, but we’re puzzled that it took so long before Fonda got around to re-reading the document that has caused her so much grief. (Maybe it was part of the lesson Rabbi Shlomo Schwartz, of the Chai Center, apparently gave her on teshuva.) But never mind, she managed to disengage from the protest just in time to miss yesterday’s press conference, at which Canadian filmmaker John Greyson—who pulled his work from the Toronto festival altogether—reiterated their complaint that the Tel Aviv celebration was just propaganda for Israel that papered over the harsh realities of the Palestinian conflict. Meanwhile, Jewish groups ran ads in the Los Angeles Times and the Toronto Star that read, “Anyone who has actually seen recent Israeli cinema, movies that are political and personal, comic and tragic, often critical, knows they are in no way a propaganda arm for any government policy.” We’re assuming the signatories—who included Jerry Seinfeld, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Natalie Portman—read it thoroughly before they signed.