Coen Brothers: Boycotting Israel is a mistake‏

May 16, 2011
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The successful Hollywood filmmakers arrived in Israel to receive a
million-dollar award from Tel Aviv University.

While on a visit to Israel to collect a million-dollar award from Tel
Aviv University, American filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen said that they
did not believe that boycotting Israel would solve political problems.
The production-direction team responsible for a string of successful
Hollywood dramas in the last two decades, from The Big Lebowski to
Miller’s Crossing, came to the country to receive the Dan David prize
for their creative contribution to filmmaking.
coen – Courtesy – February 22 2011

The Dan David prize committee called the duo a unique example in
cinematic history for their abilities to tell a simple story in a
complex manner.
The prize is named for businessman and philanthropist Dan David and is
administered by a board of directors headed by Tel Aviv University
President Professor Yoseph Klafter. Ten percent of the recipients’ prize
money is donated on their behalf to doctorate and post-doctorate student
grants.
Responding to a question about musicians and film makers who boycott the
State of Israel because of its policies and actions, screenwriter and
director Ethan Coen said, “People respond to real problems from the
heart, and they think that’s the right thing to do. We don’t agree with
that opinion, that that’s how to deal with these problems.”
The brothers’ Jewish heritage is on display in a number of their films,
most obviously in ‘A Serious Man’ – translated into Hebrew as ‘The Good
Jew’. Despite many references to Jewish cultural themes in their movies,
the two deny that their own Jewishness is necessarily connected to their
filmmaking.
“There were Jewish characters, but in regards to whether our background
influences our film making… who knows?” says Joel. “We don’t think about
it… There’s no doubt that our Jewish heritage affects how we see things.”
“We grew up in a Jewish community, but we never thought to make a story
that deals with Israel,” Joel continued. “We don’t really know Israel –
we write American stories. That’s what we know.”
“We’ve wanted to come here for a long time, but life got in the way,”
Joel explains. “We’re very happy for this opportunity. We’ll spend a few
days at Tel Aviv University.”
The Coen Brothers were nominated for twelve Academy Awards in the last
year alone for their most movie ‘True Grit’. The film follows a decade
of successes that include ‘No Country for Old Men’, ‘A Serious Man’, and
‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’
The other prize winners for 2011 were University of California at San
Francisco Professor Cynthia Kenyon and Harvard Medical School Professor
Gary Ruvkun for their work in gerontology and Stanford University
Medical School Professor Marcus Feldman for his work in the evolutionary
sciences.

By City Mouse Online, Haaretz Service and Amit Kling @ haaretz.com