The Screenwriters Guild of Israel called out the Writers Guild of America over their reluctance to release a consensus statement condemning the Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel.
The WGA board has faced heavy criticism over the union failing to join SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America in condemning the attacks.
“It is a damn shame that a professional writers’ guild decides to withhold words. To keep utterly silent. To not take a stand. Well, your silence is considered a stand, picking a side. A shame,” the Israeli Screenwriters Guild wrote a statement posted to social media Sunday.
English follows:— Screenwriters Guild of Israel – איגוד התסריטאים (@IgudHatasritaim) October 22, 2023
בעוד אנחנו, חברנו וחברותנו מלווים משפחות בלוויות, מחזיקים אצבעות ומתפללים להחזרתם של החטופים והחטופות ולשלומם של כל חיילנו וחיילותינו, בניהם כמובן גם תסריטאים ותסריטאיות אשר נמצאים בחזית המלחמה, בהתנדבות ובעורף האזרחי, נאלצנו גם לכתוב את המכתב המצורף. pic.twitter.com/qL5yJJ7VpP
The WGA board stayed divided over the weekend on how to respond to the violence that sparked a war between Israel and Hamas, with civilians on both sides caught in the crossfire. According to a memo sent Saturday by WGA West Coast president Meredith Stiehm, “we found consensus out of reach.”
In an email sent to an unspecified number of guild members, first obtained by Deadline, she explained, “In the past week, some members have requested that the Guild take a public stand on events in the Middle East. Equally, many members have asked us to refrain from making any statement.”
Stiehm’s email was sent after a 90-minute conversation, held Friday night about a potential response, failed and after “several Guild members made it clear to the board and WGA leadership” that any response that could be read as a statement of support for Israel would be interpreted as support for Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza.
However, the Screenwriters Guild of Israel found WGA’s silence comparatively deafening.
“Your silence is loud and clear and completely contrasted by the loud support demanded from the SGI and their members just a few weeks ago,” the sister guild said in a statement.
Hollywood screenwriters, including Jeni Kohan, Jerry Seinfeld, Eli Roth and Amy Sherman-Palladino, sent an open letter to the WGA board on Oct. 15 calling them out for not speaking up in support of Israel.
On Oct. 15, Hollywood screenwriters, including Eli Roth, Jenji Kohan, Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Sherman-Palladino, in an open letter called out the WGA board for not speaking up to support Israel.
This followed a previous open letter, signed on Oct. 12 by the likes of Gal Gadot, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Pine, Mayim Bialik, Liev Schreiber, Amy Schumer and Michael Douglas, from the nonprofit organization Creative Community for Peace. That declaration supported Israel and condemned the Hamas’ attack on Israel.
Meanwhile, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles issued its own condemnation of the WGA’s silence, one which noted the various other politically sensitive issues about which the WGA has recently spoken out.
“The Writers Guild of America has always led by example. When employers sought to exploit our work, the Guild bravely spoke up. When the BLM movement took flight, the Guild rightfully spoke up. When the #MeToo reckoning came and Hollywood needed to change, again the Guild spoke up,” the statement read. “But when terrorists invaded Israel to murder, rape, and kidnap Jews… the Guild stayed silent.”
Read the Screenwriters Guild of Israel’s full response below:
The Screen Writers Guild of Israel is shocked and appalled by the lack of courage from its fellow American guilds to take a clear stand on the events of Oct. 7. Your silence is loud and clear and completely contrasted by the loud support demanded from the SGI and their members just a few weeks ago.
It is a shame that a professional writers’ guild cannot reach a consensus and find the words to condemn an act of terrorism, an unprovoked crime against humanity, against innocent civilians, women, children, the disabled and the elderly.
It is a shame that a professional writers’ guild cannot find in their hearts enough courage to speak out against a terrorist organization that is currently holding 200 hostages, some of them toddlers and babies, snatched from their cribs as their mothers were raped in the same room, in front of their eyes.
It is a damn shame that a professional writers’ guild decides to withhold words. To keep utterly silent. To not take a stand. Well, your silence is considered a stand, picking a side. A shame.