Emmy-winning actor David Clennon said in an op-ed today that he declined an audition for a new Netflix series because he didn’t want to work with two Israeli producers previously involved in a television show that casts Palestinians in a negative light.
In an op-ed for TruthOut.org, Clennon said creative executive producers Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz were involved in the Israel television series Fauda, which depicts a Hamas terrorist being hunted by a Rambo-like soldier from the Israeli Defense Forces. When Clennon was approached to audition for the Netflix series with the working title Sycamore, he began doing some investigating.
When he discovered the involvement of Issacharoff and Raz, he decided not to audition for the Netflix role of Martin Wexler, an American politician. The show plans to start filming in September in New York and Tel Aviv and is described as a political espionage thriller.
Clennon has a contentious history in Hollywood as an outspoken political activist. Most recently, he lobbied against an Emmy Award for Ken Burns Vietnam series, which he claimed “peddles Pentagon propaganda.” His past includes turning down roles in Just Cause and 24 because they clashed with his political beliefs.
His resume includes such films as Bound for Glory, Coming Home, and Being There. He is most known for his role as Miles Dentrell on the TV show Thirtysomething. His Emmy Award was for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series in Dream On in 1990.
Clennon characterized Fauda in his op-ed as “offensive” for its portrayal of the Palestinians. And even if the Netflix show chose a different path, Israeli production companies “stand to benefit enormously from their alliances with their American partners and Netflix,” said Clennon.
“In addition to substantial revenue for the companies and the Israeli economy, the Israeli government will benefit from the prestige of creative partnerships with Hollywood,’ Clennon wrote. “These show business relationships matter, politically.”
Clennon said he supports the academic and cultural Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign on Israel investment. He said he hoped to deny “Israel the legitimacy and the prestige it seeks in the world community” by calling attention through his protest.
“With considerable reluctance, but inspired by the example of so many others, I chose not to participate in the whitewashing of Israel’s image,” Clennon said, despite being out of work for a year-and-a-half.
“I’m not a high-profile performer,” he concluded. “My refusal to collaborate with Israeli producers will have a negligible effect on this expensive and ambitious project. My decision is just one individual’s act of conscience in solidarity with the Palestinian people — and with dissident Israelis who envision a better future for both peoples.”
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