By: Tony Shaw and Giora Goodman
Columbia University Press, 2022, ISBN Paperback: 9780231183413; ISBN Hardcover: 9780231183406, ISBN e-book: 9780231544924, 368 pages
HOLLYWOOD AND ISRAEL: A HISTORY
From Frank Sinatra’s early pro-Zionist rallying to Steven Spielberg’s present-day peacemaking, Hollywood has long enjoyed a “special relationship” with Israel. This book offers a groundbreaking account of this relationship, both on and off the screen. Tony Shaw and Giora Goodman investigate the many ways in which Hollywood’s moguls, directors, and actors have supported or challenged Israel for more than seven decades. They explore the complex story of Israel’s relationship with American Jewry and illuminate how media and soft power have shaped the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Shaw and Goodman draw on a vast range of archival sources to demonstrate how show business has played a pivotal role in crafting the U.S.-Israel alliance. They probe the influence of Israeli diplomacy on Hollywood’s output and lobbying activities, but also highlight the limits of ideological devotion in high-risk entertainment industries. The book details the political involvement with Israel—and Palestine—of household names such as Eddie Cantor, Kirk Douglas, Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Redgrave, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert De Niro, and Natalie Portman. It also spotlights the role of key behind-the-scenes players like Dore Schary, Arthur Krim, Arnon Milchan, and Haim Saban.
Bringing the story up to the moment, Shaw and Goodman contend that the Hollywood-Israel relationship might now be at a turning point. Shedding new light on the political power that images and celebrity can wield, Hollywood and Israel shows the world’s entertainment capital to be an important player in international affairs.
Tony Shaw is professor of contemporary history at the University of Hertfordshire.
Giora Goodman, a historian, chairs the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies at Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee