Protesting Israeli raid, Hollywood stars shunning Jerusalem Film Fest
In protest of Israel's May 31 deadly flotilla raid, famous actors Dustin Hoffman and Meg Ryan won't be present at this year's Jerusalem International Movie Festival, according to Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post. Yigal Molad, the festival organizer, told the newspaper that following the raid on a Gaza-bound aid convoy, both Ryan and Hoffman reversed earlier plans to attend the festival. Other prominent figures such as Prince Albert of Monaco have similarly given last-minute notifications of their intention to boycott the festival, set for later this month. The Israeli raid claimed the lives of nine Turkish peace activists trying to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza strip, and put Turkish-Israeli relations under heavy strain. Israel also came under strong pressure from the international community to lift its blockade of Gaza. In related news, despite US reluctance, a commission set up by the UN's Geneva-based Human Rights Council yesterday started its probe of the raid. The commission will be chaired by Canadian international law expert Phillipe Kirsch, former head of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Kirsch has previously taken part in international investigations of war crimes and piracy.