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Rabbinic Views on ‘julia’

Two rabbis have offered opposing views on whether Jews, from the standpoint of halacha, should see the film “Julia” since one of its co-stars is Vanessa Redgrave who supports the Palestine Liberation Organization. Ms. Redgrave won an Oscar last night for best supporting actress in the film which portrays her as an active worker against Nazism.

“By patronizing any kind of enterprise from which this woman makes money and which she can use it for anti-Israel and anti-Zionist purposes–which is the equivalent to being anti-Semitic–comes under the category of ‘aiding a sinner,'” according to Rabbi Seymour Siegel, chairman of the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly and a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. The Conservative rabbi, who stressed he was speaking in an unofficial capacity and personally, said this is strictly forbidden under Jewish law.

Rabbi Solomon Freehof, who represents the Reform view and has published many books on responsa, said that halachically “one should be forbidden to help her in any way” if she was Jewish. However, he noted, since Ms. Redgrave is not Jewish and support of Israel is not one of the original laws of Noah which all mankind must follow, Jews can object that seeing her film will help the PLO only from a “moral point” of view, not a halachic view. An Orthodox rabbi, who was asked to comment, declined to respond.

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