Activists claim victory as Oscar grab bag Israel trips go unused

None of the Oscar nominees used the 10-day trip, valued at $55,000, which was part of the 2016 Oscar gift bag.

February 22, 2017 12:15
1 minute read.
Oscar statues are painted outside the entrance to the Dolby Theatre

Oscar statues are painted outside the entrance to the Dolby Theatre . (photo credit: REUTERS)

One of the best perks of being a celebrity -- besides the millions of dollars --  is the glitz and glamour of the Oscar gift bag.

However it appears that one item in the 2016 Oscar gift bag was not so desirable: a 10-day, first-class trip to Israel. None of the 2016 Oscar nominees took up the offer to visit Israel this year.

The trip, valued at $55,000, was immediately condemned by BDS activists and pro-Palestinian groups as "Zionist propaganda." Prominent activists said that the celebrity visits would be used by the Israeli government to distract from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A #skipthetrip Twitter campaign was launched by anti-Israel activists in order to convince the celebrities not to use their travel vouchers. Advertisements were also published in the Los Angeles Times.

AFP quoted Yousef Munayyer of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, which spearheaded the campaign along with the US-based Jewish Voice for Peace, as saying, "This is a success -- I am very glad there's no evidence that people went. I think it is clear the objective of using the actors to whitewash Israel has failed."

While none of the actors went to Israel themselves, the agency that created the luxury package has said that Jennifer Lawrence gifted the voucher to her parents.

Luxury trips are not uncommon in the  swag bag. A 15-day walking tour of Japan was also given to the 2016 Oscar nominees.

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