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Home > WGA Finally Address Israel Conflict Following Long Silence

WGA Finally Address Israel Conflict Following Long Silence

WGA

WGA’s Full Statement

The WGA is facing criticism over its silence in response to the Oct. 7 Israel-Hamas attack that left 1400 people dead. The guild has since released an apology to its members. 

The WGA’s Response to the Israel-Hamas Attack

Fresh off its months-long strike, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) released a statement on Tuesday in an apology for its silence following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. 

Many over the last week, including the Screen Writers Guild of Israel, had criticized the WGA for failing to condemn the Hamas attack, leaving more than 1400 dead and hundreds taken hostage. Only four have been released in recent days. Other guilds have spoken out over the attacks, and corporations like Disney, Comcast, and Skydance have donated millions in humanitarian relief. 

In its statement, the guild sought to explain its decision to remain silent in the wake of the attacks. Explaining it has normally taken stances on domestic issues of social justice or freedom of speech while avoiding international issues. 

“We did not, for example, comment after Russia invaded Ukraine, nor on terrorist attacks in Somalia, Pakistan or elsewhere,” the guild said. “It can be an imprecise science for a labor union to pick and choose where it weighs in on domestic and world affairs.”

The WGA West leaders have also acknowledged the pain that their silence caused.

“We are American labor leaders, aware of our limitations and humbled by the magnitude of this conflict,” the guild said. “However, we understand this has caused tremendous pain, and for that, we are truly sorry.”

Roughly 400 writers have signed an open letter condemning the attacks and blasting the union. Another group of more than 300 creative guild members signed a second letter urging groups to resist group pressure to weigh in on the attacks.

The WGA East had shared an earlier statement condemning that avoided response to the Israel conflict but condemned antisemitism and Islamophobia. It also stated that 40% of its members are journalists. A fact that complicates how it can respond to world events. 

Read the WGA West’s full message to its members below.

The WGA’s Statement

The Guild’s decision not to issue a statement on the events of October 7th has caused pain within our membership that we did not intend. We believe it is important to explain our process and attempt to rectify the situation, as well as to unequivocally state that antisemitism and Islamophobia have no place in this Guild.    

In the immediate aftermath of the Hamas attacks, we did not issue a public statement, not because we were not horrified by the atrocities, but because it felt outside the purview of a U.S. labor union representing writers to comment on it.

WGA

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This was and is a difficult balance to strike. We have, as a Guild, made statements on other occasions, which could be characterized as beyond our scope and want to offer some transparency here about our thinking. Those instances fell mainly under the umbrella of defending social justice in the U.S. or freedom of expression, and where possible, were connected back to writers’ working lives. But the list of national and international tragedies we have not commented on is large. We did not, for example, comment after Russia invaded Ukraine, nor on terrorist attacks in Somalia, Pakistan, or elsewhere. It can be an imprecise science for a labor union to pick and choose where it weighs in on both domestic and world affairs. 

Our board is diverse in its membership and points of view. The opinions from the board about whether to put out a statement did not fall along religious or sectarian lines, and mirrored what we have seen play out in our membership as a whole and in the broader community. When we made the difficult choice not to make a statement, it was not because we were paralyzed by factionalism or masking hateful views. We are American labor leaders, aware of our limitations and humbled by the magnitude of this conflict. However, we understand this has caused tremendous pain, and for that, we are truly sorry.

All of us in Guild leadership are horrified by the atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7th. The murder of so many innocent people in Israel is an abomination. We deeply mourn the deaths of innocent Palestinians ensnared in the violence in Gaza. We feel for all our members who have been affected, directly and indirectly. We hope that wisdom prevails in the region – and for the safety of all innocent people caught in the escalating violence. 

 

As we move forward, we ask everyone to treat each other with respect and patience in this horrible time. What any of us write and say should not put writers in peril with each other. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us.

None of this, of course, has any effect on the Israeli and Palestinian people. What they need from us is not an expression of our anger and distrust toward each other, but a shared commitment to peace and the value of every human life. 

 

In solidarity,

 

Meredith Stiehm, President

Michele Mulroney, Vice President

Betsy Thomas, Secretary-Treasurer

WGA

Source: Dead Talk Live

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