Berlin — Perhaps the most overlooked fact in the obituaries written about Elizabeth Taylor was that her unwavering support for the Jewish state was matched with genuine pro-Israel action. The New York Times devoted only a footnote to Liz Taylor’s rock-solid commitment to Israel’s security, noting that she “divided her time between her charitable works, including various Israeli causes.”
However, Ami Eden, the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), extracted some fascinating nuggets from the JTA archive about Taylor’s opposition to the toxic combination of Western leftism and Palestinian terrorism.
After the terrorist members from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Germany’s left-wing Baader-Meinhof Gang took an Air France plane at Entebbe airport in Uganda hostage in 1976, she offered to exchange herself for the remaining 100-plus Jewish and Israeli passengers.
The German terrorists had ordered a new “selection process,” which was eerily reminiscent of the Nazi selections at Auschwitz, and separated the Jewish passengers from the non-Jews aboard the plane. The terrorists released most of the non-Jewish passengers. Israeli commandos were able to secure the dramatic release of 103 hostages. Lt. Col. Jonathan Netanyahu, the late brother of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, led the mission and was shot dead during the rescue operation.
Taylor was also one of 60 signatories to a telegram addressed to U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim (ex-Nazi) from prominent women, slamming the U.N. Anti-Zionist Resolution in 1975. She did this at time when it was highly unfashionable to come out against the anti-Israel U.N. resolution. In 1967, she pulled the plug on a trip to the Soviet Union because of its diplomatic attacks on the Jewish state. One could continue with this list of her activities in support of Israel.
At a time when U.S. entertainers like the folk singer Pete Seeger, the alternative band the Pixies, and Carlos Santana are waging a cultural boycott war against Israel, it is worth remembering an actress who understood the difference between anti-Semitic Palestinian terrorists and fighting to preserve Israel’s existence.
Farewell, Elizabeth Taylor. You will be missed!
— Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.