Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem Under Fire From Jon Voight Over Israel-GazaBy: Galen Velonis - August 4, 2014
The Israel-Gaza conflict is causing a feud in the entertainment industry. Many celebrities have said something about the problems in the area, and other celebrities respond to them, many times in anger. Time Magazine documented a few who have received a lot of criticism recently, from Zayn Malik to Kim Kardashian.
And now, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Jon Voight have all joined the fray.
It all started in a letter that Cruz and Bardem, along with other Spanish celebrities, signed asking Israel to “lift the blockade, which the Gaza Strip has suffered for more than a decade”, translated by the Hollywood reporter.
“Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air.” The letter went on to say, “Palestinians’ homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing.”
When Jon Voight heard about this, he responded with his own letter in the Hollywood Reporter. “My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry, I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused,” he began.
After detailing the history of Israel, he demanded that “all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now? You should hang your heads in shame. You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.”
With critics crying antisemitism, Cruz issued a statement to USA Today saying “My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza. I am hopeful all parties can agree to a cease fire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border. I wish for unity, and peace… I believe in a civilization that can be capable of bringing the courage to have a world where humans can live side by side.”
Bardem also responded to critics in a statement published by The Guardian, titled “Plea for Peace”:
My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction.
While I was critical of the Israeli military response, I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses. I am now being labeled by some as anti-Semitic, as is my wife [Penélope Cruz] – which is the antithesis of who we are as human beings. We detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war.
I was raised to be against any act of violence, and the consequent suffering of humanity for it, regardless of religions, ethnicities and borders. Too many innocent Palestinian mothers have lost their children to this conflict. Too many innocent Israeli mothers share the same grief. There should not be any political reason that can justify such enormous pain on both sides. It’s my hope that leaders involved in this complicated struggle will heed the call of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, ‘In the name of humanity, the violence must stop.’
Palestinians and Israelis in the region deserve to have their safety and human rights recognized and respected so in the near future they may find peace and co-existence, for themselves and their innocent children. So generations to come could bring hope, forgiveness and compassion for each other. This is the most basic and necessary way to peace for all of us.
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