Those denouncing Israel include Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Pedro Almodovar, Lola Herrara, Eduardo Noriega, Rosa Maria Sarda, Montxo Armendariz, Benito Zambrano, Amaral & Nacho Campillo as well as dozens more Spanish actors, directors, musicians and writers. In an open letter, they describe Israel’s actions as genocide and call upon the EU to condemn Israel’s bombing of Palestinian civilians that is occurring in the Gaza Strip. The letter also demanded a cease-fire from the Israeli military, and a removal of the blockade that has been in place over the Gaza Strip for more than a decade. The letter places the blame for the recent eruption of violence in the Middle East on Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Javier Bardem is not only an actor, but also a political activist, who frequently voices his opinions on controversial, political issues. Bardem is married to actress Penelope Cruz and the two are good friends with actor Pedro Almodovar.
But not everyone in Hollywood is denouncing Israel. Actor Jon Voight, recently fired back at his peers in a column in the Hollywood Reporter. Voight said he was both angry and heartsick over the actions of his colleagues. Voight described his peers as being “oblivious to the damage they have caused.” I think Voight may have really hit on something here. I don’t know if these celebrities don’t realize they sway that they hold over their fan base, many of whom lift them up to a status, often equal with God, and will accept anything they say as fact, or if they do realize they sway they hold, and are exploiting it. I think that is something that depends on the individual. But if it is that they just don’t realize the influence they have then Voight really hit the nail on the head, so to speak, when he described them as “oblivious to the damage they have caused.”
“They are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth…” says Voight. Despite being consistently under attack from the Arabs, Israel has always strived for peaceful relations with the Arabs. After years of suicide bombings, civilians being killed in their sleep or stabbed to pieces, Israel is finally retaliating. Voight condemns his peers for condemning rather than supporting the only democratic country in the region.
Celebrities in particular should understand the value of living in a democratic country. Voight asks his peers to examine their motives for signing the letter. “You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America. Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera? You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.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,” says Voight.
Voight is not the only celebrity to voice support of Israel. On TMZ, Joan Rivers says that BBC and CNN should be ashamed of themselves and voices her support of Israel. I wonder how many celebrities support Israel, yet have not made their opinions public.