The brutal conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has moved several high profile actors and filmmakers to voice their opinions in support of one side or the other. The latest is Jon Voight, who attacks Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz for signing a letter accusing the Israeli military of genocide.
In response to the strongly-worded July 29 letter signed by Bardem, Cruz and Pedro Almodovar, among others and published in a Spanish newspaper, Voight blasted the actors this morning with his own Open letter saying they have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel (Bardem and Cruz later clarified their statements this week).
A longtime, outspoken supporter of Israel, Voight wrote that Bardem and Cruz should “hang their heads in shame” over their shortsightedness with the country’s situation, arguing that they “incited anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage that they have caused.”
When asked by Deadline this morning to expand on his op-ed, Voight said, “The letter says everything I need to say and I don’t want to diffuse what the words say in the letter.”
Voight wrote that Israel has always sought peaceful relations with its Arab neighbors, returning the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt and giving Gaza to the Palestinians as a peace gesture: “What was the response? The Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, and they immediately began firing thousands of rockets into Israel.”
“I am asking 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 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,” said the Oscar-winning actor in his letter.
Voight’s daughter Angelina Jolie, speaking to a U.K. film trade a few days ago, had this to say about the Gaza situation: “I force myself to watch these news programs and to read the papers, but it hurts, and it’s so deeply sad because there doesn’t seem to be an answer for what we can do…If I knew what I could do or what I could say, to in some way to bring an end to this conflict or help with the cease fire, I would do it in a moment.”
Voight was recently nominated for a Primetime Emmy in the best supporting actor drama series category for his work as ex-con Mickey Donovan in Showtime’s Ray Donovan. On the eve of the series’ season 2 debut, Voight used an appearance on Fox News Channel’s Huckabee to take aim at President Obama’s Middle East policy. “Three young teens have been killed mercilessly and hundreds of rockets are being fired at Israel’s civilian population,.” he said. “Obama promised Prime Minster Netanyahu, ‘America is your ally and we will cover your back.’ So, why does he continue to send billions to the Palestinian Authority who have recently allied themselves with Hamas, an acknowledged terrorist organization and who are responsible for these crimes? Is that covering his back?”