UPDATE, THURSDAY 3:34 PM PT: Following a statement yesterday by his wife Penelope Cruz, Oscar winner Javier Bardem has weighed in with his own clarification of an open letter to which both were signatories earlier this week regarding the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Bardem says his signature on the controversial letter accusing the Israeli military of “genocide” “was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction.” The letter the couple signed, along with director Pedro Almodovar and other luminaries of the Spanish industry, has made headlines, and in some cases elicited harsh criticism of the filmmakers for their stance.
Said Bardem Thursday (see full text below), “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 – 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.”
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 1:35 PM: Penelope Cruz has issued a statement to clarify the open letter that she, husband Javier Bardem and director Pedro Almodovar signed yesterday, which called for an end to “the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army in the Gaza strip against Palestinian civilians.” The comments were bound to be regarded as incendiary and polarizing, taking sides in a most controversial issue. Today, Cruz explains that her reaction was not motivated by politics as much as humanitarian concerns.