Mason and Voight responded to an open letter co-signed by Bardem and Cruz criticising Israeli tactics
Hollywood celebrities have never been ones to shy away from getting involved with foreign policy and world affairs, and the current bloodshed in Gaza is stirring similar bouts of activism from the great and good in the movie industry.
Following Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem’s signatures to an open letter published in El Diario last week condemning Israel’s military actions, comedian Jackie Mason has criticised those celebrities who are blaming Israel for the crisis.
Mason told Fox411 “How come there was no disagreement anywhere in the world by celebrities after the attacks on September 11th, when we decided to take action against Al Qaeda and the Taliban for unprovoked attacks on innocent people?... …Can you imagine how furious these celebrities would be if we were being attacked by thousands of missiles, killing innocent people hundreds of times. Would anybody question our military for taking every conceivable action to put a stop to it?”
While Mason attacked on grounds of logic, actor and Republican supporter Jon Voight also joined in by citing the history of the formation of the Israeli state when writing an open letter of his own, published in Variety magazine. The letter went on to slam Cruz and Bardem personally, saying “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”.
This came after Cruz and Bardem had put their names to a letter calling for the EU to condemn the Israeli air, sea and land response. Though both have refused to comment directly to any specific news outlets, they each released a statement backtracking from the letter.
Time and again, the Israel-Hamas conflict proves to be highly emotive and deeply complex issue. Just last week, Zayn Malik of One Direction split opinions and upset Israeli fans of the band by tweeting #FreePalestine.
Any celebrity making statements on this matter will almost inevitably attract a barrage of rebuke from the other side, particularly as this is not an issue that anybody can condense down into slogans and soundbites of 140 characters or fewer.