Actor accuses Spanish stars of inciting antisemitism in their recent column and says they ‘should hang their heads in shame’
The war of words in the entertainment industry over Israel’s attack on Gaza has taken a new twist, as actor Jon Voight launched his own fierce criticism of Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem on Saturday in response to the Spanish actors’ outspoken open letter on Wednesday.
In a guest column in the Hollywood Reporter, Voight described Cruz and Bardem as “ignorant” and having “incite[d] antisemitism all over the world”. He also accuses them of having “defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East”.
Voight was responding to a statement signed by Cruz, Bardem, and other notables of the Spanish entertainment industry, including film director Pedro Almodóvar, which accused Israel of “genocide” and demanded the EU condemn “the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip”.
Both Cruz and Bardem subsequently released statements “clarifying” their position, but that did not forestall Voight from making his feelings clear. After summarising his account of Israel’s history, he wrote: “I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of antisemitism that is raging all over the world now?”
Although somewhat over-enthusiastically asserting that the letter’s Spanish signatories were in “America”, he suggests: “You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you live in a democratic country ... do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera?”
Voight concluded his column: “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.”
Voight has a long track record of support for the US radical right, and support for Israel. In 2010 the Washington Times published an open letter from Voight, claiming that Obama had “lied to the Jewish people, and the American people as well”, and adding that he had “put Israel in harm’s way and … promoted antisemitism throughout the world”.
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