In an open letter, some of Spain's biggest film personalities call on EU to condemn Israel's military actions against Gaza.
A group of Spain's biggest film personalities, including Penélope Cruz, Pedro Almodóvar and Javier Bardem, have written an open letter in a Spanish newspaper denouncing Israel's bombing of Gaza.
The letter calls for the EU to "condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip... Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air. Palestinians' homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing."
They lamented the "physical, moral, psychological" effect that the attacks are having on the people of Gaza, and also called for an end to the Israeli blockade that restricts what can be taken across the Gaza border.
It's one of the most strident messages from any global cultural figure regarding the current conflict. During the Jerusalem film festival, a group of Israeli film-makers recently wrote a statement that was actually less partisan than the Spanish collective, saying: "A dialogue must be established, an acknowledgment of the suffering of the other. Today, we want to direct those cameras to the suffering of Gaza residents, men, women and children killed during the last few days."
Javier Bardem, who is married to Cruz, has been outspoken elsewhere in the Spanish media about the conflict. In an op-ed for the newspaper El Diario, he characterised the war as one of "occupation and extermination against a people without means, confined to a minimum of land, without water and where hospitals, ambulances and children are targets and alleged terrorists... In the horror happening right now in Gaza there is no place for distance or neutrality... I cannot understand this barbarism, even more brutal and incomprehensible considering all of the horrible things the Jewish people have gone through in the past."
Aside from the various (often hastily deleted) #FreePalestine tweets from cultural figures, a group including Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Aki Kaurismäki, John Berger, Brian Eno, Roger Waters, Liz Lochhead, Michael Ondaatje and Caryl Churchill recently joined lawyers, politicians and others in calling for "a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid."
Not long after that, the couple released a statement "clarifying" (see:backpedaling) their statements.
The Spanish actor Javier Bardem has released a statement clarifying his position on the current Gaza conflict, after he co-signed an open letter in the Spanish press condemning Israel's actions, which called on the EU to "condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip."
He also wrote his own thoughts in the newspaper El Diario, saying: "I cannot understand this barbarism, even more brutal and incomprehensible considering all of the horrible things the Jewish people have gone through in the past."
In his new statement, headlined 'Plea for Peace', Bardem writes:
My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction.
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 [Penélope Cruz] - 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. There should not be any political reason that can justify such enormous pain on both sides. It's my hope that leaders involved in this complicated struggle will heed the call of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, 'In the name of humanity, the violence must stop.'
Palestinians and Israelis in the region deserve to have their safety and human rights recognized and respected so in the near future they may find peace and co-existence, for themselves and their innocent children. So generations to come could bring hope, forgiveness and compassion for each other. This is the most basic and necessary way to peace for all of us.
It follows a statement by Bardem's wife Penélope Cruz, who also restated her feelings about Israel' actions. "I wish for unity, and peace," she wrote. "I believe in a civilization that can be capable of bringing the courage to have a world where humans can live side by side."
Cruz, Bardem and Almodóvar denounce Israel over Gaza: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/jul/30/penelope-cruz-javier-bardem-pedro-almodovar-israel-palestine-gaza
Javier Bardem clarifies position on Israel and Gaza with 'plea for peace' http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/aug/01/javier-bardem-israel-palestine-gaza-penelope-cruz
I think this is the first time in my generation I've witness such A-list celebrities - damn near "icons" - condemning Israel's crimes. Perhaps Oliver Stone would qualify as well...maybe. The backpedaling is disappointing but not surprising; Hollywood does pay their way after all. Regardless, they've certainly gained my respect; though maybe they've bitten off more then they could chew?