While the world waits for Israel and Palestine to find some semblance of peace, the war has seen international celebrities firmly staking a claim on each side of the border and the word ‘genocide’ being thrown around far too haphazardly at this early stage.
Oscar winner Penelope Cruz and her husband, fellow Academy Award winner and prominent activist Javier Bardem, outspoken author Naomi Wolf and satirical TV host Jon Stewart have all been pro-Palestine, while comedian Joan Rivers, radio shock jock Howard Stern and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ignored a no-fly warning to travel to Israel to show his support, are three high-profile people to come out in defence of Israel’s attack on Gaza.
They get called “fascist,” “right wing,” “criminal,” even “scum” and “vile” by colleagues who they never realized were closet Jew-haters – Israeli website Haaretz
The aforementioned celebrities have an intellectual or personal interest in the debate, whether they are Jewish or not, but the conflict has also seen singers Rihanna, Selena Gomez and One Direction’s Zayn Malik, among many other young stars, have their wrists slapped for tweeting out #FreePalestine and breaking the hearts of their myriad Israeli fans simultaneously.
While there is a plethora of pro-Palestine support, Israeli news website Haaretz went so far to suggest that there was a deathly silence from pro-Israel celebrities on the issue, with many outspoken Israeli supporters being trolled online.
“The result? They get called “fascist,” “right wing,” “criminal,” even “scum” and “vile” by colleagues who they never realized were closet Jew-haters,” the Haaretz article said.
So what are some of the more prominent, and dare I say it smarter, stars saying? Here’s a quick guide.
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem
Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem joined with other Spanish stars in penning an open letter denouncing Israel over the Middle East conflict.
In the letter, published in local Spanish newspapers on Tuesday, they accused Israeli leaders of presiding over a “genocide” and demanded a ceasefire.
The influential comedian and host of The Daily Show has been labelled a “self-hating Jew” for speaking out against Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.
Stewart lambasted war-watchers who said the Palestinian people could simply walk out of Gaza saying: “Evacuate to where? Have you fucking seen Gaza? Israel blocked this border, Egypt blocked this border. What, are you supposed to swim for it?”
The next week he posted the above video.
The Jewish author denounced her religion after the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza failed to rate a mention at her New York synagogue, which she walked out of in protest. She has since been prolifically posting pro-Gaza statements on her social media accounts.
— Naomi Wolf (@naomirwolf) July 29, 2014
Rivers hit out at the pro-Palestinian media coverage, in an interview with gossip website TMZ, saying the BBC “should be ashamed of themselves.”
Things took a bad turn for her though when she compared Gaza and Israel to New York and New Jersey.
“If New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe them out,” she said.
The New York DJ and America’s Got Talent judge slammed a caller on his radio show who blamed Israel for the current conflict.
“I’m so tired of the bullshit. If you’re anti-Israel then you’re anti-America. It’s the only democracy over there, it’s the only friend we have who’s willing to fight and stand up for what’s right,” Stern said.
The Jewish comedian and Masters of Sex TV star has been criticised for not weighing into the debate. Instead she posted the following tweet:
Whaddayasay we have y’all’s Gods fight it out & keep the children out of it, sound good?
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) July 26, 2014
Pop svengali Simon Cowell reportedly opened his wallet to the tune of $US150,000 ($A162,290) for an Israeli soldiers’ charity at a Los Angeles fund-raiser last year.
Cowell, a polarising figure at the best of times, hasn’t commented – but ironically, it was his smash hit British talent show The X Factor that in 2010 unearthed a promising boy band named One Direction.