The Shmooze

Javier Bardem Apologizes For Anti-Israel Letter

By Curt Schleier

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Javier Bardem has joined his wife Penelope Cruz in saying “Oops.”

Bardem, Cruz and Pedro Almodovar were the three most famous Spanish celebs who signed a letter earlier this week calling Israeli operations in Gaza “genocide” against the Palestinians. But as many an NFL referee has said, on further review, Bardem changed his mind.

Yes, while, he said, he was “critical of the Israeli military response,” but meant to say he had “great respect for the people of Israel.” His signature was only “a plea for peace.”

Some thought his remarks anti-Semitic, which is the “antithesis of who we are as human beings.”

Obviously, there’s no way to tell whether Bardem/Cruz just didn’t read the letter before signing it, wanted to jump aboard the growing European Israel bashing wagon or believed the letter’s contents and are just now backing off fearful of a backlash.

In any case, here is his four paragraph statement:

This week, along with a number of artists in my home country of Spain, I spoke out about the conflict in Gaza urging all governments to intervene in this escalating crisis. 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 - 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.”


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