- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 3, 2014

Actor Jon Voight tore into fellow Oscar winners Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem on Saturday, saying they should “hang [their] heads in shame” for signing an open-letter denouncing Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Mrs. Cruz and Mr. Bardem, who are married, are among several Spanish actors who signed a letter calling Israel’s actions “genocide” and demanding for the EU to “condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip.”

Mr. Voight, father of actress Angelina Jolie, said he is “heartsick” that Mrs. Cruz and Mr. Bardem “could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.”

“Israel has always labored for a peaceful relation with its Arab neighbors,” he wrote in an open letter published Saturday. “It voluntarily returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in return for peace, and gave the Palestinians all of Gaza as a peace gesture. What was the response? The Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, and they immediately began firing thousands of rockets into Israel.”

“You have forgotten how this war started. Did Hamas not kidnap and kill three young teenagers for the sake of killing, and celebrated after the killing? What a travesty of justice,” Mr. Voight continued.

“You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America,” he said. “Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera? You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.”

“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,” Mr. Voight concluded.

The actors who signed the letter last week were severely criticized in social media and forced to issue clarifying statements in the following days. Mrs. Cruz said Wednesday that she is “not an expert on the situation” and that she only wishes for peace, USA Today reported.

A day later, Mr. Bardem said in a statement: “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,” USA Today reported.