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Hollywood turns on Spanish stars over Gaza open letter

Oscar-winning Spanish actors Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem have been fiercely criticized by Hollywood figures for signing a manifesto calling the Israeli offensive on Gaza “genocide,” according to Spanish daily La Vanguardia. Signed by various personalities of the Spanish film industry, including renowned film director Pedro Almodovar, the open letter condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza has caused a large wave of criticism in Hollywood since it was published by Spanish papers late last month, with both actors being accused of anti-Semitism. Israeli strikes and a ground offensive have killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians over the last month, including hundreds of women and children. Sixty four Israeli soldiers were also killed. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ryan Kavanaugh - CEO of Relativity Media for which Cruz and Bardem work regularly - was the first Hollywood executive to show its discontent about the manifesto. “It makes my blood boil,” Kavanaugh told the weekly on Monday. The producer said that he was not surprised that the manifesto was coming from Spain. “All those Jews who think another Holocaust couldn’t happen should go visit Spain and many parts of Europe,” said Kavanaugh.

The fierce criticism against the actors was followed by Jon Voight, Angelina Jolie’s father, who expressed his anger on Tuesday against the Spanish married couple in an editorial published in US Variety magazine: “I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.”

Jon Voight said both Spanish actors “are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth.” Jon Voigt’s reaction came after both Spanish actors try to soften their position on the war.

According to Spanish daily El Pais, Cruz wrote a letter to the US daily USA Today - a day after the manifesto - in which she admits that she was “not an expert on the situation” and that she was “aware of the complexity of it.”

“My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza,” wrote the Spanish actress, according to El Pais. The newspaper reported that a few days later her husband Bardem did the same in the same newspaper.

The Spanish actor said they “detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war,” reported the Spanish daily. 

Meanwhile, the critics in the U.S. media have no rest. According to Spanish daily La Vanguardia, the US channel Fox qualified Penelope Cruz as “the fool of the week” in its program “The five.”

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