Javier Bardem Clarifies His Israel Criticisms

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A few days ago, Spanish superstars Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz took a break from talking jamón to talk about Hamas, saying in part:

The horror is happening in Gaza should be NO neutrality or equidistance. It is a war of occupation and extermination against a people without means… Difficult to understand and impossible to justify … such genocide.

Matt Lieb brought you this news, along with his own conflicted feelings about the conflict in a place he once got to travel to for free and score with Jewish chicks (damn my lack of Hebrew ancestry). As a result of that post, in the past few days, I’ve gotten more “I’m never reading your blog again” emails than in the last three years combined. Someone even called someone a “Zionist baby killer” in the Facebook thread. Jon Stewart describes the process of trying to talk about Israel pretty much perfectly in the above video. Who knew it was such a contentious issue!

It sounds like Javier Bardem’s week went much the same, as he is now backpedaling from his initial statement, saying in part “I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses.”

Nice. Good save, bro. “Haha, did I say genocide? What I meant was, killing is bad and San Dimas High School Football rules! Go Surfdogs!”

You can read the entire letter below. He should’ve known better. Me, I have a standard response I like to use whenever pressed for an opinion on the Israel-Palestine conflict:

Javier Bardem

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 criticalof 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. [via Variety]

Yep, let’s get the UN involved, they’re great at solving stuff and keeping people from getting killed.