It’s even war in Tin­sel­town as stars try out Gaza sound­bites — and get bit­ten

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BYTOMTUGEND

“RULE 1: talk about any­thing in Hol­ly­wood … ex­cept Gaza” read a head­line in the Hol­ly­wood Reporter last week.

In the Jewish Jour­nal of Greater Los An­ge­les, mean­while, entertainment colum­nist Danielle Ber­rin noted that “prom­i­nent entertainment in­dus­try lead­ers, who have raised money for Is­rael and ac­cepted awards from pro-Is­rael or­gan­i­sa­tions in the past, have not been heard from”.

Ms Ber­rin added that Jewish megas­tar Bar­bra Streisand had re­cently “is­sued state­ments on gay mar­riage and cli­mate change…but noth­ing about Gaza”.

The rea­son for this un­char­ac­ter­is­tic si­lence, opined iras­ci­ble comedian Jackie Ma­son (a for­mer rabbi) was that while “Hol­ly­wood is run by Jews,” it is “ig­no­rant” and “stupid” on is­sues in­volv­ing Is­rael.

A more nu­anced in­ter­pre­ta­tion holds that Gaza sit­u­a­tion is so com­plex and volatile, that thought­ful anal­y­sis can­not be re­duced to the usual sound­bite.

The dan­ger of jump­ing in be­fore look­ing was il­lus­trated by ac­tors Pene­lope Cruz and Javier Bar­dem, who joined 100 other Span­ish celebri­ties in sign­ing a vit­ri­olic open let­ter, ac­cus­ing Is­rael of geno­cide and de­mand­ing that the EU step in.

Ms Cruz and Mr Bar­dem were quickly taken to task by vet­eran (non-Jewish) ac­tor Jon Voight, who de­scribed the Spa­niards’ state­ment as “ig­no­rant” of Mid­dle East his­tory and urged them to “hang your heads in shame”.

Star­tled, Ms Cruz “clar­i­fied” her po­si­tion, ac­knowl­edg­ing “she was not an ex­pert on the sit­u­a­tion” but only wanted peace for both Is­rael and Gaza.

Sim­i­larly, pop star Ri­hanna and bas­ket­ball star Dwight Howard, af­ter first join­ing the “Free Pales­tine” tweet­ers, quickly aban­doned them

Per­haps the sound­est ad­vice came from TV ex­ec­u­tive Ken Solomon, whose grand­par­ents lived in Is­rael and who told the Hol­ly­wood Reporter, “I think there is a place for celebri­ties to get in­volved whether it’s the en­vi­ron­ment or so­cial is­sues. But get­ting in­volved in for­eign pol­icy de­bates? It doesn’t make a lot of sense…With all due re­spect to Ri­hanna, un­less she’s been study­ing this, she shouldn’t be talk­ing about it.”

Celebri­ties (don’t) do geopol­i­tics, from left: Bar­dem, Voight, Ri­hanna, Cruz

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