Jon Voight (inset), Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz
Jon Voight thinks that fellow actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz should keep their mouths shut about the situation in the Middle East.
After Bardem and Cruz signed a letter last week condemning Israel's attacks against Gaza, Voight penned a column in The Hollywood Reporter calling the couple "obviously ignorant" and warning that the letter could fan the flames of anti-Semitism.
"I am more than angry, 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," Voight writes in the column.
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In signing the letter, Cruz and Bardem joined dozens of other Spanish actors, directors, writers and musicians in demanding a cease-fire, condemning Israel's "genocide" and calling on the European Union to do the same.
In response to Voight's comments, Bardem and Cruz issued separate statements,THR reports.
"While I was critical of the Israeli military response, I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses," Bardem said in his statement. "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."
Added Bardem: "My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction."
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Cruz echoed his sentiments in a statement of her own. "I'm not an expert on the situation and I'm aware of the complexity of it," Cruz acknowledged. "My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza. I am hopeful all parties can agree to a cease fire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border."
Voight, however, believes the letter was too one-sided.
"I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?" Voight wrote. "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."
The latest round of fighting, which began nearly a month ago, has claimed the lives of about 1,100 Palestinians and 56 Israelis, THR reports.