For These Reasons, the Palestinian Cause Is Gaining New Sympathizers From Celebrities and Influencers
2022/01/19| | Murad Jandali | تقارير
“Criticizing the Israeli occupation and its racism against the Palestinian people does not mean harming Jews and anti-Semitism.”
The Guardian reported on January 13, 2022, that dozens of prominent figures from the world of cinema, including Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo, Peter Capaldi and Charles Dance, issued a joint statement in support of the rights of the Palestinian people, describing the Israeli occupation as an apartheid regime.
Observers believe that “Hollywood, which had completely ignored the injustice and oppression that the Palestinian people are subjected to at the hands of the Israeli occupation, has finally rid itself of the Zionist influence.”
Whereas, several years ago, showing support for the Palestinian cause worried some artists and Hollywood celebrities from being prosecuted on charges of anti-Semitism, in addition to the reactions of production companies and their lack of opportunities to appear.
Artists for Palestine
49 Hollywood celebrities signed a letter published by Artists for Palestine UK on January 13, 2022, in support of actress and human rights activist Emma Watson (31 years), who recently faced a severe criticism campaign by Israeli officials because of her publication in which she expressed solidarity with the Palestinians.
The list of famous artists who signed the letter of solidarity with the Palestinian people includes famous and great stars, like: Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo, Gael Garcia Bernal, Peter Capaldi, Maxine Beck, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Coogan, Charles Dance, Harriet Walter, Miriam Margolyes and Julie Christie.
Other signatories include screenwriter and producer James Schamus and directors Asif Kapadia, Mira Nair and Ken Loach.
The great artists announced their solidarity with what was published by Watson on her Instagram account on January 3, 2022, in which she called for solidarity with the Palestinian people, attached with a photo of a demonstration in which the Palestinian flags were raised.
In their letter, the artists said: “We join Emma Watson in meaningful solidarity with Palestinians who are fighting for their human rights under international law. We oppose injustice anywhere in the world and stand with all who seek to end oppression.”
“There is an imbalance of potential power between Israel as an occupying power and the Palestinians as a people subject to a regime of military occupation, apartheid and oppression, this was described by Human Rights Watch, B'Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, and Palestinian and international human rights experts,” the artists saw.
The artists said in their letter that they condemn all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, indicating that criticism of the Israeli occupation and its policies, and acknowledgment of the way Palestinian rights are routinely trampled on, is not anti-Semitic.
“Opposition to a political system or policy is different from intolerance, hatred and discrimination that targets any group of people on the basis of their identity,” the letter noted.
“We stand against the continuous Israeli attempts to forcibly displace Palestinian families from their homes in East al-Quds [Jerusalem] neighborhoods, such as Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and other places in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the letter added.
It is reported that Emma Watson was subjected to severe criticism from Israeli officials as a result of her position on the Palestinian issue.
Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, and Danny Danon, head of global operations for the right-wing Israeli Likud party, condemned the British star's statements and accused her of anti-Semitism.
Several years ago, Hollywood, the institution of the American film industry, insisted on siding with the Israeli occupation, and showing the Palestinian as a terrorist, and the Israeli as the intelligent, humane, light-hearted and witty.
However, with the increasing influence of social media platforms, the movements in solidarity with the oppressed continued to achieve many victories in the human rights and social fields, this forced the Hollywood to change its status and its tendency to support human rights, including the rights of the Palestinian people.
Support for the Palestinians is no longer as it was shyly, the opposite has become true, to the extent that an Israeli actress such as Gal Gadot has become compelled to soften her speech of support for "Israel," to which she belongs, compared to the tone of her previous remarks.
The usual reputation for Hollywood has been Jewish domination and overwhelming, unconditional sympathy for "Israel," but the Palestinian cause has recently begun to gain new sympathizers for several reasons.
On these reasons, Palestinian journalist Mohamed al-Zanin confirmed in a statement to Al-Estiklal that: “With the escalation of the crimes of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinians and defenseless civilians, the Palestinian cause has become far from the logic of neutrality, the oppressor became exposed and the oppressed became known.”
“Many famous figures are now being asked by their supporters and followers to take a stand on the cause, the time of silence and neutrality is over, and it is necessary to take a humane stance,” he added.
“The main reason for gaining new sympathizers with the Palestinian cause is a result of the cumulative and serious work over the years of a wide network of institutions and individuals working to advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people and exposing the violations of the Israeli occupation in all cities of the world and in international events, festivals and forums,” al-Zanin continued.
“Talking about the Palestinian cause and adopting its defense in the speeches and positions of influential political and parliamentary figures, especially through their accounts on social media, has also gained the cause new sympathizers; like the two US congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar in the West, and Kuwaiti National Assembly Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim in the Arab regions,” the Palestinian journalist added.
“The stereotyped image of the Palestinian-Israeli situation as a conflict between two societies in the Middle East, which used to reach the Western society, has changed during the past years due to the developments of the world through the revolution of social communication. The Palestinian activist became able to communicate with any official or figure and conveyed the suffering of the Palestinians and the violations of the Israelis,” al-Zanin noted.
When comparing what is happening today with what happened in 2014, when Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, her husband Javier Bardem, and 70 Spanish artists signed an open letter calling the Israeli attack on Gaza a "genocide," many studios in Hollywood announced stopping dealing with any of them in the future, and the issuance of another letter in support of the Israeli occupation, which was signed at the time by nearly 200 of the largest producers and actors in Hollywood, among them: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Aaron Sorkin, Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman.
Regarding this, al-Zanin explained that “the term anti-Semitism has become loose and widely used in recent years by the Zionist lobby in Western society, to silence any voice that supports the freedom of the Palestinians and their right to freedom and life. However, recently the logic and the argument have become stronger than these repeated accusations by the Israeli occupation authorities.”
According to observers, the significance of the recent uprising of Hollywood stars is that they emphasized that criticism of the Israeli occupation and its racism towards the Palestinian people does not mean in any way harm to the Jews and anti-Semitism, because not all Jews are Zionists, and the inhuman Israeli practices may be reflected on any Jew in the world.
Gain New Sympathizers
Solidarity with the Palestinian cause did not stop at the borders of street protests only, rather, it spread to resonate on social media platforms.
In the recent period, many Hollywood stars, celebrities, social influencers and artists with accounts of millions of followers have demonstrated solidarity with the rights of the Palestinian people.
In May 2021, a number of artists and Hollywood celebrities joined in solidarity with the Palestinians, especially after the events of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied al-Quds (Jerusalem), from which the Israeli occupation aims to displace Palestinian families, the replacement of settlers, and the subsequent Israeli bombing of Gaza and the West Bank.
Among the most prominent were: Idris Elba, John Cusack, Michael B. Jordan, Annie Marie, Jon Stewart, Selena Gomez and Rihanna, in addition to a number of influencers of Arab origin, including: Palestinian models Bella and Gigi Hadid, Mena Massoud and Ramy Youssef.
Oscar-winning American actress Viola Davis and American-Israeli actress Natalie Portman, British actress Lena Headey, who played “Queen Cersei” in the series Game of Thrones, Palestinian film and television director Alexandra Mireille, and the writer of the Harry Potter series of novels, J. K. Rowling also participated in the global solidarity campaign with the people of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
In November 2021, more than 100 foreign celebrities signed an open letter criticizing the Israeli occupation's decision to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist.
Among them, Hollywood stars: Richard Gere, Claire Foy, Tilda Swinton and Susan Sarandon, as well as director Ken Loach, musician Jarvis Cocker and the band Massive Attack, as well as writers Philip Pullman, Colm Tobin and Irvine Welch.
On his part, Palestinian journalist Iyad Hamad said in a statement to Al-Estiklal: “This solidarity that the Palestinian cause is witnessing by Western peoples now is not considered new or a product of the moment, or limited to celebrities and artists, rather, it is old and has taken many forms, and included many influencers in various fields.
“However, Western solidarity activity with Palestine has witnessed a significant escalation in recent times, after the occupation authorities committed dozens of violations against human values and international laws. This prompted many Western celebrities and influencers to escalate their criticism of the Israeli occupation and intensifying their solidarity with the Palestinian people and raising awareness about their cause,” he added.
“The manifestations of the Israeli occupation of Palestine became clear 70 years after the start of this cause, such as displacement, killing, and the siege of Gaza, in addition, some of these celebrities are conscientious who stand against human rights violations wherever they occur. Therefore, they cannot stand in solidarity with human rights issues worldwide and ignore the violations committed by an occupying armed entity against defenseless civilians,” the Palestinian journalist emphasized.
“Whoever conveyed the suffering of the people in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in the occupied al-Quds and explained their conditions and the occupation’s efforts to displace them from their land in the American and international platforms is what helped to a great extent in gaining new sympathizers with the Palestinian cause, given that it revealed the true picture of the 'Palestinian–Israeli conflict,'” Hamad noted.
It is noteworthy that the solidarity of Western celebrities and influencers with the Palestinian cause is a response to the Zionist propaganda in Western countries, which narrates a different narrative of events in Palestine in a way that shows the Israeli occupation as the victim.