General News

Javier Bardem clarifies Middle East conflict letter

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Jul 31, 2014 | 5:11pm EDT

Javier Bardem has joined wife Penelope Cruz in clarifying his position on the hostilities in the Middle East after signing an open letter denouncing Israeli military action in Gaza. The Spanish actor, along with Cruz and director pal Pedro Almodovar, added their names to the missive, which hit the headlines earlier this week (29Jul14), and on Wednesday (30Jul14) Cruz followed-up on her decision to speak out about the tense situation, insisting her only intention in releasing the letter was to "hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza". On Thursday (31Jul14), her husband followed in her footsteps by releasing his own statement on why he decided to give his opinion on international politics. In the statement, released to JustJared.com, Bardem writes, "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 critical of 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." He continues, "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." The trio's original letter was featured in Spain's Comunicado de la Cultura Contra el Genocidio Palestino, and was circulated among Spanish media outlets. Their statement suggested Israel's actions were nothing short of a "genocide", and urged European Union officials to condemn "the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip."

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