Days after Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz were among a group of Spanish filmmakers to sign an open letter condemning Israel's actions in Gaza, actor Jon Voight has written that the note "could incite anti-Semitism all over the world."
Voight, who is Angelina Jolie's father, wrote his letter for The Hollywood Reporter.
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?
You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America. Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera? You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.
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.
Bardem and Cruz were both born in Spain, and are among the country's biggest movie stars. They married in 2010.
"Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air," read the original letter the couple signed, this according to a translation provided by The Hollywood Reporter. "Palestinians' homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing." The full letter, which carried the headline "[Pedro] Almodóvar, Penelope Cruz and Bardem denounce Israeli 'genocide' in Gaza," was published by Europa Press.
"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 wrote in a statement that The Hollywood Reporter published before its letter from Voight. "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."
Voight isn't the only person who was upset with the open letter: Israeli actress Noa Tishby also took issue with Bardem and Cruz in an op-ed she wrote for The Jewish Journal titled "Artists without boarders. Or facts."