Photo: Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem
Jon Voight, who starred in the 1969 Oscar-winning film “Midnight Cowboy,” ripped Spanish actress Penelope Cruz and actor Javier Bardem for signing a letter critical of Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip.
“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, the father of actress Angelina Jolie, said in a letter published in The Hollywood Reporter.
“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 75-year-old actor said.
Voight was referring to a campaign started by Spanish intellectuals to demand a cease-fire in Gaza.
Bardem and Cruz, who are married, signed the letter, which accused Israel of starting the conflict and having the backing of some of the most powerful countries in the world.
Voight, known as a staunch defender of Israel, blamed the letter for a wave of anti-Semitic protests around the world.
“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,” Voight said.
Bardem and Cruz, both Oscar winners, issued a statement saying that they had been “misunderstood.”
Voight, however, made no reference to the Spanish stars’ statement in his letter.