Jewish Journal

The end of innocence: An Open Letter to Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz

by Dan Gordon, Capt. IDF (Res)

August 4, 2014 | 10:48 am

Dear Javier and Penelope,

I'm not picking on you . Honestly. As I've repeatedly said , no one has more admiration both for your talent and your humanity than I do. But also, as I stated in my last missive, you , through you very humanity, through your natural empathy with people who are suffering, and your rage at those whom you believe to be the cause of their suffering.have become unwitting, and I believe unwilling, useful innocents, of a murderous terrorist army which sacrifices the Palestinian people of Gaza on the alter of their own political greed. And all the while, they  rain down missiles from the skies, and terror from below, in the form of terrorist tunnel attacks, against the innocent people of Israel.

But as of yesterday your innocence ended.

There is no longer any excuse for abetting murder.

I am not saying abandon your criticism of Israel, though I'll be happy to engage you in dialogue about that any day of the week, and where I find that criticism justified, I'll join you . 

,And that's not a Hollywood offer.

I am writing this missive, as I did , yesterday's, purposefully not in uniform, in T shirt and cargo pants. Neither as a soldier nor a civilian volunteer . But, like you, I write this as a a person of the Cinema, of the theater, and of literature. We three are of the same tribe, though , as I said before I worship often at the alter of your talent and artistic integrity.

In the several letters you signed , Javier, and in both your subsequent clarifications, you made eloquent pleas for the end of the violence and killing, and the suffering of the Palestinian people. You empathized with grieving Palestinian and Israeli mothers and made the plea that artists are always the first to make; for peace, an end to the agony of war  and a desire for the dawn of a new day in which mothers will not have to weep over the graves of their children.

No heart resonated more to the last part of your message than mine. I have wept over the grave of my first born son. I am a brother to every grieving parent on earth. We belong to an awful club and only we understand the pain of a parent who outlives their child. 

My friends, Hamas, is not the free and democratically elected government of Gaza.  

It is  a terrorist organization which seized power in Gaza, not from Israel , but from The Palestinian Authority in a blood thirsty coup,in which hundreds were killed and wounded, and thousands were terrorized, while all the " Useful Innocents" of the world were too busy with other things  to utter a word of protest for the suffering of innocent Palestinians. 

Hamas has repeatedly rejected every cease fire proposal and/ or humanitarian pause, since this war of their design and making, began with the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli school boys on their way home from school.

But several days ago there seemed to be a turning point. 

Suddenly Hamas was requesting a cease fire. 

Miraculously almost, Hamas accepted the very Egyptian cease fire proposal which was endorsed by the Arab League and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas two weeks ago, and which Israel had accepted immediately and unconditionally.  

Hamas, then, made clear its rejection of that cease fire proposal by launching a murderous barrage of rocket attacks against Israeli cities, and by attempting to kill , maim and kidnap scores of Israeli men women and especially children, in a terrorist tunnel attack against an Israeli farming village, which thanks to a merciful G-d and the IDF was foiled.

 Now however, in an about face ,Hamas was requesting the very cease fire they had previously rejected in such a murderous fashion. 

And suddenly there was hope! 

Ban Ki Moon had asked for an initial 72 hour " Humanitarian Cease fire" during which time the Palestinians of every faction , including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and a delegation from Israel, would meet in Cairo.

In the words of Secretary of State John Kerry" ..As soon as the cease fire is under way..Egypt will issue invitations to the parties to come to Cairo immediately in order to engage in serious and focussed negotiations with Egypt to address the underlying causes of this conflict." 

How happy you and Penelope must have been! 

I say that without a whiff of sarcasm, because I was finally looking forward to a day without being under rocket or mortar fire ,six times a day, of not seeing a teenager have his head half blown off by shrapnel from a mortar round fired at a civilian community, which narrowly missed me, but ripped into his skull.  

I had hope of seeing my children and grandson again, of hugging and kissing them and saying , the war is over!

There was real hope that the killing, at least for now was about to end, and as Secretary Kerry said, " The underlying causes of the conflict" would be discussed " in serious and focussed negotiations". 

Finally the bullets would stop flying, the bombs and rockets and mortar rounds would stop hurling death from the skies.My friends in the south of Israel would no longer live in fear of terrorists coming up, literally in their dining halls or front lawns, armed to the teeth and bent on murdering them and their children.

 And the suffering, poor Palestinian people of Gaza, would find respite.

As both President Obama and Secretary Kerry made clear in statements filled with ill concealed outrage, at the manner in which they were so clearly used and duped by Hamas, both men made clear that they had received solid assurances from Hamas that ALL of it's factions had agreed to lay down their weapons and honor the cease fire. 

They made equally clear that, while Israeli Forces would also cease any fire, the IDF  would be free to continue destroying the terrorist tunnels burrowed beneath our borders for the sole purposes of murdering and kidnapping innocent Israeli civilians, for whom I know you have the same compassion as you do for innocent Palestinians civilians. 

Hamas gave its word that would be the case, and assured President Obama, Secretary Kerry, Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations and the entire international community, that they would abide by the cease fire which would begin at 8:00 a.m. the following morning.

In addition Secretary Kerry made clear that he had received like assurances from both the Qatari and Turkish governments on behalf of Hamas and all the Palestinian " Resistance " factions that the cease fire, and all it's provisions,  would be honored. 

As writers, directors, and actors, how happy we all had reason to be!  

The sword of death , which had claimed so many innocent lives, was to be sheathed , at least for 72 hours! And in those 72 hours, every issue that Hamas and all it's factions wanted to raise, including the lifting of the so called siege, opening borders, building a commercial port, freeing prisoners, free movement of goods, improving the lives of their poor, suffering people, would not only be raised,  but discussed in " serious and focussed negotiations." 

The US, The UN, the Egyptians, Qataris and Turks, indeed,the whole international community, to whom you had appealed in your letter, would see to it!


In fact in the annals of modern history, only Hitler's betrayal of Soviet Russia is it's equal.

It was all a scam, a hustle, a con job, and we all fell for it! 

It was meant for one thing and one thing only; to lure Israeli forces in to the tunnel entrances. 

Those were the same tunnels which the government of the United States, backed up by the UN, assured us that Hamas, and all its factions had agreed to allow us to continue destroying.  

Barely ninety minutes into the supposed cease fire, ten terrorists poured out of one of those supposedly " safe " tunnels" .

The first was the attack squad , led by a suicide bomber who immediately detonated his belt and killed two Israeli soldiers, Major Benaya Sarel ( 26) and Sgt Liel Gidoni. 

That was then followed up by the kidnapping squad, which snatched Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, and dragged his wounded or dead body back into the tunnel, and made their escape.

Javier, Penelope, it was all BS, meant to lure Israeli soldiers into a trap!  

And it was carried out under a white flag of truce! 

It's the sole purpose of the supposed cease fire, was  to kill and maim and kidnap another Gilad Shalit so Hamas could proclaim a Divine Victory, have a photo op that they hoped would make their own people forget the misery they have so callously, and consciously, brought down upon them. 

And you and I, and the President of The United States, and The Secretary of State of the United States ,and the Secretary General of the UN, all of us..we  were all the useful innocents who bought into Hamas's treachery, because WE wanted peace.

You were used! You were chumps, suckers, marks!  They used your humanity to murder for a photo op!

And they didn't just kill Israeli soldiers, they killed the cease fire.

 They killed hope. 

And along with it, I pray to G-d they killed off any illusions you may have had about them.  

At first they even bragged about it ! Musa Abu Marzuk, a leader of Hamas in Cairo for the supposed peace talks, confirmed the kidnapping and then tried to JUSTIFY it by claiming it  occurred prior to the cease fire taking effect, and thus, was fair game. 

How stupid does he think you and Penelope and I are?! 

There is no way Israel would have allowed a cease fire to go into effect, as they did at 8:00 a.m. if , prior to that, two of our soldiers had been killed and one kidnapped! We would have done, exactly what we did, reacted immediately with heavy bombardment of any escape routes to hopefully prevent the terrorists from disappearing with Hadar into the snake pit of underground, terrorist Gaza.

Then, when the outrage of the President ,and Secretary of State, and Secretary General of the UN, became apparent, Hamas did an amazing about face.  

Their own spokesman was mistaken or lying!  

They had lost contact with all cells in the area and if someone had kidnapped the Israeli soldier, they could neither confirm nor deny it!

 Like Hitler in the Sudetenland, they were blameless!

You know why we take these things so personally in Israel? Because we're all one family who shoulder the awful burden of terrorism equally. Hadar Goldin, the young soldier who was kidnapped, is the nephew of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.  

It's not business for us. It's personal. 

Well, whattaya gonna do huh?

That's life, right?

No,it isn't . And there is something you can do, as can all those who have been asking, " What can I do to help bring about peace?". 

But you're more than just anybody. 

You're famous.  

You have a voice. When you speak it makes news. 

That's why you signed your original letters and clarifications of those letters. Because you knew that it would get out there.

You knew, and know, that unlike most of us, your voices will be heard.

You are innocents no more, my dear friends and fellow artists. 

You've been used, but the innocent part is dead and buried. 

Now you have an obligation to speak out just as forcefully, if not more so, than you did before.

Now is the time for you to organize your fellow artists and DEMAND that Hamas announce that it will agree to demilitarize Gaza in return for a Marshall plan, to truly end their people's suffering,  and allow them to live in peace.  

If you want to stick in a guarantee that, in return for laying down their weapons, under international supervision, Israel commits itself to cease any attacks against them, do it! I'll sign it with you! 

But there has to be international supervision of their borders  and inspections,to make sure they don't re arm, to make sure that the cement goes to build hospitals and schools, and prenatal clinics, not terrorist tunnels meant to murder my people. 

They can have peace and prosperity, not only an end to suffering. 

The international community can help them build Paradise on earth. 

They can become the Singapore of the Middle East with your help. And they don't have to renounce a two state solution or a just resolution of refugee issues. 

They simply have to renounce violence. 

They simply have to adopt the same stance  of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas 

They have to renounce violence, abide by the Oslo accords, and strive for the independence of their people. 

Then, to paraphrase the words of the late Abba Eban, they should be prepared to be amazed at how wonderful their lives will become. 

I remember when everyone said there could be no peace between Egypt and Israel.  

We had just fought a horrific war with almost three thousand dead soldiers on our side alone in three weeks! And yet when the late President Anwar Sadat, announced he was coming to Jerusalem to make peace, Israeli families, mine amongst them, rushed to our gardens, pulled up all the flowers in them and rushed to the highway to strew them in front of his motorcade. 

He later said ,that when he saw that, he knew that peace was possible.

 He came to Jerusalem and said, no more war!  



Of course , Hamas's parent organization, The Muslim Brotherhood, then assassinated Anwar Sadat for his treachery. 

 But then, you're no longer innocents. You know who you're dealing with.

I know that what I'm asking will be hard for you. There will be many amongst your friends who will say you are somehow betraying some sort of cause by denouncing terrorists who duped you, and proposing something that will actually relieve the suffering of the people of Gaza, rather than simply mouth useless slogans, that, I know you will be seen as deserters of a cause I promise you,  is unworthy of your loyalty.  

But you can do it.

 You're brave people. 

You may think I'm dreaming. But I'm not the only one.  

I hope you join us..

There's a wonderful poem , written in World War Two I believe. It was written by Eve Merriam .

It's title is The Coward.

You, weeping wide at war, weep with me now.

Cheating a little at  peace, come near

And let us cheat together here

Look at my guilt, mirror of my shame.

Deserter, I will not turn you in;'

I am your trembling twin! 

Afraid, our double knees lock in knocking


Returning from the guns we stumble upon

each other. 

Hide in my lap of terror: I am your mother. 

Only we two, and yet our howling can

Encircle the world's end.

Frightened, you are my only friend. 

And frightened, we are everyone.

Someone must take a stand.

Coward, take my coward's hand.

Dan Gordon

Screenwriter, playwright, novelist




human being

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Dan Gordon is a writer in Los Angeles as well as a reserve Captain in the IDF.

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