About 10 days ago, Penelope Cruz and her husband, Javier Bardem, signed a public letter in Spain along with prominent Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and other Spanish directors and actors accusing Israel of “genocide” and “extermination.”
Some excerpts (unofficial translation from the Spanish):
“There is no distance or neutrality that can be justified in the horror taking place in Gaza at this time. It is a war of occupation and extermination.”
“The West standing and allowing such genocide is shameless. I do not understand this barbarism, and considering the Jewish people’s background, this cruelty is even less comprehensible.”
“I want to clarify certain issues: Yes, my son was born in a Jewish hospital; I have close, dear friends who are Jewish. Because someone is a Jew does not mean he supports this massacre, just as being a Hebrew does not make you a Zionist, and being a Palestinian does not make you a Hamas terrorist. That is as absurd as saying that being German makes you a Nazi.”
After receiving some blowback, Cruz and Bardem released a statement as moronic and even more fatuous than their original statement.
Bardem: “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.
“I was raised to be against any act of violence.”
On the meaningless-response scale, Cruz actually outdid her husband:
“I don’t want to be misunderstood on this important subject. I’m not an expert on the situation and I’m aware of the complexity of it. My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza.”
One will notice that neither Cruz nor Bardem retracted their charges of genocide, extermination or Zionists as Nazis.
There were, however, two true sentences in their follow-up statements.
Bardem undoubtedly was “raised to be against any act of violence.” Raised in Spain as a leftist, that is exactly what he was raised to believe. That violence can never be moral is one of the many moral idiocies that almost all Europeans have been raised to believe.
The other truth was Cruz’s statement that she is “not an expert on the situation.”
But if she doesn’t understand the situation, why did she sign that vile letter against Israel?
There are two possible reasons: One is that she simply did what her left-wing husband asked her to do. The other is that Cruz, like so many celebrities, thinks that fame makes one smart.
Let’s make something clear: The charge of genocide against Israel is morally and factually identical to the medieval blood libel — the claim that Jews slaughtered Christian children in order to use their blood for making matzah.
This modern equivalent should henceforth be known as the genocide libel. And for the record, let it be noted that (A.) the Palestinian population has quintupled since Israel came into existence and doubled since 1990; and (B.) the Cruz-Bardem-Almodovar charge has thoroughly cheapened the real genocides of the Jews, Ukrainians, Chinese, Cambodians, Tutsis and others. These other communities, too, should be livid.
Every Jew and every decent non-Jew should regard Cruz, Bardem, Almodovar and the other signatories with the same contempt that is directed at medieval Christians who charged Jews with the blood libel and at contemporary Holocaust deniers. They are on the identical moral plane.
For that reason, if Cruz, Bardem or Almodovar were ever to enter a room in which I was present, I would leave.
I ask everyone in Hollywood to do the same. However, with only two exceptions of which I am aware, not one Hollywood actor or director has said a word against Cruz and Bardem. Not a word from Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Harvey Weinstein, Norman Lear or anyone else.
The two exceptions are that wonderful man and actor Jon Voight and Relativity Media CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. Both condemned Cruz and Bardem in the strongest terms.
Cruz, Bardem and Almodovar have done real damage to the Jewish state and to the Jewish people. The issue is not whether Cruz, Bardem or Almodovar are anti-Semites. Of course they have Jewish friends and don’t hate Jews per se. The issue is that of all the countries in the world, they singled out — to a worldwide audience — the one Jewish state (and the only one that must fight to stay alive) to libel with the most vicious charge that one can direct against a nation. And they equated “Zionist” with “Hamas” and with “Nazi.” They are not anti-Semites, but those words are anti-Semitic.
Cruz, Bardem and Almodovar should retract their charges completely, explain why, visit Israel and condemn Hamas as the genocidal party. They won’t, of course. Because they are too self-important, too morally confused and too shallow to understand the damage they have wrought.
There is only one thing more troubling: the almost complete silence of the rest of Hollywood. The left-wing dominance of Hollywood has truly rendered it a moral desert. That is why Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem will remain in good standing. After all, they do oppose carbon emissions.
Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host (AM 870 in Los Angeles) and founder of PragerUniversity.com. His latest book is the New York Times best-seller “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph” (HarperCollins, 2012).