Artists across many platforms support the Palestinians

by B. R. GOWANI

VIDEO/Radiant Reflection/Youtube

Everything such as “democracy,” “human rights,” “free speech,” “freedom of the press,” and so on work fine in the Western world when things are smooth and there is no need to take sides. However, when things go wrong, and they do with alarming frequency these days, Western leaders become unmasked. As Ethel Annakin said over a hundred years ago, “truth is the first casualty of warfare.” This is true for disturbing situations in politics, religious affairs, corporate culture, and other fields.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas (leaders of Palestinians in occupied Gaza, known as open air prison) attacked Israel (the occupying power) and killed 1,139 people. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embarked on a mission of genocide of all Palestinians, the gruesome killings are still in progress, 27,270 Palestinians murdered in cold blood, including 10,000 children. The US which is on a slow but steady downward trajectory never lets Israel down and so has fully endorsed its killing spree.

The Western countries have never witnessed support for the Palestinian cause on such a massive scale among its population, as it has since October 7, 2023. People from different walks of life have joined in protests demanding a ceasefire; some of them have paid dearly, losing jobs. In the US, people associated with the film and TV entertainment industry have raised voices in support of Palestinians — some have suffered consequences. The Israeli Lobby in the US is very powerful and has a firm stranglehold on its politicians.

Author/journalist Belen Fernandez reminds us,

“It’s that time of year again: when Hollywood’s thought police undertake to ensure that American celebrity culture remains firmly in the service of the Zionist narrative.”

Actress Melissa Barrera lost her role in the next installment of the horror film franchise Scream for criticizing Israel. Barrera’s costar Jenna Ortega, who has openly sympathized with the Palestinian cause, was dropped from Scream too. who Susan Sarandon’s support for Palestinians led her talent agency UTA drop her from its client list.

Maha Dakhil, representative for Natalie Portman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Cruise, and others accused Israel of “genocide” but then she apologized; but to no avail as she was nevertheless compelled to quit work.

In the US, 55 famous people, including Kristen Stewart, Ramy Youssef, Mahershala Ali, Jon Stewart, Quinta Brunson, Fatima Farheen Mirza , Cate Blanchett, Margaret Cho, and Rosario Dawson, from the entertainment industry wrote an open letter to world leaders, including President Joe Biden, urging them to help stop the Israeli killings:

“We urge your administration, and all world leaders, to honor all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay – an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages.”

(See the entire letter and all the names here.)

Angelina Jolie expressed her views on the plight of people in Gaza.

“What happened in Israel is an act of terror. But that cannot justify the innocent lives lost in bombing a civilian population in Gaza that has nowhere to go, no access to food or water, no possibility of evacuation, and not even the basic human right to cross a border to seek refuge.”

Bella Hadid, whose father is Palestinian, wrote on October 26, 2023, that she routinely receives “hundreds of death threats daily.”

“I can not be silenced any longer. Fear is not an option. The people and children of Palestine, especially in Gaza, cannot afford our silence. We are not brave – they are.” “My heart is bleeding with pain fro the trauma I am seeing unfold as well as the generational trauma of my Palestinian blood.”

Gigi Hadad, Bella’s sister and a Palestine supporter, wrote the following:

“I have deep empathy and heartbreak for the Palestinian struggle and life under occupation, it’s a responsibility I hold daily.” “I also feel a responsibility to my Jewish friends to make it clear, as I have before: While I have hopes and dreams for Palestinians, none of them include the harm of a Jewish person. The terrorizing of innocent people is not in alignment with and does not do any good for the ‘Free Palestine’ movement.”

Over two dozen actors, including Susan Sarandon, extended their support to Palestinians in recorded messages. Several other artists such as Indya Moore, Kehlani, Dua Lips, and many others expressed sympathy for the victims with a hope of an immediate ceasefire.

In Narendra Modi’s India support for Palestinians is almost banned due to the Modi hatred of Muslims and his close ties to Israel’s Netanyahu.

A JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) professor Brahma Prakash talking to the New Arab website reminded that Indians feel the plight of Palestinians but avoid taking a risk stating this because:

“Especially, prominent activists from both the progressive and minority sections as they are already facing various charges. This is sad because the country that has gone through more than 200 years of colonial experiences is now standing with a colonialist and Zionist state.”

The Indian actor, Jaaved Jaaferi, is among the voices unafraid to point to India’s hypocrisy. He also re-posted “Hamaslighting” message from the Islamica News website on his X account:

hamaslighting

a form of gaslighting used to distract or confuse when a country, specifically Israel, carries out genocide against innocent Palestinians. This tactic is commonly used by exclaiming ‘but Hamas!’ in the middle of every conversation.

dumbasslighting

when one falls for hamaslighting.

Some Indian actresses also showed their support. Swara Bhaskar gave a fitting response to Modi supporter, actress Kangana Ranaut:

IMAGE/Hindustan Times

Pakistani and other celebrities came out in support of the Palestinians, too. Ushna Shah, calls the Israeli leader “Satanyahu,” has made a minute and half thought provoking video depicting US insincerity. Shah says “Muslim powerhouses have disappointingly stepped back from this crucial issue;” she pleads that the duty rests with artists, influencers, activists, and other voices to “not let the plight of Gaza be forgotten.”

Former actress Mia Khalifa (Lebanese/US) lost a business deal for her statement “can someone please tell the freedom fighters in Palestine to flip their phones and film horizontal.” The Playboy company found her statement “disgusting and reprehensible.” Do the Playboy find anything disgusting and reprehensible regarding the Israeli atrocities?

But the world’s most renowned actor, Shah Rukh Khan (known as SRK), who is regarded the most famous Muslim and world’s third richest actor, is busy minting money and has kept very quiet, as usual because he has experienced first hand the repercussions of speaking out. In 2015 interview to Burkha Dutt, he foresaw India’s future: “Religious intolerance is the worst thing and will take India to the dark ages.” Modi supporters then labelled him an “agent” of Pakistan and urged their followers to boycott his (and other Muslim artist) films. Sometimes their hatred verges on silliness. In 2022, his son Aryan Khan was arrested on false charges of drugs and was released three weeks later. One minister — not from Modi’s party — explicitly stated the truth: “Drugs will become sugar powder if Shah Rukh Khan joins the BJP [Modi’s party].” The ruling party’s two-pronged goal was achieved: to humiliate SRK and thus demoralize other Muslims and a warning that if SRK’s son can be targeted, than no Muslim is safe.

Artists for Palestine UK issued a letter signed by 4,300 people from various artistic fields with names as Tilda Swanson, Miriam Margolyes, Peter Mullan, and Khalid Abdalla:

“We are witnessing a crime and a catastrophe. Israel has reduced much of Gaza to rubble, and cut off the supply of water, power, food and medicine to 2.3 million Palestinians. In the words of the UN’s undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, ‘the spectre of death’ is hanging over the territory.

Gaza is already a society of refugees and the children of refugees. Now, in their hundreds of thousands, bombarded from air, sea and land, Palestinians whose grandparents were forced out of their homes at the barrel of a gun are again being told to flee – or face collective punishment on an unimaginable scale.  Dispossessed of rights, described by Israel’s minister of defence as “human animals”, they have become people to whom almost anything can be done.

Our governments are not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them. There will come a time when they are held to account for their complicity. But for now, while condemning every act of violence against civilians and every infringement of international law whoever perpetrates them, our obligation is to do all we can to bring an end to the unprecedented cruelty being inflicted on Gaza.

We support the global movement against the destruction of Gaza and the mass displacement of the Palestinian people. We demand that our governments end their military and political support for Israel’s actions.

We call for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of Gaza’s crossings to allow humanitarian aid to enter unhindered.”

The genocide of Palestinians is still being carried out unabated by Israel with the help of the world’s most violent and terrorist state history has ever come across.

South Africa, having lived through its apartheid, has valiantly presented the genocide case against Israel to the ICJ (International Court of Justice). The Court agreed that Israel’s actions in Gaza are plausibly genocidal and indicated provisional measures pursuant to the Genocide Convention. It remains to be seen what will be the result.

Meanwhile …

Here are the latest casualty figures as of January 31 at 12:30pm in Gaza (10:30 GMT):

Gaza

  • Killed: at least 26,900 people, including more than:
  • 10,000 children
  • 7,000 women
  • Injured: more than 65,949, including at least:
  • 8,663 children
  • 6,327 women
  • Missing: more than 8,000

Occupied West Bank

  • Killed: at least 370 people, including more than:
    • 99 children
  • Injured: more than 4,250

In Israel, officials revised the death toll down from 1,405 to 1,139.

And …

There is no end in sight to the mass genocidal massacre of the Palestinian men, women and children.

Note

Actress Vanessa Redgrave financed a 1977 documentary The Palestinian by selling her two homes. The film’s purpose was to “document the lives of and the struggle of the Palestinian people” through “interviews with survivors of the siege of Tel al-Zaatar during the Lebanese civil war, and with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat.” Redgrave’s effigies were burned, she was denounced by the far-right extremist Jewish Defense League, and public bounty was offered for her murder. The film’s opening was delayed by a day because on the day of the opening a bomb exploded at a Beverly Hills cinema. While receiving an Oscar for her 1977 film Julia, she condemned the Jewish Defense League people as “Zionist hoodlums.”

B, R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

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