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Gaza War Ends Hollywood’s Indifference as Icons Take Pro and Anti Israel Positions

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By Kalyan Kumar | August 6, 2014 12:44 PM EST

The Gaza war symbolically broke the indifference of Hollywood stereotypes and many creative icons took a stand. The civilian casualties in Gaza thus helped in shedding the inhibitions of many Hollywood figures in coming out in the open though many beat a hasty retreat, reported the Guardian.

REUTERS
Actress Anne Hathaway, wearing a Gucci column dress, arrives at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014.

A number of artists and celebrities were critical of Israel. Celebrities like Rihanna, Jonathan Demme and Selena Gomez broke the veil of silence and expressed deep solidarity with the Palestinians.  

But the insurrections were also not without a backlash. There were spats with industry heavyweights like Jon Voight, Joan Rivers and Howard Stern and uncomfortable verbal volleys followed signaling a strife that was more cinematic.

Pro Gaza Stand

Actors Mark Ruffalo, Wallace Shawn, Roger Waters and director Jonathan Demme faced jeers for taking a stand. Demme confided to AP that his stand on Gaza was neither politically motivated nor a stand for Palestine or Hamas. The director of Silence of the Lambs said he was more concerned about the loss of innocent lives and death of a culture. Demme asserted that he was never coy of admitting his pacifist point of view ever since he became a card-carrying hippie in the 60s.

Singer Rihanna tweeted the hashtag #FreePalestine to her 30 million followers but deleted it minutes later seeing a surge of critical responses. She retracted and one of her PR told reporters that she was pro peace and does not want to take sides.

Silence as statement

Hollywood has many leading Jews such as Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey. The silence of Spielberg, Streisand and Katzenberg was as loud as their statements. The Jewish Journal noted that well-known supporters of Israel have been surprisingly least vocal and may want to support Israel in times of quiet by keeping a low profile when things are heated up. Radio and TV Personality Howard Stern and Joan Rivers were very outspoken and took a pro Israel stand.  

Rivers said on the episode of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" that it is terrible to see Palestinian children die. "But if it happens to be your father, brother, uncle who is firing rockets into Israel, then how can you expect the Israelis not to retaliate", Rivers asked.

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(Photo: REUTERS / /Adrees Latif)
Actress Anne Hathaway, wearing a Gucci column dress, arrives at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California March 2, 2014.
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