TEHRAN-Several celebrities and prominent figures in the entertainment industry all around the world have been using their influence to advocate for the Palestinian cause, speaking out on what is going on in Palestine and asking their followers to stand on the right side of history.
In response to Israeli settler violence, the blockade of the Gaza Strip, the desecration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, as well as Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians over the decades, the Hamas resistance movement launched an attack dubbed Operation al-Aqsa Flood against Israel on October 7 from the Gaza Strip.
Dumbfounded by the attack, as it was unprecedented in 75 years of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the Zionist regime has responded to the operation by raining missiles and bombs on mostly civilian sites in the Gaza Strip. Over 4,200 Palestinians have so far been slaughtered, with women and children among the dead. About 1.6 million people, that is 60% of the population of the Gaza Strip, have been forcibly displaced from their homes as the Zionist regime has targeted residential buildings, schools, hospitals, mosques and the besieged enclave’s infrastructure.
During the past three weeks, celebrities have been posting videos and messages on social media platforms like X (former Twitter) and Instagram to raise awareness about the situation in Gaza. As a minority in the industry, these celebrities demonstrate courage by openly supporting Palestine, despite potential repercussions for their careers and the criticism they face from followers influenced by the Western narrative.
Academy Award-winning American actress Susan Sarandon, who has always spoken in favor of the Palestinian people on several occasions, used her official page on X to repost a lot of posts condemning Israel’s aggression against Gaza.
The 77-year-old actress also asked her followers to call their representatives in the White House to demand a ceasefire and an end to apartheid.
Model Gigi Hadid, who is of Palestinian descent, has taken a highly public stance in support of Palestine during the ongoing Israeli military offensive in Gaza, which has resulted in her receiving death threats.
“I have deep empathy and heartbreak for the Palestinian struggle and life under occupation, it’s a responsibility I hold daily,” The 28-year-old model posted on her Instagram.
The “Hulk” actor Mark Ruffalo, who has previously championed Palestinian causes, has been using Twitter to repost UNICEF’s calls, advocating for safe access to life-saving services for children in Gaza.
“It is horrific to see innocent civilians killed and there is no justification for it. We pray for the safety of the innocent people of Gaza who are being bombarded and besieged,” Ruffalo posted.
Lena Headey from “Game of Thrones” is actively advocating for Palestinian rights. Posting on her Instagram, she stated, “We stand against the oppression faced by Palestinians. Every individual deserves respect, dignity, and freedom. In times of pain, our best is not seen as good enough. I stand for liberation of all oppressed peoples.”
She also shared posts with the #SaveSheikhJarrah hashtag, highlighting the specific plight of Palestinians facing eviction in East Jerusalem.
American actor John Cusack shared a personal account of his participation in the pro-Palestine march in Chicago.
“I was out at the Palestinian march in Chicago. I didn’t hear people celebrating the murders of Israeli civilians. What I did hear is – we must free Palestine from a brutal occupation – people concerned for their loved ones, in a hell zone, stuck without food, water and power. Deep anguish over people being told to leave and bombed as they left,” he wrote on X.
The Pakistani activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai posted a video on X expressing her solidarity with Palestinian people. The caption of the video she shared read, “A Palestinian child should be sitting in a classroom, not in rubble.”
Also posting on Instagram she wrote: “I’m horrified to see the bombing of al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza and unequivocally condemn it. I urge the Israeli government to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza and reiterate the call for a ceasefire.”
At one of his recent Boston comedy tour stops, American comedian Dave Chappelle criticized Israeli actions in Gaza, calling them “war crimes.” He went on to slam the Israeli government for bombing of and cutting off water and other essential items to Gaza, and accused the United States of aiding the slaughter of innocent people.
Reaction to his comments about Israel was reportedly mixed. While some audience members cheered on Chappelle and shouted “Free Palestine” following his comments, others heckled and challenged the comedian, while still others walked out of the arena entirely.
English-Albanian popstar of Muslim descent Dua Lipa turned to her Instagram handle, to express solidarity with the people of Gaza amid the ongoing war and extend her condolences towards the affectees, calling for a ceasefire in the region.
Sharing a PCRF (Palestine Children’s Relief Fund) fundraiser for the “Urgent relief for Gaza’s children,” the “Levitating” singer wrote: “Grief as I witness the unprecedented suffering in Gaza, where 2.2 million souls, half of them children, endure unimaginable hardships.”
American actress and singer Selena Gomez recently took to Instagram to express her support for Palestine, posting a message that called for prayers for families and babies in Gaza.
In the caption, she emphasized the importance of focusing on what truly matters in life – helping, inspiring, and loving one another. While the post received over half a million likes, it also stirred up a variety of opinions among the more than 100,000 commenters.
Last week, dozens of Hollywood actors and artists, including Joaquin Phoenix, Kristen Stewart, Ramy Youssef, Riz Ahmed and Mahershala Ali wrote a letter to the U.S. President Joe Biden, urging him to press for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Likewise, over 2,000 cultural figures in the UK signed a letter calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and a halt to Israeli “war crimes.”
Producers, curators, writers, DJs, architects and designers were among the signatories in support of the “global movement against the destruction of Gaza and the mass displacement of the Palestinian people”.
Moreover, former Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, American singer Kehlani and American rapper Mykki Blanco were just a few of the first names to sign the People Forum’s Artists Against Apartheid letter, calling out the “Zionist occupation of Palestine.”
“As artists and cultural producers, we join hands with the people of the world and with the heroic people of Palestine, to stop this genocidal war and put an end to 75 years of occupation,” read the letter in part.
Furthermore, artists and art organizations around the world went on strike October 20, in a show of solidarity with Palestinian people as Israel continues its deadly bombardment of Gaza.
Across New York City, Amsterdam, Santiago, Berlin, London, and beyond, dozens of art galleries, museums, and individuals closed their spaces and studios to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
In addition to the mounting deaths, which are expected to continue to rise while an expected Israeli ground invasion looms on the horizon, scores of cultural sites and museums in Gaza have been destroyed or impacted. Religious spaces hit by Israeli bombardments include the Al-Sussi Mosque and the Al-Amin Muhammad Mosque and most recently the historic Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius.