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Jon Voight: Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz 'ignorant' about Israel and Gaza

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 6:39 PM EDT, Sun August 3, 2014
  • Jon Voight writes he's "more than angry" about Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz
  • Voight wrote an opinion column for the Hollywood Reporter reacting to their letter
  • Bardem and Cruz "should hang your heads in shame," Voight says
  •  "We detest anti-Semitism," Bardem says in a follow up to his Israel-Gaza letter

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Jon Voight calls fellow actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz "obviously ignorant" and warns a "poison letter" they signed "could incite anti-Semitism all over the world."

Voight wrote in an opinion column published by the Hollywood Reporter on Sunday that Bardem and Cruz "should hang your heads in shame" and "ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel."

Bardem and Cruz, who are married, co-signed a letter last week attacking Israel's treatment of Gaza. The actors were immediately attacked for their words, prompting both to issue statements saying they were just making pleas for peace.

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"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," Bardem said in his follow-up statement. "We detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war."

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Cruz, who said she was "not an expert on the situation," said in her follow-up statement that her "only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza."

Voight, Bardem and Cruz are all Oscar-winning actors, which often gives them a louder platform to promote their opinions.

"You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good," Voight wrote. "Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel."

Voight, who he was "more than angry," use his soapbox to give a history lesson about Arab attacks on Israel since 1948 when the country was created through the United Nations, including the 1967 and 1973 wars. "And when Israel was not fighting a major war, it was defending itself against terrorist campaigns," he wrote.

"After years of trying to make peace, the wars they had to fight, being attacked by their enemies, and still being attacked, and finally after years of running into bomb shelters and having hundreds of civilians killed by suicide bombers, civilians being killed in their sleep, stabbed to pieces, finding enough is enough and finally retaliating, instead of my peers sticking up for the only democratic country in that region, they go and take out poison letters against them," Voight wrote.

Voight called on the actors who signed "that poison letter against Israel" to "examine their motives."

"Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?" he asked.

Representatives for Bardem and Cruz did not immediately respond to CNN requests for reaction to Voight's comments.

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