For the first time, the whole world has its eyes on Palestine, since its occupation by Israel. Everyone today has been inundated by an overwhelming amount of harrowing news coming in from the country. Thousands have been killed, and scores more are injured and displaced. And it is all thanks to the public voice, that has drawn this tremendous attention towards Palestine. For the first time, people are witnessing what happens in Palestine on a daily basis, but was yet to see light. This voice cannot be compromised by opinions of people in influential positions, especially celebrities.
This is a war on truth and reason, at the end of the day. Celebrities have been quick to go on a tirade of anti-Hamas comments, right after the group infiltrated the occupation. In response, a colossal 700 celebrities are signatories of an open letter that supports Israel. The letter also ironically calls for their kind to prevent misinformation about the atrocities. What renders this letter as unessential is that these very big names have been radio silent since the occupation’s retaliation began. From October 8th till today, Israel has been reducing Gaza, and now the Western Bank, to nothing. This group remains in the fantasy of considering this situation as a war: this is textbook genocide.
It’s worrying enough that there is still a section of people who have blinded themselves to the truth. Celebrities furthering this ignorance is icing on the cake for the pro-Israeli part of the world. Hollywood is an industry that the whole world has eyes on, 24/7. Celebrities have the power to guide their immense following into doing a myriad of things. If they spread goodness, goodness ensues in large numbers, and the same happens otherwise.
Amy Schumer, for instance, is one staunch supporter of the Israeli voice. She claims that there is nothing but love for her Palestinian “brothers and sisters,” but has done very little to help them. She has very kindly shared the way forward for Gazans, parroting the Israeli government’s “measures” to “evacuate” them from areas inhabited by Hamas soldiers. Not long after this announcement, the Israel Defense Forces bombed the exact place they told Gazans to evacuate to. Hospitals are given warnings for evacuation, knowing that there are thousands of people who are in no condition to do so. Yet, Schumer vehemently thinks that all these claims of genocide equate to hating Jews, if there are no voices about the attack on October 7th.
What Schumer and her flock of ostrich-minded friends fail to see is that Hamas exists, because the Israeli occupation exists. Israel faced on October 7th what Palestinians have been facing every day since 1948. If all they see is the loss of Israeli lives, and not the constant persecution of Palestinian lives going on for decades, then they deserve to be labelled as ostrich-minded. This extremely privileged group does not have the right to play human if they are willing to ignore the apartheid that is still in place in Israel. They have the nerve to ignore the decades-worth of violence committed by Israel in broad daylight, and question others if they condemn the actions of Hamas.
Israeli propaganda is winning big time and how. Their media machine has been running with a zeal unlike ever before, spinning out lies based on 7th October. No one sees that the oppressor decides to play the victim card when the oppressed revolts back. The most result-generating topic has been the beheading of 40 babies by Hamas. This lone idea had celebrities voicing their anger and rage, with no visual proof of it, even to this day. The White House was responsible enough to retract Joe Biden’s statement that furthered this narrative. Government officials are resigning because of Biden’s handling of the situation. If they can see through the nonsense, being somewhat closer to the issue than others, why can’t Hollywood? A British journalist reported that Israel spent $7.1 million in rolling out a pro-Israel ad campaign. The videos show visuals from the infiltration, and texts that clearly highlight Israel’s lapse in security. These ads ended up on the tablet of a six-year old playing a game. People who support Israel’s mindless agenda are natural to have been targeted by these ads.
That propaganda, as a result, has made itself known in Hollywood. Justin Bieber was quick to share a post that said ‘Praying for Israel’, against the backdrop of a razed neighborhood. Even someone of Bieber’s stature failed to see that the neighborhood was, in fact, Gazan, destroyed just days ago. Jamie Lee Curtis also shared a photo of a group of kids looking up at the sky with dread, captioning it with “Terror in the Skies.” Curtis also added a quaint Israeli flag emoji to it. The photo was taken by Palestinian photojournalist Samar Abu Elouf, of Palestinian children in a UNRWA school.
Another notable instance involves the Hadid sisters, specifically Gigi. The elder Hadid shared a post that sided with Jews who vehemently oppose the Israeli government. Israel’s official Instagram handle attempted to scathe Hadid by re-wording it to their tune, and claiming that they are “very clear” about her stance, and that they “see” her. The handle has not commented on the backlash it received from her supporters and pro-Palestine voice, which happened rather quickly.
On October 24th, Schumer posted a thank-you to Biden after the release of two more Israeli hostages. The note pleads for more efforts of hostage rescue, and openly hinting at Israeli apartheid. The letter thanks Biden for his support to Jewish people, and for “Palestinians who have been terrorized, oppressed, and victimized by Hamas” in Gaza. It has more than 200,000 likes, and Schumer has conveniently turned off comments in her posts. How this construes as sympathy for Palestine, is beyond the right-minded person’s ability of comprehension.
Hollywood has a role in information dissemination. They serve as important channels of spreading messages, which is why brands pay them in millions. Celebrities have to own up to this label, and advocate for the good cause. If Schumer, Curtis, and the hundreds of celebs behind them think they are fighting for what is right, then they are justifying the genocide of an entire country. It means supporting occupation in a land that they have taken from others. This is also an approval of Israeli apartheid, which has shamelessly not been acknowledged by any one of these righteous celebs. They may not suffer much loss, tucked away in a country that decimates other countries for no important reason. Brands will not be pulling their support from them, and these celebrities will still retain their followings. But they stand complicit in spreading propaganda, a crime they will not be absolved of by the better section of humanity.
The louder, compassionate voice is seeing this, and knows where to place these “role models”. Some role models they are, who advocate for continued assaults on a land that they are fooled into thinking of as theirs. These celebrities may never face the repercussions of their words, since the world is busy taking to streets in support of Palestine. But the world has seen their true colors, and knows better to pick celebrities worthy of their admiration.