MOSCOW, August 5 (RIA Novosti) - The conflict in the Middle East has sparked tensions among Hollywood's elite, with many voicing their support for Palestinians.
Rihanna, Selena Gomez and most recently Zayn Malik of the British boy band One Direction have shown support for Gaza on Twitter.
In just over a week, Malik’s #FreePalestine message has been retweeted nearly 300,000 times, but not all responses have been positive. A great number of fans have asked the pop star to delete the tweet, saying that people living outside Israel have no right to voice such opinions.
More than a hundred Spanish artists, including actress Penelope Cruz and her husband Javier Bardem, signed an open letter, deeming Israel’s actions in Gaza a genocide. Angelina Jolie’s father, Oscar winner Jon Voight, was quick to accuse the celebrity couple of spreading anti-Semitism.
Notoriously provocative comedian and avid Israel supporter Joan Rivers took the criticism of Gaza-friendly celebs one step further, calling for Gomez and Rihanna to shut up in a live interview with Channel 10 Israel last week. The 81-year old star, who is of Russian-Jewish descent, called Rihanna “beautiful, but not the smartest blub in the lamp” and said that Gomez “probably can't even spell Palestine."
English comedian Russell Brand and US television host Sean Hannity exchanged barbs over Israel as well, with Brand labelling Hannity a terrorist and Hannity calling Brand a D-list actor and “Mr Katy Perry." Political satirist Jon Steward made a somewhat less controversial statement, saying that questioning Israel’s policies is not the same as being pro-Hamas.
Israel launched Gaza offensive on July 8, targeting the Hamas movement and its allied groups of rebels. On July 17, following days of fighting, Tel Aviv switched to a ground offensive to destroy the network of Hamas tunnels around the border area.
The ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian groups led by Hamas, reached with Egypt's mediation, began on Tuesday at 05:00 GMT and is supposed to last for 72 hours.
The total number of those killed in course of the four-week long operation has reached 1,800 Palestinians, mostly civilians. A total of 66 Israelis and a Thai worker have died.