Publicity stunt or genuine outrage? One can no longer count the public figures who displayed their unwavering support for Israel after its “9/11.” From Sharon Stone to Eva Longoria and Kim Kardashian, Hollywood claims to be in mourning.
Since October 7, when Hamas, the Islamist movement in power in Gaza, conducted a surprise triple incursion into Israeli territory, messages of support for Israel have filled social media and traditional media outlets.
The response launched by Israel on the Gaza Strip, which consisted of daily bombardments and a complete siege, evidently attracts fewer clicks. For many, supporting the Palestinian cause resulted in Insults, threats, or almost total loss of visibility due to algorithms discrimination.
Within the realm of Middle Eastern celebrity, there is unanimity on the issue. Stars like Bassem Youssef, Cherihan, Fifi Abdo, Ragheb Alamé, and Yousra all quickly expressed their support for the Palestinian people of Gaza.
Meanwhile, western celebrities are more hesitant. However, some have expressed their support for Palestine regardless. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some leading figures using their platforms to denounce the war crimes and injustice.
Sarandon, the lead in Thelma & Louise, is considered one of the most provocative – and "problematic" – actresses in Hollywood.
For years, she has been committed to defending the rights of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
A figure on the far-left wing of the American Democratic Party, a fervent climate and anti-Iraq war activist, Sarandon has been sharing the testimonies of distressed Gazans and Amnesty International's statements of condemnation since October 7. She also praised Ireland’s pro-Palestinian stance on the issue. The 77-year-old actress has called on her American followers to urge their representatives and the White House to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.
The Avengers star is very active on social media and did not wait for recent events to show his unwavering support for the Palestinian people. In March 2023, Mark Ruffalo strongly condemned the calls by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich to "eliminate Huwara," a Palestinian town in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.
"It's time to sanction Netanyahu's far-right government and deny them visas because of their calls for genocide," he tweeted at the time. Welcoming the calls for a Gaza ceasefire by some American representatives, the 55-year-old actor-producer also shares articles and testimonies highlighting the suffering of children in the region.
As the political-glamour voice of "Hollywood post-MeToo," the recent Oscar-winner and activist within the Time's Up movement against sexual harassment takes positions that stand out. While her "bankable" colleagues like Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, or Anne Hathaway have yet to comment on the subject, the actress, who portrayed Tammy Faye, has been sharing messages of support between SAG protests calling for better pay for writers in film and television.
Echoing activist and Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai's call for peace, Chastain reminds her 5 million followers that "war spares no children."
On October 18, she even expressed her dismay at publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post for not adequately covering the tragedies in the Palestinian enclave.
"I'll tell you what I didn't hear: I didn't hear death to Israel, I didn't hear death to Jews, I didn't hear people celebrating the killing of Israeli civilians," wrote John Cusack on X (formerly Twitter) on October 14 after a pro-Gaza march in Chicago.
"What I still heard is - we need to free Palestine from a brutal occupation - people worried about their loved ones in a hellish area, stranded without food, water, and electricity. Profound anxiety from people being told to leave and then being bombed when they do," he added. An actor, filmmaker, and screenwriter known for his pro-Palestinian stance, especially since the 2014 conflict, Cusack is a regular at demonstrations supporting the people of Gaza.
Bella and Gigi Hadid
The Hadid sisters have been among the leading supermodels of fashion runways over the past decade. Their father, Mohammed Hadid, is a Palestinian-American real estate tycoon who arrived in the United States as a refugee when he was young.
Gigi and Bella Hadid did not wait for the offensive on October 7 to condemn Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. Participating in peace protests and posting on social media, they have regularly vocalized their support for the cause, alongside their father, who is also very active. On her Instagram page which is followed by nearly 80 million people, Gigi posted: “I have deep empathy and heartbreak for the Palestinian struggle and life under occupation.”
This article was originally published in French in L'Orient-Le Jour.