Angelina Jolie's father Jon Voight rebukes "ignorant" Penelope Cruz for anti-semitic letter
Actor Jon Voight has branded Spanish film stars Penélope Cruz, and Javier Bardem 'ignorant' after they condemned Israel for its military action in the Gaza Strip.
The Hollywood star and father of Angelina Jolie claims the pair are helping to fan 'the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now' after they called for Europe to condemn Israel's bombing of the Palestinian territory, which has now claimed at least 1,200 lives - many of them civilians.
Married Cruz and Bardem, as well as Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, are the latest major celebrities to go public with their views on the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
The Spanish celebrities speaking out against Israel's actions in Gaza call on the EU to 'condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population'.
'Palestinians' homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity, free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing,' they add.
But Voight says Cruz and Bardem are ignorant about the political realities of the region and the threat faced by Israel.
In an open letter to the Hollywood Reporter, he wrote: 'My name is Jon Voight and I am more than angry, I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.
'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.
'You should hang your heads in shame. You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.'
Today there were reports that Israel has attacked another UN school in Gaza, killing 10 people who were waiting in line for food handouts as the sun rose on a 27th day of bloodshed.
Witnesses and medics told Reuters an air-launched missile hit the entrance of the school in Rafah, where 3,000 Palestinians were sheltering from a fresh wave of strikes which killed at least 30 people across Gaza.
Around 30 injured children and adults were rushed through the blood-spattered streets in the arms of residents as differing reports emerged of the attack.
The Associated Press news agency said the attack was 'near' the school and hit people waiting for food supplies outside. Israel's military did not immediately comment.
The letter is not the first time Bardem has spoken out in support of Gaza.
In an article for Spanish newspaper El Diario last weekend, he called the conflict 'genocide', adding that it amounted to an 'occupation and extermination against a people without means, confined to a minimum of land, without water and where hospitals, ambulances and children are targets'.
Branding himself 'outraged, ashamed and hurt', Bardem added that he did not want tax he pays in Spain to be used to support Israeli 'barbarism', before going on to recognise the distinction between the actions of the Israeli state and the opinions of Jews, who may not support the bombings.
'...being Jewish does not automatically mean you support this massacre, just like being Hebrew does not mean you are a Zionist, just like being Palestinian does not automatically make you a Hamas terrorist. That's just as absurd as saying that being German makes you Nazi,' he said.
Bardem went on to say that he had spoken to a lot of Jewish friends in the U.S. about the conflict, one of whom he claimed had told him: 'You can't call it self-defence while you're murdering children.'
Voight too has voiced his opinions on the ongoing strife before. Attending a pro-Israel rally in Las Vegas, he said: 'Every patriotic American Jew and non-Jew alike must show their outrage, that we will not tolerate propaganda and lies about Israel being the aggressors and suppressors of the Palestinians.'
'It seems anti-Semitism is very much alive,' he added.
The Spanish celebrities who penned the open letter are the latest in a long line of famous names to voice their opinion on the four-week-old conflict, many of them coming out in support of Gaza.
One Direction star Zayn Malik posted the words '#FreePalestine' on his Twitter page, which led to both thousands of messages of support, and also several death threats from Israeli fans.
'People who don't live in Israel don't have any right to say their opinion out loud,' tweeted Shaked Erez, who added the hashtag #FreeIsrael.
'Your Tweet really broke me& I'm sure all the Israeli directioners 2. U made us very sad,' added Stav Ben Shushan, who urged Malik to delete his tweet.
Pop star Rihanna, who tweeted '#FreePalestine' two weeks ago, deleted the message eight minutes later after receiving tweets asking if she supported Hamas terrorists.
A sports star who showed support for Palestinians was Malaysian cyclist Azizulhasni Awang who wore gloves emblazoned with the words 'Free Gaza' while taking part in the Commonwealth Games.
Meanwhile pop star Selena Gomez was ridiculed by the comedian Joan Rivers after she announced her compassion for the Palestinian people.
After celebrity gossip website TMZ questioned whether that meant she was a supporter of Hamas, Gomez responded that she was 'not picking sides' but was simply pro-humanity.
Gomez posted a message of Instagram saying: 'It's About Humanity. Pray for Gaza', before going on to tweet that she was 'not picking sides', adding that she was 'praying for peace and humanity for all.'
But Rivers told TMZ: 'Let me tell you, if New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe them out.'
Actress and Unicef ambassador Mia Farrow said on Twitter: 'We can passionately protest Israel's assault upon Gaza without descending, even remotely, into the hideousness of anti-Semitism.'
Bar Refaeli, the Israeli model and former girlfriend of Leonardo DiCaprio, posted messages on both Twitter and Facebook in support of Israel.
'These days are so difficult to bare. Brave young men who have protected our country from terror. My heart goes out to their families. They will always be remembered and respected,' she said.