Wednesday May 12, 2021
In the wake of the disproportionate attacks by Israeli forces on Palestinians that have erupted in the past week, many international celebrities have voiced their concern and support for Palestinians and underscored that a country with greater military power should demonstrate restraint instead of taking undue advantage.
Tensions were already simmering of late with an attempt by Israeli settlers to forcibly evict Palestinian families from their homes from the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
The violence came to a head on Friday night when Israeli police attacked worshipers in the compound of the Al Aqsa Mosque and has only since escalated, leaving at least 30 Palestinians dead, including 10 children.
Since then, there has been an outpouring of support and love for Palestinian families across the world, beyond territorial borders or religious, socio-economic or ethnic divides.
Celebrities as well have questioned the double standards whereby there is outrage over other injustices but not Palestinian oppression, with some even saying that it may very well be a "time for sanctions on Israel".
Among the first to speak out against the violence, was American-Palestinian supermodel Bella Hadid.
Sharing an illustration on Instagram showing a common misperception about the roots of the Palestinian struggle, she said: “This is not about religion. This is not about spewing hate on one or the other. This is about Israeli colonisation, ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid over the Palestinian people that has been going on for YEARS!”
“I stand with my Palestinian brothers and sisters, I will protect and support you as best as I can. I LOVE YOU,” she said.
Hadid said that she also wants to tell the naysayers, who say Palestine “is not real”, that it is “very much real”.
“Palestinian people are here to stay and coexist. As they always have,” she wrote.
Her sister, Gigi Hadid, also voiced her frustration over how Palestinian rights are not accorded the same importance as other issues by rights activists.
“One cannot advocate for racial equality, LGBT and women's rights, condemn corrupt and abusive regimes and other injustices yet choose to ignore the Palestinian oppression. It does not add up,” she said.
“You cannot pick and choose whose human rights matter more,” Hadid stressed.
Singer Dua Lipa posted Instagram stories with #SaveSheikhJarrah along with artwork from designer duo Mothanna Hussein and Hadi Alaeddin.
Today she shared a screen shot of US Senator Bernie Sanders calling for the US government to "speak out strongly against the violence by government-allied Israeli extremists in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and make clear that the evictions of Palestinian families must not go forward".
Game of Thrones star Lena Headey also put up a post in support of Palestinians with the text “Save Sheikh Jarrah”.
Avengers star Mark Ruffalo also tweeted in support of Palestinians, saying that 1,500 face expulsion in Jerusalem.
"[Two hundred] protesters have been injured. 9 children have been killed. Sanctions on South Africa helped free its black people - it's time for sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians. Join the call. #SheikhJarrah," he wrote.
Musician Roger Waters shared a video message with the caption: "It's official ISRAEL is an APARTHEID STATE. Check out SHEIKH JARRAH GENOCIDAL HOUSE CLEARINGS.”
In the message he can be heard saying the move to force people out of their homes by settlers seeking to take over them is “unconscionable”.
“It makes me so angry,” he says.
Comedian and show host Trevor Noah spoke about the violence on The Daily Show highlighting the military might of Israel and questioning the responsibility it has having that power.
“I just want to ask an honest question here,” Noah said. “If you are in a fight where the other person cannot beat you, how hard should you retaliate when they try to hurt you?”
“Everyone has a different answer to the question, and I’m not trying to answer the question, nor do I think I’m smart enough to solve it. All I ask is, when you have this much power, what is your responsibility?”
West Indian cricket star and head coach of Peshawar Zalmi, Darren Sammy, expressed his vexation over why it is for difficult for some to treat others as they would want to be treated.
"Or even better yet treat each others as human beings," he said, adding #PrayForPalestine to indicate his support for Palestinians.
Afghanistan cricketer Rashid Khan wrote that as a an athlete who plays around the world he wishes to "see this world out of war".
"No crime is more heinous than the killing of a child. I want these children to wake up to the sound of birds and not bombs," he wrote.