A group of 55 prominent artists and advocates in the entertainment industry have signed an open letter to President , urging for a call for a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel.
The signatories include names such as Joaquin Phoenix, Cate Blanchett, Jon Stewart, , Susan Sarandon, Mahershala Ali, Riz Ahmed, and Quinta Brunson.
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“We urge your administration, and all world leaders, to honor all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay – an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages,” the letter reads.
The statement, distributed by the organization Artists 4 Ceasefire, also includes a comment from UNICEF spokesperson James Elder, emphasizing the devastation inflicted on the population of Gaza by ongoing Israeli air strikes and blockades on water and power.
“Children and families in Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals, following days of air strikes and cuts to all supply routes,” Elder’s statement reads. “Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel Wednesday afternoon, shutting down electricity, water and wastewater treatment. Most residents can no longer get drinking water from service providers or household water through pipelines…. The humanitarian situation has reached lethal lows, and yet all reports point to further attacks. Compassion — and international law — must prevail.”
Another letter demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and opening for humanitarian aid in the region drew several significant signatories earlier this week. The statement, from Artists for Palestine UK, was signed by figures such as Tilda Swinton, Charles Dance, Steve Coogan, Miriam Margolyes, Michael Winterbottom, Mike Leigh and Asif Kapadia. The letter accused the British government of “not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them.”
On Oct. 7, the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing more than 1,400 people and taking over 200 hostages. The Israeli government has responded by launching a “complete siege” on Gaza, as described by Israel’s minister of defense Yoav Gallant. More than 3,800 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, per the Ministry of Health of Palestine.
In a visit to Israel earlier this week, President Biden affirmed the United States’ allegiance to Israel, stating that he would “ask the United States Congress for an unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense.” He also worked with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi on an agreement to open the country’s sealed border with Gaza, allowing up to 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid supplies to provide relief to a population of more than two million people.
Read the full statement and the list of signatories below.
Dear President Biden,
We come together as artists and advocates, but most importantly as human beings witnessing the devastating loss of lives and unfolding horrors in Israel and Palestine.
We ask that, as President of the United States, you call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost. More than 5,000 people have been killed in the last week and a half – a number any person of conscience knows is catastrophic. We believe all life is sacred, no matter faith or ethnicity and we condemn the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.
We urge your administration, and all world leaders, to honor all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay – an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages. Half of Gaza’s two million residents are children, and more than two thirds are refugees and their descendants being forced to flee their homes. Humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach them.
We believe that the United States can play a vital diplomatic role in ending the suffering and we are adding our voices to those from the US Congress, UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, The International Committee of The Red Cross, and so many others. Saving lives is a moral imperative. To echo UNICEF, “Compassion — and international law — must prevail.”
As of this writing more than 6,000 bombs have been dropped on Gaza in the last 12 days — resulting in one child being killed every 15 minutes.
“Children and families in Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals, following days of air strikes and cuts to all supply routes. Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel Wednesday afternoon, shutting down electricity, water and wastewater treatment. Most residents can no longer get drinking water from service providers or household water through pipelines…. The humanitarian situation has reached lethal lows, and yet all reports point to further attacks. Compassion — and international law — must prevail.” – UNICEF spokesperson James Elder
Beyond our pain and mourning for all of the people there and their loved ones around the world we are motivated by an unbending will to stand for our common humanity. We stand for freedom, justice, dignity and peace for all people – and a deep desire to stop more bloodshed.
We refuse to tell future generations the story of our silence, that we stood by and did nothing. As Emergency Relief Chief Martin Griffiths told UN News, “History is watching.”
Aria Mia Loberti
Fatima Farheen Mirza
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Carol Dennis is an entertainment aficionado with an eye for all things pop culture. She dives into the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, from movie premieres to music festivals. Carol’s passion for storytelling extends beyond her reporting, as she’s an aspiring screenwriter in her free time.