Jon Voight slams Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem over letter criticizing Israel

Jon Voight attends the Hallmark Channel & Hallmark Movie Channel's 2014 Summer TCA Party on July 8, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Mark Davis/Getty Images

Actor Jon Voight had some harsh words for Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem over the stars' recent criticism of Israel amid the conflict in Gaza.

The "Ray Donovan" star and father of actress Angelina Jolie penned a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter in which he called Cruz and Bardem "ignorant" after their names were included on an open letter that denounced Israel's actions as "genocide."

"I am asking all my peers who signed that poison letter against Israel to examine their motives. Can you take back the fire of anti-Semitism that is raging all over the world now?" Voight, 75, wrote, adding, "You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good. Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel."

He added, "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."

Cruz and Bardem's names appeared on the letter, which was published last week, along with director Pedro Almodovar and other Spanish entertainment industry figures. It called on the European Union to "condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip." It also demanded a cease-fire by the Israeli military and urged Israel to "lift the blockade, which the Gaza Strip has suffered for more than a decade."

Bardem later clarified his stance in the newspaper El Diaro, according to The Guardian, saying, "My signature was solely meant as a plea for peace. ... While I was critical of the Israeli military response, I have great respect for the people of Israel and deep compassion for their losses. [Penelope and I] detest anti-Semitism as much as we detest the horrible and painful consequences of war."

Cruz added in her own statement that she wishes for "unity and peace."

"My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza. ... I believe in a civilization that can be capable of bringing the courage to have a world where humans can live side by side."

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