Wallace Shawn has called the latest chapter in the deadly Israeli-Palestinian conflict a “massacring” of innocent people.
The Toy Story and The Princess Bride actor shared his stance on the ongoing conflict while appearing at a rally in Farragut Square, D.C., on Monday. Led by the American Jewish groups If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace in solidarity with Palestinians, the event called for a ceasefire in the region, which has seen over 4,000 people in Israel and Palestine die, more than 420,000 in Gaza displaced, and thousands injured as Hamas’ rocket attacks continue in South Israel alongside Israel’s artillery and airstrikes on Gaza, according to the Associated Press and United Nations.
In response to the Hamas terrorist attack, Hollywood has shown solidarity with Israel through social media statements, open letters, and postponed or canceled events, but during the rally, Shawn addressed Israel’s retaliatory actions. Over the last week, the country cut off the entry of any supplies to Gaza and delivered airstrikes that have forced the closure of Rafah crossing, Gaza’s connection to Egypt, which is a route for aid and path out of the region for trapped foreigners, according to the AP. The actor told the Monday crowd, “I don’t really believe in revenge, and that’s what this is.”
“Personally, I don’t really believe in massacring any innocent people,” he told the D.C. crowd, which, according to If Not Now, saw a thousand people march in the nation’s capital and around the White House before blockading the entrances in a civil disruption to encourage Biden to call for a ceasefire. “Obviously, like anyone who is Jewish, millions of my relatives have been massacred. You would think that would teach everybody from that background that this is a tragedy that should be avoided and hatred against particular groups is wrong. Many people don’t seem to have picked that up.”
Shawn went on to add that he believes the response to the attacks is “deliberate” but didn’t elaborate further. He did, however, criticize the United States’ response to the attack and renewed conflict, which saw several political officials declare support for Israel’s response.
“I think we’re all here because we don’t believe in massacring innocent people,” he shared. “What’s happening right now is certainly one of the most deliberate cruelties inflicted on a group of people that I can remember and that my own government has supported. Even in Vietnam, there was a whole elaborate explanation that people gave, and they didn’t quite admit that they just were slaughtering the innocent.”
On Sunday, Francesca Albanese, U.N. Special Rapporteur, called for a ceasefire in the region, declaring the “situation in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel has reached fever pitch.”
“Any continued military operations by Israel have gone well beyond the limits of international law,” Albanese continued. “The United Nations and its Member States must intensify efforts to mediate an immediate ceasefire between the parties before we reach a point of no return. The international community has the responsibility to prevent and protect populations from atrocity crimes. Accountability for international crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces and Hamas must also be immediately pursued.”
In response to Hamas’ terrorist attack, the most deadly in Israel’s history with more than 1,400 killed as of Monday, according to AP, President Joe Biden said on Oct. 8, “We stand with Israel, and we will make sure Israel has what it needs to take care of its citizens, defend itself and respond to this attack.”
He has since ordered two aircraft carriers, along with cruisers and destroyers to the region and did not support a ceasefire in a newer interview with 60 Minutes. “There’s a fundamental difference. Israel is going after a group of people who have engaged in barbarism that is as consequential as the Holocaust. And — so I think Israel has to respond. They have to go after Hamas.”
Shawn joins a group of Hollywood figures who have called for an end to all of the attacks, which includes Riz Ahmed and Gigi Hadid. Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively also donated $1 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Friday to help children in Israel and Gaza.
“What happened in Israel last week was horrific and wrong. The pain and fear so many are feeling is deep and real. What’s happening in Gaza now and has been happening in Palestine under the Occupation for decades, is horrific and wrong,” Ahmed said in a statement posted to his social media accounts. “If we are on the side of humanity, we must urgently speak up to try and avert the loss of innocent life. This means calling for an end to the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza’s civilians and vital infrastructure, the denial of food, water and electricity, the forced displacement of people from their homes. These are morally indefensible war crimes.”