Speed Reads

Backlash

Penelope Cruz clarifies comments made on Israel and Gaza

After being called anti-Semitic for signing a letter condemning "the Israeli occupation army in the Gaza Strip," actress Penelope Cruz is clarifying her position.

"I don't want to be misunderstood on this important subject," she said in a statement. "I'm not an expert on the situation and I'm aware of the complexity of it. My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza. I am hopeful all parties can agree to a ceasefire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border. I wish for unity, and peace...I believe in a civilization that can be capable of bringing the courage to have a world where humans can live side by side."

Cruz was one of several celebrities, including her husband, Javier Bardem, and director Pedro Almodovar, to sign an open letter that was released to Spanish media outlets earlier this week, The Hollywood Reporter said. The letter, titled "Comunicado de la Cultura Contra el Genocidio Palestino," states that the signers "declare their outrage over the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army in the Gaza Strip against Palestinian civilians."