On the Daily Show, Maggie Gyllenhaal told Jon Stewart that she has not received any backlash about the politics of “The Honorable Woman,” the new show that she stars in. Since it centers on the ongoing turmoil of Israeli-Palestinian relations, Stewart looked amused.
“You have very thoughtful friends,” he said.
Granted, the eight-part mini-series written by British director Hugo Blick is only a few episodes into its run on the Sundance Channel (in the UK, five episodes have aired already). There is still an ample amount of time to provoke both critics and political pundits.
However, for the moment, the series seems focused on avoiding taking a side. The first episode introduced a very complicated political murder mystery. Gyllenhaal plays Vanessa “Nessa” Stein, the daughter of a successful English arms dealer who supplied Israel with weapons and was murdered 29 years ago in front of his children. Nessa, along with her brother Ephra, has inherited her father’s company and has a plan to remodel the business as a supplier of peace, not war. The idea is to bring Internet and phone cables to impoverished Palestinian territories to enable education and communication. As Nessa says, “Terror thrives in poverty, it dies in wealth.”
The plan is jeopardized when a man is found dead in his hotel room. We learn that the victim is a Palestinian who Nessa planned to give a lucrative contract to construct the communication infrastructure. Of course, allegations from both Israelis and Palestinians ensue, and protestors hound Nessa with questions wherever she goes.
Joan Rivers has come out in support of Israel in a big way.
When asked by a TMZ reporter about the violence in Gaza and Israel, Rivers compared the situation to New York and its much-maligned neighboring state.
“If New Jersey were firing rockets into New York, we would wipe ‘em out,” she said, waving her hands. “If we heard that they were digging tunnels from New Jersey to New York, we would get rid of Jersey.”
Even if Rivers apparently missed the memo about the PATH trains that connect New York to New Jersey underground, she got her point across.
“You cannot throw rockets and expect people not to defend themselves,” she continued.
The reporter countered by asking her about the Palestinian civilian casualty rate.
“They started it!” she yelled repeatedly.
“Oh, Selena Gomez, that college grad,” Rivers responded. “Let’s see if she can spell ‘Palestinian.’”
The situation in Gaza is ?a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it?s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself,? Woody Allen declared in an interview about his new movie, Magic in the Moonlight.
Asked about the Israel-Palestine conflict, Allen explained, ?I feel that the Arabs were not very nice in the beginning? The Jews had just come out of a terrible war where they were exterminated by millions and persecuted all over Europe, and they were given this tiny, tiny piece of land in the desert.
?If the Arabs had just said, ?Look, we know what you guys have been through, take this little piece of land and we?ll all be friends and help you,? and the Jews came in peace, but they didn?t. They were not nice about it.?
Allen concluded that ?there?ve been public relations mistakes, actual mistakes, and it?s been a terrible, terrible cycle of mismanagement and bad faith.?
Basketball superstar Dwight Howard’s foray into commentary on the crisis in the Middle East only lasted about 15 minutes. However, that was more than long enough to make headlines and draw the ire of thousands of twitter users.
Later that day, he tweeted “previous tweet was a mistake. I have never commented on international politics and never will.”
previous tweet was a mistake. I have never commented on international politics and never will. — Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) July 12, 2014
Nevertheless, the backlash was swift.
Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, said that he should be “publicly condemned as strong as Donald Sterling was,” a reference to the Los Angeles Clippers owner who came under withering attack for disparaging remarks about black people.
Omri Casspi – a teammate of Howard’s last year on the Houston Rockets and the only Israeli player to ever be drafted and play in the NBA – responded to Howard’s tweet on Saturday.
600 missiles been fired from GAZA by Hamas in the last 4 days. NUMBERS DONT LIE. STOP LYING. — Omri Casspi (@Casspi18) July 12, 2014
Casspi had also been vocal on Twitter during the #bringbackourboys campaign during the search for the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers.
Howard, who believes himself to be God’s messenger in the NBA, seems to have quickly learned the consequences of political commentary.
I apologize if I offended anyone with my previous tweet, it was a mistake! — Dwight Howard (@DwightHoward) July 12, 2014
Coldplay fans are not happy.
(Wait, Coldplay has fans?)
The band fronted by Chris Martin has come under fire after posting a link to a “Freedom for Palestine” video by the band OneWorld on their Facebook page.
The song, which contains the controversial lyrics: “No matter your faith or your community/ this is a crime against humanity” and “Enough illegal occupation/ violence and racial segregation,” calls for people to rally in support of Palestine. As the chorus goes, “We are the people/ this is our time/ stand up, sing out/ for Palestine.”
In the Facebook post, Coldplay provided fans with a link to the “Freedom for Palestine” website with the simple message, “Some of our friends are involved in OneWorld’s new ‘Freedom for Palestine’ single.”
According to the Washington Post, the Facebook post received 12,000 comments within a day. Many of them contained promises to boycott the band, but there were also a number of endorsements of support for Palestine.
The Facebook post has since been taken down.
The song and Facebook post even reached the attention of Glenn Beck on Fox News. Beck did not hold back on his stinging criticism of the pro-Palestine movement. “Make no mistake it’s propaganda,” he said. “It’s important that we know all sides and look evil in the eye.”
As he continued his rant on the pro-Palestine movement, he was so overcome with emotion he began to weep.
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