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Mark Ruffalo apologizes for calling Israel’s actions in Gaza a ‘genocide’

(JTA) — Film star Mark Ruffalo apologized on Twitter for using the term “genocide” to describe Israel’s actions in Gaza in the recent military conflict there, saying it is now being “used to justify antisemitism” around the world.

His tweet Monday did not specify when or where he used the term. Ruffalo had publicly tweeted in the early days of the conflict, which started May 9, that Israel should be hit with sanctions until they “free the Palestinians.”

“I have reflected & wanted to apologize for posts during the recent Israel/Hamas fighting that suggested Israel is committing ‘genocide’. It’s not accurate, it’s inflammatory, disrespectful & is being used to justify antisemitism here & abroad. Now is the time to avoid hyperbole,” his full statement read.

Jews and Jewish sites and institutions around the world have been hit by a wave of antisemitic attacks in the wake of the Israel-Gaza fighting. Gatherings and protests across Europe have turned violent, and assaults and synagogue vandalism has been reported across the United States.

Ruffalo, whose films have ranged from Marvel superhero blockbusters to indie dramas, was far from the only celebrity to harshly criticize Israel’s actions during the conflict. Pop star Dua Lipa has defended her critical comments, which were called out in a full-page New York Times ad.

But since the uptick in antisemitism, several celebrities, many of them Jewish, have spoken out against the phenomenon, urging people to come out in solidarity with Jews.

“There is so much disinformation about Israel being spread and it is getting people hurt,” Jewish TV star Debra Messing wrote last week. “There are videos from all over the world, including the US, of crowds of pro-Palestinian protesters attacking, beating, kicking, using pipes as weapons against Jews. It’s horrifying.”

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