Artists speak out on Israel-Palestine crisis amid weekend of global protests

"This is utterly heartbreaking. We shouldn’t avert our eyes from what is happening. Regardless of history or politics, this has to stop"

More artists have spoken out about the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine as protests take place all over the world.

It has been reported that 42 people have died in the latest airstrikes by Israel on Gaza, with more than 188 people killed in the territory since the escalation in violence last weekend and another 1,230 injured. A further 10 people have been killed in Israel, according to Israeli officials.

According to UNICEF, 55 children have been killed in the Gaza Strip since May 10.

The attacks began after Israeli police blocked off the Damascus Gate, where Palestinian Arabs typically gather for Ramadan. A UN Security Council meeting is taking place today (May 16) as the attacks enter their seventh day, with the hopes of brokering a ceasefire.

Protests have taken place around the world this weekend, seeing people take to the streets to show their support for the Palestinian people. Many artists and stars from the entertainment world were among them or have added their voices to the protests online.

Nadine Shah shared a video of a 10-year-old Palestinian girl talking about air strikes that destroyed her neighbour’s home and killed 10 people. “Given the chance she could be whatever she wants to be but not if her school is flattened and not if her country is destroyed and certainly not if her life is cut short like so many children that have been killed during this violence,” the musician commented.

“This is utterly heartbreaking,” The CharlatansTim Burgess said, sharing the same video as Shah. “We shouldn’t avert our eyes from what is happening. Regardless of history or politics, this has to stop.”

Primal Scream shared photos from protests in London, including fans of Celtic FC wearing shirts in the team’s colours that had been customised to show their support for Palestine.

Stefflon Don encouraged her followers to educate themselves on the situation, calling the attacks “heartbreaking’. “Far too many people have lost their lives even children,” she added. “This is pure evil. There has to be a resolution. How does this stop?”

Rostam took to Twitter to criticise the US government’s response to the conflict, quote retweeting a post from The White House about President Biden’s support for Israel. “No mention of Palestine or the Palestinian people in this tweet,” the former Vampire Weekend member wrote. “They are the ones who are dying however. They are simultaneously being murdered and removed from the narrative.”

In an earlier tweet, the musician also responded to New York mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang. “In your original tweet you did not mention Palestine or the Palestinian people once, effectively contributing to a large-scale campaign to dehumanize them,” Rostam said. “You need to be aware of that and speak on that.”

You can see more responses from artists and stars of the entertainment world below. Donate to Amnesty International’s Palestine appeal here. 

Earlier this week (May 13), Rage Against The Machine and Halsey were among those to  share their support for Palestine and peace in the Middle East. “The violence and atrocities we are witnessing in Sheikh Jarrah, the Al Aqsa compound and Gaza are a continuation of decades of Israel’s brutal apartheid and violent occupation of Palestine,” RATM wrote on Twitter. “We stand with the Palestinian people as they resist this colonial terror in all its forms.”

Halsey called it “wilful ignorance to conflate these simple horrors with religion and geopolitics”.

“It is not ‘too complicated to understand’ that brown children are being murdered and people are being displaced under the occupation of one of the most powerful armies in the world,” she wrote.

Rihanna, meanwhile, said she stood “with humanity” in an Instagram post calling for ‘the cycle to be broken’. The singer faced criticism from many for taking a neutral stance.

Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot was on the receiving end of similar criticism for her tweet addressing the ongoing crisis. “My heart breaks. My country is at war,” the Israeli actor wrote. “I worry for my family, my friends. I worry for my people. This is a vicious cycle that has been going on for far too long.

“Israel deserves to live as a free and safe nation, Our neighbors deserve the same. I pray for the victims and their families. I pray for this unimaginable hostility to end, I pray for our leaders to find the solution so we can live side by side in peace. I pray for better days.”

Gadot was criticised for not mentioning Palestine in her tweet, while other social media users called her response “a heartwarming message for peace in the conflict”.

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