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Ben Stiller Speaks Out on the Israel-Hamas War, Need for Peace

Ben Stiller Speaks Out on the Israel-Hamas War, Need for Peace

Ben Stiller Speaks Out on the Israel-Hamas War, Need for Peace

Ben Stiller is speaking out about the IsraelHamas war, more than nine months after the Hamas-led terrorist attack on Israel on Oct. 7.

In an opinion essay published Thursday by Time magazine, the Emmy-winning actor explained why he felt obligated to share his stance on the ongoing conflict, the rise of antisemitism and the need for global peace, saying he “can’t ignore the crisis that is front and center in the world right now.”

“Saying nothing at this point feels like I am betraying my own conscience,” Stiller, who is Jewish, wrote. “But what do you say? How does one express the complicated and very real feelings in this scary world of social media, where it seems any sentiment opens you to online vitriol from one side or another? The issues we are dealing with are so nuanced and complicated that short statements cannot in any way express fully what I want to say from my heart.”

Serving as a public advocate for refugees for several years, the Zoolander star admitted that he’s been “struggling to reconcile” his silence on the matter with that work.

“I grieve for those who suffered in the barbaric Hamas attack on October 7 and for those who have suffered as a result of those atrocities,” Stiller wrote. “My heart aches for the families who lost loved ones to this heinous act of terrorism and for those anxiously waiting these long months for the return of the hostages still in captivity. It’s a nightmare. I also grieve for the innocent people in Gaza who have lost their lives in this conflict and those suffering through that awful reality now.”

He continued, “I detest war, but what Hamas did was unconscionable and reprehensible. The hostages have to be freed. Terrorism must be named and fought by all people of conscience on the planet. There is no excuse for it under any circumstances.”

The Tropic Thunder actor added that while he stands with “the Israeli people and their right to live in peace and safety,” he doesn’t agree with all the Israeli government’s decisions on how they’re handling the war.

“I want the violence to end, and the innocent Palestinian people affected by the humanitarian crisis that has resulted to receive the lifesaving aid they need. And I know that many in Israel share this sentiment,” Stiller wrote. “I believe, as many people in Israel and around the world do, in the need for a two-state solution, one that ensures that the Israeli people can live in peace and safety alongside a homeland for the Palestinian people that provides them the same benefits.”

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The Night at the Museum actor went on to denounce antisemitism, which has increased since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Stiller said he’s witnessed a “troubling conflation in criticism of the actions of the Israeli government with denunciations of all Israelis and Jewish people,” and as a result, it’s led to an “undeniable rise in global antisemitism.”

“I am seeing it myself, on the streets of the city [New York City] I grew up in. It isn’t right and must be denounced,” Stiller continued in his essay. “Antisemitism must be condemned whenever it happens and wherever it exists. As should Islamophobia and bigotry of all kinds. There is a frightening amnesia for history in the air. We must remind ourselves that we can only manifest a more hopeful, just, and peaceful future by learning from the past.”

He concluded, “Obviously I am no politician or diplomat. I have no solutions for these world conflicts and claim to offer none. I think I, like so many people, am struggling with how to process this all. But as an advocate for displaced people, I do believe this war must end. As I write this, there are about 120 million people all over the world who have been displaced by conflicts. In the Middle East, in Ukraine, Sudan, and many other countries. They all deserve to live in safety and peace. The human suffering must end. We must demand this of our leaders. Peace is the only path.”

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