On Saturday, Hollywood heavyweight Jon Voight wrote a column in the Hollywood Reporter chastising his fellow actors for signing their names to an anti-Israeli open letter.

Jon Voight Defends Israel, Criticizes Cruz and Bardems Genocide Letter

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JULY 18: Actor Jon Voight speaks onstage at the ‘Ray Donovan’ panel during the SHOWTIME Network portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 18, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

In the letter, actors including Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Pedro Almodovar condemned Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip as “genocide” and called upon the European Union to condemn the military operation.

Voight responded:

I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.

They are obviously ignorant of the whole story of Israel’s birth, when in 1948 the Jewish people were offered by the UN a portion of the land originally set aside for them in 1921, and the Arab Palestinians were offered the other half. The Arabs rejected the offer, and the Jews accepted, only to be attacked by five surrounding Arab countries committed to driving them into the sea. But the Israelis won. The Arabs tried it again in 1967, and again in 1973, launching a sneak attack on the holiest Jewish holiday. Each time the Jews prevailed but not without great loss of life.  And when Israel was not fighting a major war, it was defending itself against terrorist campaigns.

And yet Israel has always labored for a peaceful relation with its Arab neighbors. It voluntarily returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt in return for peace, and gave the Palestinians all of Gaza as a peace gesture. What was the response? The Palestinians elected Hamas, a terrorist organization, and they immediately began firing thousands of rockets into Israel.

You have been able to become famous and have all your monetary gains because you are in a democratic country: America. Do you think you would have been able to accomplish this in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, et cetera? You had a great responsibility to use your celebrity for good.  Instead, you have defamed the only democratic country of goodwill in the Middle East: Israel.

You should hang your heads in shame. You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did, and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.

Jon Voight Defends Israel, Criticizes Cruz and Bardems Genocide Letter

Spanish actress Penelope Cruz poses during the presentation of the film ‘Ma Ma’ directed by Julio Medem on July 8, 2014 on the Spanish Canary island of Tenerife. Desiree Martin/AFP/Getty Images

Read the full column here.

This story has been updated.

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