The situation in the Middle East continues to grow uglier by the minute—and now, the entertainment industry is taking a stand. As of Sunday (October 29), more than 5,000 lives have been lost in the Israel-Gaza conflict. The carnage began on October 7 when the Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel. Now, dozens of artists, actors, producers and other celebrities are begging President Joe Biden to call a ceasefire. A new website, simply labeled Artists 4 Ceasefire, recently went up and encourages Biden to act immediately.
An accompanying letter reads in part, “We come together as artists and advocates, but most importantly as human beings witnessing the devastating loss of lives and unfolding horrors in Israel and Palestine. We ask that, as President of the United States, you and the US Congress call for an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost. More than 5,000 people have been killed in the last week and a half – a number any person of conscience knows is catastrophic. We believe all life is sacred, no matter faith or ethnicity and we condemn the killing of Palestinian and Israeli civilians.
“We urge your administration, Congress, and all world leaders, to honor all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay – an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages. Half of Gaza’s two million residents are children, and more than two thirds are refugees and their descendants being forced to flee their homes. Humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach them.”
The letter is signed by Run The Jewels, Drake, Macklemore, The Coup’s Boots Riley, Noah “40” Shebib, Diplo, Jennifer Lopez, Jordan Peele and many, many others who are convinced the United States can play a “vital diplomatic role in ending the suffering.”
The letter continues, “We are adding our voices to those from the US Congress, UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, The International Committee of The Red Cross, and so many others. Saving lives is a moral imperative. To echo UNICEF, ‘Compassion — and international law — must prevail.’ As of this writing more than 6,000 bombs have been dropped on Gaza in the last 12 days – resulting in one child being killed every 15 minutes.”
A quote from UNICEF spokesperson James Elder reads, “Children and families in Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals, following days of air strikes and cuts to all supply routes. Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel Wednesday afternoon, shutting down electricity, water and wastewater treatment. Most residents can no longer get drinking water from service providers or household water through pipelines…. The humanitarian situation has reached lethal lows, and yet all reports point to further attacks. Compassion — and international law — must prevail.”
At the bottom of the letter, the signees concluded they won’t be complicit by staying quiet. It ends, “Beyond our pain and mourning for all of the people there and their loved ones around the world we are motivated by an unbending will to stand for our common humanity. We stand for freedom, justice, dignity and peace for all people – and a deep desire to stop more bloodshed. We refuse to tell future generations the story of our silence, that we stood by and did nothing. As Emergency Relief Chief Martin Griffiths told UN News, ‘History is watching.'”
Drake—who is Jewish—recently came under fire for not speaking up as the war raged on. Clearly, signing the letter is his way of doing so. Find more information here.