Shireen Abu Akleh: 100 celebrities slam Israel's 'deeply disturbing' killing of Palestinian journalist

Shireen Abu Akleh: 100 celebrities slam Israel's 'deeply disturbing' killing of Palestinian journalist
Over 100 celebrities have urged their governments to take 'meaningful measures' to 'ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh' in an open letter.
3 min read
20 May, 2022
Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli troops in Jenin refugee camp on 11 May [Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency/Getty-file photo]

Over 100 celebrities - including Pedro Almodovar and Tilda Swinton - have said they are "deeply disturbed" over Israel's killing of celebrated Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh last week.

The 51-year-old veteran Al Jazeera reporter was shot dead by Israeli troops as she covered a security raid in the occupied West Bank's Jenin refugee camp on 11 May.

Artists including actor Mark Ruffalo, ex-football star and now actor Eric Cantona, author Naomi Klein, actress Miriam Margolyes and author and activist Angela Davis signed an open letter condemning her killing, published on Thursday by Artists for Palestine UK.

"We are deeply disturbed by the Israeli occupation forces' killing of the highly respected Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh," they said.

"As we grieve her loss, we call for full accountability for the perpetrators of this crime and everyone involved in authorizing it."

The celebrities also highlighted the Israeli police's brutal assault on mourners at Abu Akleh's funeral in occupied East Jerusalem, which saw officers hit pallbearers – almost causing her coffin to be dropped.

Live Story

They said this "attack by heavily armed Israeli forces" had "further dismayed and horrified us".

"What are we to make of the brazenness and cruelty of this attack on human dignity?" the artists asked.

Calling Abu Akleh's death a "grave breach of international humanitarian law and an attack on journalism and freedom of expression", they noted Israel has killed 44 other journalists since the year 2000 and wounded many others.

The celebrities said these attacks are "part of a pattern of violence, harassment and intimidation against Palestinian journalists" who are exposing what Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Israeli rights group B'Tselem have called "apartheid".

They also backed Palestinian calls for "proportional, targeted measures" from the international community to "hold Israel to account for its crimes, and to end its impunity".

The celebrities said the West has "consistently" helped give Israel cover, allowing it to maintain policies that "blatantly" breach international law and norms.

They contrasted the swift boycotts and sanctions on Russia over its brutal invasion of Ukraine with their government's continued backing of Israel despite its continued occupation and rights abuses against Palestinians.

"We call on our governments to end their hypocrisy and to act with consistency in the application of international law and human rights," the artists said.

"We call on them to take meaningful measures to ensure accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh and all other Palestinian civilians.

"There must be no double standards when it comes to the basic human right to freedom from persecution and oppression and the right to life and to dignity."