Mark Ruffalo Accuses Israel and America of ‘Apartheid’

October 9, 2020
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Actor Mark Ruffalo accused both the United States and Israel of apartheid in an October 8 appearance on “The Mehdi Hasan Show” on NBC’s Peacock television streaming service.

Host Mehdi Hasan told Ruffalo that he’s one of the few “A-list Hollywood actors that touch Palestinian rights the way that [he does].” Ruffalo responded, “For whatever reason, I have a love of justice, it really mean something to me. Anywhere there’s injustice in the world, I think as an artist, we have a responsibility to speak up about it.

“My connection to Palestine came through Palestinians and hearing their stories and then watching this asymmetrical warfare being acted upon… and who pays the price? The citizenry,” Ruffalo continued, “and there’s no reason why an ally of American should not be held to same the standard as we would any other nation in the world.”

Ruffalo added that he was called an anti-Semite for speaking out against the Israeli government, which he said “was really tough to hear, and the fact that so many people will take it to that extreme when you’re talking about that kind of inequality, that kind of oppression, that kind of apartheid, really, and here we are America and we’re looking at the very same thing.”

He went onto call American an apartheid nation, arguing that it’s “kind of an apartheid system, there’s the BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and People of Color] America and there’s the white America. And that’s an injustice.”

Ari Ingel, director of Creative Community for Peace, a nonprofit that’s against cultural boycotts of Israel, denounced Ruffalo’s comments in a statement to the Journal.

“Mark is a long time anti-Israel activist whose comments are not grounded in reality,” Ingel said. “Instead of helping bring about peace between Israelis and Palestinians, these one-sided condemnations, grounded in fallacies, simply work to further division, mistrust, and hostility. As Lady Gaga said after actually visiting Israel, ‘the world view of Israel is just not reality.’”

He added that it “is equally disturbing is that NBC and Viacom have given longtime Al-Jazeera TV host and BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] supporter, Mehdi Hasan, a nightly prime-time show on their new Peacock platform. It has taken him less than a week on the network to use this platform to bash Israel. It’s unacceptable.”

Pro-Israel Twitter accounts also took umbrage to Ruffalo’s remarks.

“Problem with this @MarkRuffalo is that you ONLY speak up against Israel,” Sussex Friends of Israel tweeted. “All the injustices in the world and your chosen specialist subject is the one where there are no injustices. Smells kind of antisemitic wouldn’t you say?”

Middle East analyst Yoni Michanie acknowledged that although it is great that Ruffalo met with Palestinians, he should meet with Israelis as well.

“Meet with Israelis that had their entire families ethnically cleansed from Arab countries and who have lost loved ones to terrorism,” Michanie tweeted. “Meet with us, hear us.”


On the other hand, former Jewish Voice for Peace Executive Director Rebecca Vilkomerson tweeted praise of Ruffalo.

“Thank you @MarkRuffalo for your really beautiful and brave words,” she wrote. “Please know that your willingness to endure painful attacks helps so many more of us to speak out strongly, and your understanding rooted in your convos with Palestinians is a model for us all!”


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