‘It’s exactly what the Old South was in America. Blacks knew where they could go: they could drink from that fountain, they couldn’t go over there, they couldn’t eat in that place,’ the American actor tells an Israeli TV station during a tour of the segregated West Bank city
Richard Gere visited the West Bank city of Hebron this week, guided by the Israeli anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence.
Gere was in Israel to promote his new film “Norman,” and was accompanied to Hebron by director Joseph Cedar, an Israeli, along with a crew from Channel 2 News.
- Hundreds march in Hebron: ‘Open segregated Shuhada Street’–By Haggai Matar | February 24, 2017
- ‘The settlers love us when we shoot Arabs’ – By +972 Blog | February 12, 2017
- WATCH: A new brand of Jewish nonviolence in Palestine–By Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man | November 30, 2016
- WATCH: IDF brings segregated streets back to Hebron–By Edo Konrad | April 2, 2015
In the report, broadcast during the prime time evening news hour Wednesday, Gere responds to what he sees in blunt terms. He compares occupied Hebron to the Jim Crow era in the southern United States.
Looking around, Gere says to his guides, and to the television camera, “It’s exactly what the Old South was in America. Blacks knew where they could go: they could drink from that fountain, they couldn’t go over there, they couldn’t eat in that place. It was well understood — you didn’t cross over if you didn’t want to get your head beat in, or you get lynched.”
Having internalized the understanding that he is standing in the middle of a deserted street in what was once a busy commercial area, Gere sees Jewish settlers moving about freely where Palestinians are forbidden to walk and says: “This is the thing that’s flipping me out right now…This is really bizarre, this is genuinely strange … who owns the city, and their feeling of ‘I’m protected, I can do whatever I want.’”
[Watch the full video here]
This particular part of Hebron is home to about 500 radical Jewish settlers, notorious for their extreme racism. The city is home to over 160,000 Palestinians. Shuhada Street, which used to be the main commercial avenue of the area, bustled with human traffic 20 years ago — as one of the guides for Breaking the Silence describes to Gere. Today it is eerily empty, except for a heavy Israeli military presence.
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Wikipadia on Richard Gere
Richard Tiffany Gere (/ˈɡɪər/ geer; born August 31, 1949) is an American actor and humanitarian activist. He began acting in the 1970s, playing a supporting role in Looking for Mr. Goodbar and a starring role in Days of Heaven. He came to prominence in 1980 for his role in the film American Gigolo, which established him as a leading man and a sex symbol. He went on to star in several hit films, including An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman, Primal Fear, Runaway Bride, Arbitrage and Chicago, for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and a Screen Actors Guild Award for part of the Best Cast.
Gere at the Montclair Film Festival, May 2015
North Syracuse Central High School
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Invasion of Iraq
In 2010, Gere stated that the decision to go to war in Iraq wasn’t supported by the American people and that the administration at the time “bullied” Americans into the decision. He blamed the situation on a very “poor president”.
“I’m very sorry about what the U.S. has done in Iraq. This war has been a tragedy for everyone. I hope that the people of Iraq can rebuild their country,” Gere said in a press conference held on the sidelines of the 34th Cairo International Film Festival.