Actress Susan Sarandon on Saturday issued an apology for saying at a recent pro-Palestinian rally that US Jews fearing for their safety amid a spike in antisemitism “are getting a taste of what it feels like to be a Muslim in this country.”
Sarandon said she was invited on the day of the New York rally in November to take the stage and had intended to “communicate my concern for an increase in hate crimes.”
“This phrasing was a terrible mistake, as it implies that until recently Jews have been strangers to persecution when the opposite is true,” she said in a statement.
“I deeply regret diminishing this reality and hurting people with this comment. It was my intent to show solidarity to the struggle against bigotry of all kinds, and I am sorry I failed to do so,” Sarandon stated.
The actress was dropped by Hollywood talent agency UTA after her previous remarks.
Her comments at the rally drew ire online, and author Asra Nomani, who is Indian American and has Muslim heritage, wrote on X: “Let me give you ‘a taste’ of what it ‘feels like’ to be a Muslim in America: My dad didn’t have to become a second-class indentured servant to one of the many tyrants of Muslim countries…My mom?… Being Muslim in America meant she got to live FREE with the wind in her hair…You think the Muslim dictatorship of Qatar allows a pathway to citizenship for Muslim slaves, servants or Palestinian Muslims? Hell no…”
“Please don’t minimize the experience of Jewish Americans by sanitizing the hell that it is for Muslims living in Muslim countries and vilifying America for the life — and freedoms — she offers Muslims like my family.”
During the speech, a video of which was published online by the New York Post, Sarandon also urged attendees to “have a conversation” and “listen to the facts” about the situation in Gaza, but said that they “don’t have to go through the entire history of that region” in order to understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“You can just show the babies that have been dying in incubators and the love that people have for their loved ones when they’re blown to bits,” she added. “Those images are enough to show that something is drastically wrong.”
At the same rally, Sarandon, who is not Jewish, told the crowd that being critical of Israel is not antisemitic.
“There’s a terrible thing that’s happened where antisemitism has been confused with speaking up against Israel,” she said. “I am against antisemitism. I am against Islamophobia.”
The war was triggered on October 7 when some 3,000 Hamas terrorists burst through the border into southern Israel, killing at least 1,200 people, and taking some 240 hostages.
In response, Israel launched an aerial campaign followed by a ground offensive, vowing to eliminate Hamas from the Gaza Strip, which the terror group has ruled since 2007. The fighting has been centered mainly on the northern part of the Gaza Strip and the Hamas-run health ministry has said that more than 15,000 people have been killed. That figure cannot be verified by independent sources and is believed to include Hamas terrorists as well as civilian victims of misfired Palestinian rockets.
Statement from Susan Sarandon pic.twitter.com/F394QJ1LdO
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) December 2, 2023
Following the onslaught on October 7, Sarandon’s usually active account on X went quiet, and it wasn’t until a day later that she began to post again, sharing items condemning Israel and its military, while making no mention of the Hamas atrocities.
As the war has unfolded, she has continued to share accusations of genocide and war crimes by Israel, has shared misinformation denying elements of Hamas’s massacres inside the Jewish state, and has characterized Hamas as a “resistance group” rather than a terror organization.
At a rally earlier in November, she told attendees that it was important to examine the events of October 7 in the context of Israel’s history, which some saw as her blaming Israelis for the Hamas attacks.
“So many people don’t understand the context in which this October 7 assault happened,” she said, “They don’t understand the history of what has been happening to the Palestinian people for 75 years. So this is an opportunity to educate people if they can have an open mind.”