Penelope Cruz Backs Off Stance On Middle East & We Wonder What Caused the Change of Heart

Some of Spain's biggest names in the entertainment industry have recently written an open letter denouncing Israel's attacks on Palestine as "genocide." Those who signed the letter included Penelope Cruz, her husband Javier Bardem, and director Pedro Almodovar.

The letter, which was published in the Spanish newspaper Europa Press on Tuesday, lamented the toll that the war is taking on the citizens of Gaza and asked for the EU to "condemn the bombing by land, sea and air against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip... Gaza is living through horror these days, besieged and attacked by land, sea and air. Palestinians' homes are being destroyed, they are being denied water, electricity [and] free movement to their hospitals, schools and fields while the international community does nothing."

But now, Cruz has backed off of this strong statement. In a statement, she said:

"I don't want to be misunderstood on this important subject. I'm not an expert on the situation and I'm aware of the complexity of it. My only wish and intention in signing that group letter is the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza.I am hopeful all parties can agree to a cease fire and there are no more innocent victims on either side of the border. I wish for unity, and peace … I believe in a civilization that can be capable of bringing the courage to have a world where humans can live side by side.

It's difficult to tell what brought on this change of heart for Cruz: if she did more research on the issue, or more likely, received some kind of backlash over her open letter. Cruz's retraction seems anything but innocuous, and unearths quite a few questions: will her husband follow suit? Did the open letter even affect anything? What influenced Cruz to change her position? The opinion of a few celebrities may not seem important, but if anything, they have a significant influence over the greater cultural opinion, so Cruz's backing off may signal more than just her own mind being changed.