Not just Sally Rooney: Celebrities who support Palestinians

Pro-Palestinian protesters during a 'Rally for Palestine' protest in Dublin, Ireland, on 22 May, 2021. [Getty]
7 min read
13 October, 2021
From boycotts to impassioned statements, Sally Rooney's latest show of support for Palestine is just one of many celebrity shows of solidarity.

Irish author Sally Rooney recently defended her decision not to have her most recent book translated into Hebrew, citing the ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights by Israeli forces. 

“It would be an honour for me to have my latest novel translated into Hebrew and available to Hebrew-language readers. But for the moment, I have chosen not to sell these translation rights to an Israeli-based publishing house," she said of her new book Beautiful World, Where are you.

The statement was welcomed by the non-violent Boycott Sanctions Divestment movement.

While Rooney's decision is the latest of celebrities showing their support for Palestine, she is not the only one. From boycotts to extravagant shows of solidarity of the vast list of celebrity Palestine supporters, here are just 10:

Lorde

Lorde
Lorde attends Variety's Power Of Women: Los Angeles Event on September 30 in California [Getty]


In 2017, New Zealand pop star Lorde cancelled a show in Israel in response to Israel's human rights record and occupation of Palestinian territory.

"I think this is the right decision at this time is to cancel the show," she said at the time.

"I'm not too proud to admit I didn't make the right call on this one," she said of the initial decision earlier this month to perform in Israel.

She added that the decision was made after "receiving an overwhelming number of messages and letters".

The decision sparked backlash, with the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand Itzhak Gerberg inviting her to discuss the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and with a Mossad-linked legal group vowing law to sue activists who allegedly convinced Lorde to cancel her Israel concert, on behalf of fans who suffered 'emotional injury'

Alexa Nikolas
The former teenage actress who is most known for her role as Nicole Bristow on the Nickelodeon television series Zoey 101 is known for not only supporting Palestine but entering debates on Instagram.

"The seventh myth was that Israel intended to conduct a benevolent occupation but was forced to take a tougher stance because of Palestinian violence. Israel regarded from the very beginning any wish to end the occupation – whether expressed peacefully or through struggle – as terrorism," she said on Instagram.

"From the beginning, it reacted brutally by collectively punishing the population for any demonstration of resistance."

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Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba with a Palestine flag at the end of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Fulham on May 18 [Getty]


During the latest Israeli massacre on the besieged Gaza Strip, Manchester United footballer Paul Pogba raised the Palestinian flag with fellow teammate Amad Diallo.

Pogba was given the flag by a fan as the players made their way around the pitch after Man United's 1-1 draw with Fulham at Old Trafford.

Later on, he uploaded a photo of himself with the flag, captioning it with “Let’s keep our world safe and free from violence.”

Serj Tankian

Serk singer
Serj Tankian of System of a Down performs at Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino, California [Getty]


System Of A Down frontman Serj Tankian has consistently vocalised support for Palestine and included the song Occupied Tears in his 2014 solo album, in solidarity with Palestinians.

"It's time to end this misery known as the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank," the Armenian-American rockstar said at the time.

"'Occupied Tears', from my solo record 'Harakiri', was written about this and the hypocrisy of a people who have gone through the horrible atrocities of the Holocaust now serving as occupiers of another people."

In February, he urged in an interview that one-sided US support to Israel is a form of injustice.

Lauryn Hill
In 2015, American musician Lauryn Hill appeared in a video equating the situation of Palestinians under Israeli occupation with the plight of Black people in the United States.

The short video, entitled When I See Them I See Us also featured African-American scholars Angela Davis, Cornel West, Alice Walker, BDS founder Omar Barghouti and other activists and academics of Black and Palestinian heritage.

She held a sign that read “Free All Political Prisoners.”

Her participation came shortly after she cancelled a concert in Israel after being educated by the non-violent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Chris Martin
British band Coldplay frontman Chris Martin has over the years drawn anger due to his undying support for Palestine. 

In 2011, Coldplay shared a link on their Facebook page to OneWorld's Freedom for Palestine single which features a number of musicians and is a collaboration between War on Want and One World and is endorsed by groups including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and the Stop the War Coalition.

During a concert in the Jordanian capital of Amman in 2019, a fan asked him to sing a song for Gaza, to which he replied "yes, I will sing this song for Gaza," and gave a heartfelt speech in solidarity with Palestine.

"I believe every human has a right to live on this earth... I don't agree with suppression or oppression of any kind," he said.

Penelope Cruz
During Israel's incessant bombardment on the besieged Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, Spanish actress Penelope Cruz signed a petition urging Israel to end its attack, describing it as "genocide". The petition demanded a ceasefire and called on the European Union to condemn Israeli actions in the besieged Gaza.

“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,” the letter said.

It also condemned Israel for continuing “to advance into and invade the Palestinian territories instead of returning to the 1967 borders.”

Cruz vocalising support for Palestine caused an uproar, which led to a number of directors in Hollywood vowing to boycott her.

Dua Lipa
British-Albanian singer Dua Lipa took on one of the most prominent pro-Israel networks earlier this year after they accused her, along with Palestinian-Dutch models Gigi and Bella Hadid of supporting a second Holocaust.

The trio were vocal about their support for Palestine, supporting those who faced displacement in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah and those who were being bombarded in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, the head of the pro-Israel World Values Network, in a New York Times ad named Lipa and the Hadid models as three "mega-influencers" who have "accused Israel of ethnic cleansing" and "vilified the Jewish State".

Lipa, who is dating Anwar Hadid, the younger brother of the Hadids, fired back on Twitter: "The World Values Network are shamelessly using my name to advance their ugly campaign with falsehoods... I stand in solidarity with all oppressed people and reject all forms of racism.

"This is the price you pay for defending Palestinian human rights against an Israeli government whose actions in Palestine both Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights group B`Tselem accuse of persecution and discrimination," she added.

Zayn Malik

Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik
Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik are both extremely vocal in their Palestine support [Getty]


Also part of the Hadid network, Zayn Malik has consistently shown unapologetic support for Palestine. 

In 2014, he famously tweeted #FreePalestine and received a backlash of Islamophobic abuse, but refused to delete it.

At the time, Malik was in boyband One Direction and his fans called out his fellow bandmates for refusing to support him during the online abuse he faced as a result of his views.

The British-Pakistani singer, who is dating supermodel Gigi Hadid, continued to vocalise his support for Palestine.

In May, Malik tweeted: “I stand with the Palestinian people. My heart aches for the families who have lost loved ones. We can not stand as silent witnesses to children being orphaned and murdered and not demand for the human rights of all Palestinians!  This must end. Free Palestine.”

Rage Against The Machine
The California-based metal band voiced support for Palestine in May, during the assault on Gaza and the increased violence against Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, affirming the right to resistance against "colonial terror."

"The violence and atrocities we are witnessing in Sheikh Jarrah, the Al-Aqsa compound and Gaza are a continuation of decades of Israel’s brutal apartheid and violent occupation of Palestine," the band said in a statement.

"We stand with the Palestinian people as they resist this colonial terror in all its forms. #FreePalestine," they added, with the band posting a photo of a Palestinian holding up his country's flag at the Al-Aqsa compound.

The violence and atrocities we are witnessing in Sheikh Jarrah, the Al Aqsa compound and Gaza are a continuation of decades of Israel’s brutal apartheid and violent occupation of Palestine.

— Rage Against The Machine (@RATMofficial) May 12, 2021