"We urge everyone to not rest until all hostages are released," the celebrities said in their open letter to President Joe Biden.
A host of celebrities and entertainment professionals have signed an open letter to President Joe Biden calling for the release of hostages taken by Palestinian militant group Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S.
Bradley Cooper, Amy Schumer, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Rock, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Mila Kunis, Katy Perry, and Will Ferrell are just a few of the dozens of stars who have backed a new campaign called #NoHostageLeftBehind.
The Israel Defense Forces has said Hamas took 222 people hostage during its October 7 surprise attack on Israel. The Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, has estimated that between 200 and 250 prisoners were being held, most of them in Hamas custody, with the rest in the hands of other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.
In recent days, four hostages have been released in pairs by Hamas. A source who was briefed on the most recent release of two hostages—and who spoke with Newsweek on the condition of anonymity—said the deal was made possible via mediation by Qatar and Egypt.
As Israel presses on with its heaviest ever bombing campaign against the densely populated Palestinian territory, the Al-Qassam Brigades have stated that 22 detainees had been killed in Israeli airstrikes, a claim met with skepticism by the IDF. The group has also said it was willing to release non-Israeli captives once it was safe to do so.
Hollywood stars on Monday declared that in their desire to see "freedom for Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace," they want all of the hostages, no matter where they hail from, to be released.
In their open letter to Biden, the entertainment professionals commended the president for his "unshakable moral conviction, leadership, and support for the Jewish people," before urging "everyone to not rest until all hostages are released."
Full Letter to Biden
Dear President Biden,
We are heartened by Friday's release of the two American hostages, Judith Ranaan and her daughter Natalie Ranaan [Raanan] and by today's release of two Israelis, Nurit Cooper and Yocheved Lifshitz, whose husbands remain in captivity.
But our relief is tempered by our overwhelming concern that 220 innocent people, including 30 children, remain captive by terrorists, threatened with torture and death. They were taken by Hamas in the savage massacre of October 7, where over 1,400 Israelis were slaughtered—women raped, families burned alive, and infants beheaded.
Thank you for your unshakable moral conviction, leadership, and support for the Jewish people, who have been terrorized by Hamas since the group's founding over 35 years ago, and for the Palestinians, who have also been terrorized, oppressed, and victimized by Hamas for the last 17 years that the group has been governing Gaza.
We all want the same thing: Freedom for Israelis and Palestinians to live side by side in peace. Freedom from the brutal violence spread by Hamas. And most urgently, in this moment, freedom for the hostages.
We urge everyone to not rest until all hostages are released. No hostage can be left behind. Whether American, Argentinian, Australian, Azerbaijani, Brazilian, British, Canadian, Chilean, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Eritrean, Filipino, French, German, Indian, Israeli, Italian, Kazakh, Mexican, Panamanian, Paraguayan, Peruvian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, South African, Spanish, Sri Lankan, Thai, Ukrainian, Uzbekistani or otherwise, we need to bring them home.
Ryan Smith is a Newsweek Senior Pop Culture and Entertainment Reporter based in London, U.K. His focus is reporting on pop culture and entertainment. He has covered film, TV, music, and Hollywood celebrity news, events, and red carpets for more than a decade. He previously led teams on major Hollywood awards shows and events, including the Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, MTV VMAs, MTV Movie Awards, ESPYs, BET Awards, and Cannes Film Festival. He has interviewed scores of A-list celebrities and contributed across numerous U.S. TV networks on coverage of Hollywood breaking news stories. Ryan joined Newsweek in 2021 from the Daily Mail and had previously worked at Vogue Italia and OK! magazine. Languages: English. Some knowledge of German and Russian.
You can get in touch with Ryan by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.