Actor John Cusack has apologized for a since-deleted retweet of an anti-Semitic meme.
"It stemmed from a defense of Israel bombing hospitals - by a candidate," tweeted the "Being John Malkovich" and "Say Anything" star, 52, after he had removed a tweet depicting a giant hand with a Star of David on its sleeve, holding people down. Beside the image was the quote: "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." Misattributed to the philosopher Voltaire, it is actually a paraphrase of a statement by white nationalist Kevin Alfred Strom in a 1993 "American Dissident Voices" internet-radio broadcast "To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?" Cusack added to the retweet, "Follow the money."
"[I]ts context was a retweet about Palestinians hospitals being bombed - my bad on retweet - of an alt right image," Cusack continued in one of roughly 20 tweets. He apologized, saying that "in reaction to Palestinian human rights under Israeli occupation, an issue that concerns anyone fighting for justice, I RT'd & quickly deleted an image that's harmful to both Jewish & Palestinian friends, & for that I'm sorry. The image depicted a blue Star of David, which I associated with Israel as their flag uses the same color & shape. I know the star itself is deeply meaningful to Jews no matter where they stand on Israel's attacks on Palestinians."
He acknowledged that "The use of the star, even if it depicts the state of Israel … when combined with anti Jewish tropes about power- is antisemitic & antisemitism has no place in any rational political dialoge [sic] ... To justify it, would be as bad as conflating the cross with [the] U.S. flag when confronting U.S. atrocities. So I get why it was a careless, dumb thing to retweet.”
The Irish-Catholic Cusack, recalled in an early-2000s interview that in his hometown of Evanston, Illinois, "Where I grew up the Irish, the Jews, and the Italians all hung out together. So I grew up with screaming Irish, Jewish, and Italians debating politics."