Star of the Wonder Woman franchise, Gal Gadot, has created a social media firestorm after posting what she thought was a message of unity regarding the escalating violence between the state of Israel and Hamas.
However, things did not go to plan. She has sparked a frenzy. Critics have accused “Israel’s most successful actress” of being a “propaganda” tool for the Israeli state, given that she served in the highly controversial Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from 2005-07.
Given the historic, dense and belligerent nature of the conflict, it is no surprise that the comments grew increasingly hostile. This led to Gadot disabling them whilst leaving the post up.
Gadot posted to Twitter that her “country is at war” and her “heart breaks” at the conflict. “Israel deserves to live as a free and safe nation,” Gadot tweeted. “Our neighbours deserve the same. I pray for the victims and their families. I pray for this unimaginable hostility to end, I pray for our leaders to find the solution so we can live side by side in peace.”
The 36-year-old actress accepted that “this is a vicious cycle that has been going on for far too long.” Of course, the reactions from users were polarised, however, some were particularly angry. Accusations levelled against Gadot included her supposed support for “ethnic cleansing” and “mass genocide”.
Despite the furore, Gadot’s supporters maintained the actress was calling for peace and stated that she should not be attacked. One user wrote: “The internet is angry at Gal Gadot because she’s an IDF veteran, which all Israelis are required to serve in for at least two years, and had the audacity to share a heartwarming message for peace in the conflict. A lot of disgusting people in her replies.”
Even Republican Texas, Senator Ted Cruz, weighed in “God bless Gal Gadot”.
On the other hand, users were much more scathing; one wrote: “Reminder Gal Gadot served in the IDF for two years where she not only witnessed the ethnic cleansing of Palestine firsthand but also actively supported it. How can you advocate to stop the vicious cycle of terror when you are standing on the frontlines enabling it #FreePalestine”
The fighting between Israel and Hamas this week has been the worst since 2017. Conflict erupted on Monday evening after weeks of rising Israeli-Palestinian tension in East Jerusalem. This culminated in physical clashes at a holy site much revered by both sides. The extent of the escalation is alarming, and the UN fears a “full-scale war”.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said he is “gravely concerned” about the violence.