Actor Michael Rapaport champions Israel on social media: 'Everybody should speak out since October 7'

Jewish American actor in interview with Ynet talks about his pro-Israel activisim across the US and says he believes more people should raise their voice in condemning antisemitism



Michael Rapaport in an interview with Ynetnews

Jewish American actor Michael Rapaport, who has shown his support for Israel in its war against Hamas via social media platforms by highlighting the Jewish perspective to the world, he talked about his activism and his perspective on pro-Hamas protests in the United States in an interview with Ynetnews.
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Michael Rapaport, shalom. First of all, I want to thank you for standing by us in these difficult times, so thank you from all of us here in Israel. “There’s no need to thank me. I’m just being myself and I'm speaking from my heart. I have nothing but love and appreciation for everybody that’s fighting over there and so much heartbreak and concern for all the hostages from all over the world. And they are from all over the world. Although Israel was targeted, obviously. I'm just thinking about the IDF, their family members, obviously the hostages, so I'm just doing what I feel like is the appropriate thing and not doing it for any other reason.”
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מייקל רפפורט
מייקל רפפורט
Michael Rapaport
(Photo: Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
When did you realize you had to join the fight for Israel’s public diplomacy? I always speak out about things. Some things are more mundane. They could be silly things, whether it's ports or entertainment or comedic things. I always say something. Everybody should be speaking out since October 7th and beyond. The world for Jewish people and the world for the people of Israel is changed forever because of this. It's been so dramatic and traumatic, exhausting. And it's frightening. I wouldn't be myself if I wasn't saying something, for better or for worse.”
Since October 7 everyone has seen you fighting for Israel online. What do you think about stars like Angelina Jolie, Emma Watson, Susan Sarandon, who support Palestinians and accuse Israel of terrorism? “I don't want to speak specifically on behalf of celebrities. I think that anybody that hasn't educated themselves in the last 40 days – whether they have a platform, no platform, they're a student, celebrity, no celebrity, anybody that hasn't educated themselves in this in this time, we've had a good amount of time. I've learned a lot in the last 47 days. I'm not the most educated person by any means on anything when it comes to being Jewish, or the history of Israel, but I have done a lot to educate myself. And the people that are skipping over the hostages and demanding for a cease-fire – shame on them.
“There obviously cannot be a cease-fire until the hostages are returned. This is not a war that Israel started. When you talk about rapists, when you're raping women, when you're raping children, this is the bottom of the barrel in normal society. That's one thing the world would agree on: if you rape women, if you hurt children, you're at the bottom. You deserve everything you get, except for when the victims are Jewish. Then there are excuses. Except for when it's Hamas. Then they start, ‘Well, what happened here?’ So there’s no rationalizing with sick people.
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אנג'לינה ג'ולי
אנג'לינה ג'ולי
Angelina Jolie
(Photo: Getty Images)
“If it's a random person from Dallas, Texas that commits crimes like this you, say, put them in jail and kill them. Without thought. But when it's a terrorist organization that clearly and proudly wants to continue going on, you would think people are educated and they understand that, but the rationalization of the worst kind of human beings is insane to me.”
How did it happen that in New York City there are pro-Hamas demonstrations and people tearing up ads for hostages? “To be honest, nobody f**king knows. It's one of the more surprising things that none of us have been able to figure out. For me, seeing the people that ripped down the posters, specifically them because they've gotten a lot of publicity, these are mentally ill people. They are sick. The majority of them are legitimate mentally ill, lonely, disenfranchised, uneducated, miserable people at the end of the day.
“If they choose to do that, f**k them. The anti-Jewish behavior and the antisemitism is what's concerning. If you feel a different way, that's fine. If you want a cease-fire, I could understand that. I don't agree with you. It's the anti-Jewish activism that’s displayed openly, viscerally, proudly. That's a concern more than the poster rippers."
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אלפים בהפגנה פרו-פלסטינית בניו יורק
אלפים בהפגנה פרו-פלסטינית בניו יורק
Pro-Palestinian protest in New York
(Photo: AP)
Do you feel that New York is still safe for Jews these days? “Is it comfortable? No. Are there going to be some incidents? Yes. Have there been some incidents? Yes. But New York City, I will say, is still safe. New York City will get safer. No, it's not comfortable. It's scary. It makes you think twice. But we're going to be okay.”
I heard you say you feel the most Jewish you've ever been. What responses do you get? "I get threatened on social media. With all the stereotypes and the tropes and the prejudices against Jewish people. One thing that is true, and it is a good thing, is that we do stick together. Seeing the people stick together and come together makes me more proud and makes me more conscious and makes me more strong and I continue to say that we're going to be okay. We’ve seen everything, Jewish people. Israel has seen everything, but we are going to be okay because of the spirit that we have and the majority of Jewish people are very positive, generous, brilliant, encouraging, hilarious and compassionate people.”
I saw a picture of you putting on tefillin this week. How was it? “I've had a lot of offers to do it and I've tried to do as much as I can because I know what it means. I'm actually going to go to Brooklyn tomorrow and do it in the Hasidic neighborhood, which is funny, as a lifetime New Yorker growing up, I've never had a tour of the neighborhood, because you sort of take it for granted. I'm meeting a rabbi tomorrow in Brooklyn to get a little tour and I was like, that's crazy cause it's so close to me, but I've never sort of toured it this way. And when you get older, you appreciate things a little more, I think.”
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מייקל רפפורט
מייקל רפפורט
Michael Rapaport
(Photo: Cindy Ord/Getty Images )
When you see the support for Hamas among the students at American colleges, why do you think the world can't understand Israel? “There are things that we could disagree on, but to support terrorism, terrorists who openly, proudly do their work and show it on social media is f**king insane. It's f**king insane. And it's miseducation. It's uneducation [sic], there's no excuse. Some of it is mental illness. People are f**king mentally ill. And some of it is just, hating because they want to hate. It could be a good feeling, but this is not sports. This is not the f**king Olympics. This is real life. How Osama bin Laden is being reinterpreted? No one will ever know. I'm not smart enough to understand how Osama bin Laden is being reinterpreted, reimagined and rethunk [sic], and I have no idea how people side with Hamas and terrorism. It's f**king crazy.”
What do you say to famous Jews around the world who are afraid to express support for Israel? “As far as celebrities, you don't have to make a political stance. You don't even have to say anything pro-Israel, but just say something. It would go a long way. I went to Washington DC and got to speak in front of 300,000 people and I was thinking about all the other people with voices way bigger than mine. If they had just shown up, and just said hello, and just sung a song. You don’t have to take a political stance. But just to show up it, it would have went a long way because a lot of Jewish celebrities, comedians and performers to not say anything now means they have to live with that decision.”
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הפגנת תמיכה בישראל בקירקלנד, וושינגטון
הפגנת תמיכה בישראל בקירקלנד, וושינגטון
Pro-Israel rally in the US
(Photo: AP Photo / Lindsey Wasson)
I heard you say that for every comment with the Palestinian flag, you will donate a dollar to the IDF. How much did you already donate and are you already broke? “I’m not broke and I'm going to continue to make considerable continued donations, do the best I can, and support particularly the IDF and the soldiers. I was speaking to a soldier the other day and I was so surprised that battalions needed donations, because you know, like why? Why would we need donations? It's Israel. And he was saying that because so many soldiers are fighting so quickly. And the fighting is so ongoing. He's explained just about the helmets. They have helmets, but there are newer helmets, there are better helmets. I could say, one of the stereotypes of being an Eastern European American Jew from New York, we get it uncomfortably easy. So, if the soldiers need better helmets and they need better equipment to be safe, we need to donate the best we can.”
Michael, thank you very much for talking with us. We hope to see you soon in Israel. “Absolutely. I'm hoping to come within the next month and I'm sending love to everybody over there and around the world because one thing that I think is getting lost is that Israel right now is not just fighting for Israel or the Jewish people. They're fighting for the entire world because these people need to be stopped to save everybody around the world. And that's something that I think has gotten lost.”
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