Ashton Kutcher visits occupied Hebron and Nablus as Israeli guest, wearing an army hat?!

Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, The Settlements, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , , | 31 Comments »

Actor Ashton Kutcher, another one of Hollywood’s Kabbalah casualties, had come to visit Israel as a guest of the Kabbalah Center in Tel Aviv. On Saturday night Kutcher even partied in the birthday party of the Center’s founder, Rabbi Shraga Berg.

Yesterday, Kutcher took his spiritual trip one step too far: he went with his Israeli hosts to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the so-called “Joshua’s Grave” in a Palestinian village called Kafel-Hareth, near Nablus. At the grave, he was greeted by Colonel Avi Gil, commander of the Ephraim Brigade, who presented him with the brigade’s baseball hat.

The Ephraim Brigade is in charge of the Palestinian cities of Tul Karem and Kalkiliah, and the area east of them.

In the picture below, published on the Israeli news site walla.co.il [Hebrew], you can see Kutcher wearing the brigade’s hat yesterday evening, during a basketball game of the Israeli national team in Tel Aviv (more pics here). The caption at the bottom of the article says that Kutcher is “looking looks like an overly enthusiastic Birthright kid“.

Ashton kutcher with army hat (photo: berni ardov/walla.co.il)

Ashton Kutcher with army hat (photo: berni ardov/walla.co.il)

I wonder if Ashton Kutcher knows what poor judgment he demonstrated yesterday. Both Nablus and Hebron are well within the occupied territories. For more than 40 years now, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in these cities have no political or civil rights, can’t travel, work or study freely, and are tried in Israeli military courts under British colonial laws. The area of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is particularly nasty. Entire streets are forbidden to Palestinians, kept only for the use of a tiny and radical settlers’ community, which frequently harass and abuse the Arab residents.

Did anyone tell Ashton Kutcher that in 1994 a Jewish Terrorist named Baruch Goldstien (another resident of Jewish Hebron) opened fire on the Arabs praying there, killing 29 and wounding more than a hundred? Does Kutcher understand that coming to Hebron to pray with the Jewish community there is like riding into a black neighborhood in Alabama, 1950, with a KKK group? Does he realize that going to Nablus with an army hat is seen in the same way as going there on a Tank?

I don’t oppose the right of Jews to pray anywhere, just as I think Arabs should have this right (most of the Palestinian population is forbidden from entering their holy sites in Jerusalem), but context is everything, and right now the context in the West Bank is that of the occupation and the settlements.

If Ashton Kutcher wanted so badly to visit these holy places, he should have done it as a guest of the Palestinians. I’m sure they would have been happy to host him. But then he might have faced a different problem: the Israeli tendency to prevent foreigners from entering the occupied territories on the Palestinian’s invitation.

UPDATE: on Monday, Kutcher had another visit to the West bank, this time as a guest of the settlers themselves.


31 Comments on “Ashton Kutcher visits occupied Hebron and Nablus as Israeli guest, wearing an army hat?!”

  1. 1 daniel said at 8:17 am on August 9th, 2010:

    Did anyone tell Ashton about the Hebron Massacre commited by arabs against jews in 1929?

  2. 2 noam said at 8:20 am on August 9th, 2010:

    Daniel: that’s something that is needed to be told and remembered as well, but I don’t think that it justifies the occupation.

    the question is whether do you think Hebron & Nablus are an Israeli territory or not.

  3. 3 anti propagandist said at 9:01 am on August 9th, 2010:

    yes. ash was well informed of every pain suffered by jews.

    he wasnt told jews were at fault in every case including the 1929 revenge assault by arabs against jewish thugs, thieves, murderers.

    ash wants to work in hollywood.

  4. 4 Zloovi said at 1:06 pm on August 9th, 2010:

    with a hipster fashion sensibility.

    Although I believe that Kutcher made an ignorant choice to visit the occupied territory as an IDF guest, the hat has nothing to do with it. He probably thought it was cool and exotic, like Israeli kids getting the Thai coca cola shirt
    or a truck stop T-shirt. At least he didn’t wear it backwards.

  5. 5 Adam said at 2:03 pm on August 9th, 2010:

    RE Daniel’s comment:

    On Feb 25th 1994 Palestine was horrified by the Hebron massacre at the Ibrahimi Mosque by a Radical-Zionist Terrorist. 29 innocent Palestinian civilians were killed and over 100 were injured. Israel’s response was to close down the Arab’s high street, Shuhada Street which we now DEMAND to be opened. It astounds me that Kutcher could be so insensitive & cruel.
    I implore people everywhere to use the incredibly well supported non-violent weapon of BOYCOTT against the brutal Apartheid in Israel & Palestine, as we did with Apartheid in racist South Africa.
    Israeli Apartheid is FAR WORSE, not only are the invaDED segregated from the invaDERS, but they are also cynically separated from EACH OTHER – DIVIDE & Conquer.

  6. 6 noam said at 2:05 pm on August 9th, 2010:

    Propagantist – does standing on the Palestinian side means that you have to reject every testimony of something evil done to Jews? the murder of 1929 was a crime against a community who has been living there, in peace, for centuries. you can condemn it and still object the current settler present in Hebron.

  7. 7 David said at 3:41 pm on August 9th, 2010:

    The massacre in 1929 was horrible. There were Palestinians who hid Jews to protect them. Some of the descendants of these original Hebron Jews have written a letter, declaring that the current occupation and decimation of the city should end immediately. NOT A SINGLE Hebron settler has expressed any humanity, even, towards their Palestinian neighbors. Last year, a Heron settler shot a number of Palestinians, on videotape, our of anger, and was acquitted.

    Palestinians in Hebron are certainly not even living their own lives, let along restricting the rights of Jews. If the massacre of 1929 was still ongoing, you might have an argument, but the situation long vanished. We know that it’s about all you have – too bad no one cares anymore, wolf-crier.

    -Resident of Tel Aviv

  8. 8 LanceThruster said at 7:44 am on August 10th, 2010:

    Never hurts to “show the colors” to help jump start a Hollywood career. He is actually supposedly a fairly bright guy as he was discovered while pursuing an engineering career, if I recall correctly.

    No sympathy from me though, if he takes any heat for this because any entertainer that voices concern for justice for Palestinians gets hammered.

  9. 9 walt kovacs said at 1:09 pm on August 10th, 2010:

    so bds gets punked

    rofl

    hevron is israel

    there is no palestine

  10. 10 Balanced Guy said at 10:16 pm on August 10th, 2010:

    Alabama? KKK? Baruch Goldstein?

    How about Jewish community residing there for thousands of years until Arab violence removes them? How about remembering that Goldstein is remembered especially because he is an exception, not the rule. How about recognizing that Jews do have a right to live in Judea and Samaria and it is a crime to render this historically Jewish land Jew-free just because you have bought and continue to regurgitate the Palestinian narrative? Arabs live in Israel, but you have no problem complaining about Jews living in lands that you consider Arab. Isn’t that hypocritical?

  11. 11 noam said at 11:11 pm on August 10th, 2010:

    Balanced:

    have you been to Hebron? Goldstein is certainly the most violent incident, but to say he is the exception is really strange. The Hebron community is one of the most racist and abusive towards the Arabs. Baruch Marzel lives there & Kiryat Arba has a park named after Meir Kahana, for god sake. as you know, even most of the Jewish public in Israel has absolutely no sympathy for Hebron’s settlers.

    as for Jews’ rights to live were they want, I don’t oppose it as a principle. I reject the occupation, and the current political status quo. If You want to live in Hebron or Nablus, than your Palestinian neighbor should have the right to live next to me in Tel Aviv and pray in Jerusalem. As long as this is not what’s happening, the settlements remain for me the symbol of the injustice done to the Palestinian people and of what is a de-facto Apartheid in the West Bank.

  12. 12 Julia said at 12:57 pm on August 11th, 2010:

    To all of you guys going on about the alleged massacre in Hebron in 1929, did it ever occur to you that the notion of “I was there first” doesn’t constitute legitimate ownership of property? And even so, how does that justify the continuing suffering of Hebron’s Palestinians by Israeli settlers (who, for the record, are living there illegally)? Once again, the zionist-nationalists use the crimes of their designated enemies as a means of whitewashing and distracting people from their ongoing crimes. If Jews want to live in Hebron, they can do so under the flag of Palestine and not under the flag of Israel. Fair enough.

  13. 13 Knut said at 5:26 am on August 12th, 2010:

    Not too surprising. You have to suck up to the Jews if you want to work in Hollywood.

  14. 14 callie said at 6:00 am on August 12th, 2010:

    Arabs are ‘allowed’ to visit their holy sites in Jeruselum. They have freedom, what are you saying? Just because he isn’t buying into the myths you print here you attack him. Poverty in Egypt and Jordan is much worse than in Hebron and Israel is the only country in the world where Arabs can actually vote and where Muslim women are have property and custody rights as well as the right to vote and drive.
    Get over it and write about the woman waiting to be stoned to death for adultery in Iran.
    Oh wait, that doesn’t interest you right?

  15. 15 noam said at 6:08 am on August 12th, 2010:

    callie –

    You are either misinformed or confusing between the Arab citizen of Israel, who have the rights to vote and travel, to the West Bank’s Palestinians (like the people of Hebron, mentioned in this post) who don’t have those rights.

    I don’t post “myths”. If you think I’m wrong, I challenge you to come up with facts and references, not just empty accusations and slogans.

  16. 16 FuzzyBunny said at 5:51 pm on August 12th, 2010:

    For starters, let me say that I feel nothing but compassion for the Palestinians in the occupied territories. However, I also understand that Israel has made attempts to provide Palestinians their own state, and has been thanked with suicide bombings and terrorist attacks. I also recognize that Israel responded to the attacks with “disproportionate” force (though I admit that I view disproportionate force as fair when at war.)

    My question is:
    -Do you feel that a 2-state solution is a solution at all? If not, why not? Also, if not, what do you believe would or should happen to Israel?

  17. 17 noam said at 5:34 am on August 13th, 2010:

    FuzzyBunny

    first, the problem is not the Palestinian state but the fact that they don’t have any rights, and are subject to military rule for more then 40 yrs. I reject the idea that it is in Israel’s hand to “provide” the Palestinians with those freedoms.

    this is, I believe, also the way we should look at the entire political situation. the Palestinians must be freed immediately. the solution can be within the state of Israel, which would then become a bi-national state, or in a form of a Palestinian state, but then it needs to be made a full independent state, and this is not what Israel is suggesting right now.

    here are a couple of other posts I wrote on the issue:
    on the goal of negotiations
    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=2259
    on the need to apply pressure on Israel:
    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=2487
    on the current diplomatic effort:
    http://www.promisedlandblog.com/?p=3255

  18. 18 FuzzyBunny said at 10:36 am on August 13th, 2010:

    Noam

    I enjoyed your essays, thank you. You come across as thoughtful – rather than emotion based – which is awesome.

    If my impression from your writings is accurate, you think it is most ideal to have Palestinians become part of Israel. Is that fair for me to say?

    You make it clear in your essay that you absolutely want peace, but are willing to sacrifice some peace in order to prioritize equal rights. You also acknowledge that there would be an increased level of violence for a period of time if the Palestinians were given equal rights and equal freedom. Is that fair for me to say?

    As a side note, it reminds me of a really lame movie called “House Arrest.” A group of kids locked their parents in a basement. The kids wanted to let them out, but realized that their parents were way too upset to be let out. The kids knew that their punishment would be huge once their parents were out. Needless to say, the longer the parents were locked in the basement, the less likely the kids were to let their parents out due to the kids’ fear of their parents’ ever increasing anger resulting in the likelihood of exponentially increased punishment.

    I feel that in a perfect world Palestinians would have absolutely equal rights as Israeli citizens. Unfortunately, I think that it is very reasonable to believe that that would lead to two things: First, as you acknowledged, the Israelis would face a huge amount of violence justified by the Palestinians as fair revenge for years without freedom. The result would be retaliation from Israelis, which would outweigh the force used by the Palestinians on the Israelis. It would continue back and forth as it has been for the past several decades. This time, however, without the level of security in place to help limit the violence from either side. Second, even if the Palestinians and Israelis did finally get “revenge” out of their systems, it seems reasonable that it would only be a matter of time until the Arabs would outnumber the Jews. Once that happens Israel, like the rest of the Middle East, would become another Arab state. At that point, I think it’s unrealistic to believe – based on much of the rest of the Middle Eastern countries’ acceptance of other religions – they would be willing to allow Jews to live in peace while practicing Judaism. Do you agree with my two concerns?

    I know that the rebuttal by most would be, “Well, yes, that’s a solution for the Israelis, but certainly not for the Palestinians. The Palestinians would be getting the short end of the stick.” However, when you don’t have many bargaining chips left, you’re better to take the “short end of the stick,” rather than none of it. It’s not fair for them, but it’s the only option Palestinians have if Israel is going to keep from becoming an Arab state. Where do we differ?

  19. 19 noam said at 11:13 am on August 13th, 2010:

    FuzzyBunny: thanks for your comment. I will do my best to answer:

    Regarding the one-state solution (the Palestinians becoming full Israeli citizens): from my moral perspective, this might be the best option. Yet, as you pointed out, there are political and practical considerations. Most people believe the two-states solution is at hand, and the one state solution is a utopian idea that would lead us to more violence.

    My thoughts on the matter are a bit complicated: I think that we overestimate the chances for a stable two state solution, and underestimate the chances of one state. Yet what is even more important is that this is not a binary situation: we can have a confederation, or a temporary Palestinian state, or we can reach the one state solution in stages – for example, start giving the Palestinians more rights regardless of the diplomatic negotiations.

    But these are just thoughts. What motivates me is simply a will to change the status qou immediately. I think Israelis should understand that they cannot go on locking the Palestinians in the basement (I like your reference), and not just because it will make retribution harder on them, but simply because it’s wrong.

    Your House Arrest metaphor is important also for another reason: it reminds us that the region won’t be stabilized in a day. As events in Gaza showed, there is a price for 40 years of occupation. The Palestinian society is in ruins, and they simply can’t be expected to be either a Western-like independent state overnight (or a part of a western-like joint state, for the matter). Most people would use this thought to say that first the Palestinians need to mature as a nation and then they will get their freedom, but I claim the opposite: for the Palestinians to become our good neighbors and partners in peace, they must first be free.

    Don’t get me wrong – I don’t support Palestinian “retribution”, and I know that there are other elements at play here – fundamentalism, economy, etc – but right now, I think the main problem and the real source of evil is the occupation.

    After having said all this, one final thought: this isn’t, and shouldn’t be, an exclusively Israeli debate over the just solution. Even if I chose the one state solution, if the Palestinian people, through whatever mechanism they have, decides “to take short end of the stick”, as you put it, than I would support it as well. If they feel that there is no hope of having a real state and go for a civil rights battle, they will have me on their side as well – as long as they respect Jews’ rights to live here as well.

    Finally, here is another item you might interesting: It’s a piece I recently did for Haaretz newspaper, on the growing support in the Israeli Right for the one state solution.

    http://www.haaretz.com/magazine/friday-supplement/endgame-1.302128

    noam

  20. 20 Rami said at 1:17 pm on August 13th, 2010:

    My father was born in Hebron but do not have the right to live their anymore (as my parents were outside the west bank during the six day war). This is the first time that i see this website that was referred by a friend. I found the comments to be thoughtful. To see citizen of Israel sympathizing with the Palestinians pains in Hebron gives me hope in peace that seems further than ever before. I visited Hebron as a kid in the early 80′s and i will never forget the intimidation and the horrors imposed by the armed settlers. This was before the first Intifadah, now i hear its much worse. Hope it will all come to a peaceful end. As for the people who keep referring to “Promised Land”, i would like to remind them that God is not a Real Estate Agent!!

  21. 21 FuzzyBunny said at 5:07 pm on August 13th, 2010:

    Noam

    Thank you for your well thought out response.

    I agree that a one state solution would absolutely be the best option IF people were innately just and kind. However, given the reality of mankind, I don’t think it’s wise to assume that people’s actions and behaviors will change drastically just because it’s the right thing to do. I guess I’m one of those people who believe the one state solution is too “utopian.”
    You state that “the main problem and the real source of evil is the occupation.” Though I appreciate where you’re coming from, I feel that you’re failing to point out why there is occupation. If Palestinians were willing to allow Israel to exist peacefully, the need for occupation would be nonexistent. But if we were to go down that path, we would have a very long list of escalating actions and reactions, which added together, have brought us here. Since we are here now, the long list of actions and reactions is moot.

    I’m not saying this at all sarcastically, and don’t want it to sound like I’m trying to be condescending in any way, but do you honestly believe that right now the occupation is more evil than Hamas? It doesn’t concern you that the majority of Palestinian voters voted Hamas into power, knowing that Hamas explicitly stands for total annihilation of Israel? Since we’re talking about current solutions, is it really unreasonable for Israel to reject freedoms to a very large group of people that has essentially said Israel should be annihilated? I know that people say it’s only the “fringe” that feels that way; however, the “fringe” of a society can’t win a majority vote. My questions, specifically, are: First, do you feel that Hamas is evil? If not, how do you justify their calling for the destruction of Israel? Second, is it unreasonable for me to believe that the voters voting for Hamas were voting for an annihilation of Israel?

  22. 22 noam said at 2:29 pm on August 14th, 2010:

    FuzzyBunny:

    without going to a long debate, I want to just ask you this: what is the difference between Hamas refusal to recognize Israel, and an Israeli refusal for a Palestinian state, which was the platform of half the political system until very recently?

  23. 23 FuzzyBunny said at 11:03 pm on August 14th, 2010:

    Noam

    I don’t think your question is fair, because there’s no parallel to the current situation.

    If you can you find a time in history that Israel not only refused a Palestinian state, but simultaneously called for the complete annihilation of the Palestinian people, I would understand your argument. However, given that I don’t know of a time that Israel was encouraging its people to kill the entire Palestinian population, I don’t see a parallel.

    Maybe I’m naive. Why do I see Hamas’ calls to annihilate the Jews and their state as very big deal? Everyone I know say that it’s besides the point, and that the Jews messed up first, and need to just deal with the consequences of their actions.

  24. 24 noam said at 12:19 am on August 15th, 2010:

    FuzzyBunny:

    I’m no expert on Hamas, but in spite of some of their rhetoric, in practice one might argue that they simply don’t recognize Israel. from what I got, they don’t call for genocide as a political platform.

    You might even say that Hamas and Israel’s relation stand now where PLO and Israel once stood: in mutual nonrecognition. Hamas is not Al Qaeda. it’s a deeply rooted part of Palestinian society, and there won’t be an agreement without Hamas, even if the State Department thinks it can be done. Hamas has a veto power in the Palestinian society, so better have it in the process rather than opposing it. Hamas proved to be a very rational movement at time, and it can be bargain with.

    more important, you were asking about “evil”, and this takes me back to the point I tried to raise in this post. you can’t blame the occupation on Hamas, just like you couldn’t blame it on the PLO 25 yrs ago. these are just excuses. the political situation might be complicated, but there is one very simple truth here: I’m 36 now. If I was born 20 miles from my house to the east, as a Palestinian, I wouldn’t have lived one day as a free man. I don’t accept this, clear and simple. You are right – the end of the occupation will have consequences. some of them might be unpleasant – but we will deal with them. whatever path you take and whatever solution you want, the occupation simply can’t go on.

  25. 25 crazy said at 9:25 pm on August 15th, 2010:

    Your last comments about Hamas are absurd. Just read their charter again.

  26. 26 noam said at 9:57 pm on August 15th, 2010:

    crazy: you are just proving my point, that the Hamas stands were the PLO once stood. the Hamas charter is calling for Jihad, but it’s a document form the 80′s, when Hamas was a tiny initiative, and not the popular movement it is now. do you really think that every Palestinian who support Hamas thinks about the charter? there are Hamas supporters who completely abandoned the armed struggle, and there are those who still believe this is the way to go. my point is that you must look at it in a political context, something most Israelis (and their supporters) refuse to do.

    Again, I’m no expert on Hamas, and I can’t recite everything they said or done, but I do think that the effort to isolate them and deal only with Abu-Mazen has failed terribly, and will continue to fail.

    More important, this post discussed the settlements and the occupation. how can you blame them on Hamas?

  27. 27 FuzzyBunny said at 6:09 pm on August 16th, 2010:

    Noam

    You and I will have to agree to disagree on Hamas’ intentions for what it would do to the Jews if given the chance. My point is more that Hamas’ existence probably is helping Israel more than it’s helping the Palestinians. By having such a violent governing force, it allows Israel to continue denying rights without looking like the bad guy.

    With regard to the settlements, I think that is something that needs to change immediately. I feel that Israel’s allowing the settlements is just adding fuel to the fire. It’s wrong.

    Thanks for spending all of the time to debate with me. I enjoy learning how two reasonable people can see things so differently.

    If you’re ever in the mood for some Jew hating propaganda, visit memritv.org. I hope that you’ve already been to the site, but if not, it may open your eyes to what a lot of people want to see happen to the Jews. The fact that it’s on public television is what scares me the most.

  28. 28 noam said at 9:45 pm on August 16th, 2010:

    FuzzyBunny:

    I don’t know what Hamas’ intentions are. I simply don’t think that you can speak on “intentions” regarding a hypothetical situation. .

    let me ask you (and others): if Hamas is the current problem, on what terms should Israel leave the West Bank?

  29. 29 YM said at 8:34 am on August 20th, 2010:

    Fuzzy Bunny, if the Occupation is the problem, why wasn’t there peace in 1966? And why didn’t Egypt and Jordan allow the Palestinians to declare their state? The answer, of course, is that the goal has always been the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.

  30. 30 Michael LeFavour said at 4:06 pm on August 21st, 2010:

    “let me ask you (and others): if Hamas is the current problem, on what terms should Israel leave the West Bank?’

    Israel should never leave Judea and Samaria, the land belongs to the Jewish people and as steward it would be a crime to give control of it to racist bigots. What should happen is for people to stop using ethnic cleansing terms like “west bank” when describing a place that had a name for thousands of years before the so called Palestinians crapped into existence.

  31. 31 FuzzyBunny said at 7:47 am on August 23rd, 2010:

    Noam

    I have to disagree with your comment about intentions in hypothetical situations. Intentions are, in fact, HUGELY important when looking at a hypothetical situation. All talks of change will begin from the standpoint of hypothetical. “If we do this, what will the result be?” When considering whether or not to make a hypothetical situation a reality, both parties’ intentions are almost ALL that matters.
    Now, to answer your question of, “if Hamas is the current problem, on what terms should Israel leave the West Bank?”
    Israel should leave once peace talks have been successful. To leave for any other reason leaves Israel assuming all of the risk. For example, if Israel were to leave right now, while Palestinians have no promise of a free state, what should stop the Palestinians from responding the same way they’ve responded when given leniency in the past? Once both sides have an agreed upon roadmap to peace, Israel would not be the only one risking something by leaving. In other words, once the roadmap is in place, it gives the Palestinians something to lose if they respond violently once given the opportunity, therefore giving Israel enough leverage to justify their leaving.