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Why More Celebrities Don’t Speak Out On Israel-Palestine

“I think we’re at this very interesting and important place in our human history, where we are awakening.” — Michael Malarkey

The new MintPress podcast “The Watchdog,” hosted by British-Iraqi hip-hop artist Lowkey, closely examines organizations about which it is in the public interest to know — including intelligence, lobby and special-interest groups influencing policies that infringe on free speech and target dissent. The Watchdog goes against the grain by casting a light on stories largely ignored by the mainstream, corporate media.

Hollywood is not exactly known for being a hotbed of anti-war, anti-imperialist activism. Indeed, so close is the relationship between the national security state and Tinseltown that the Department of Defense casually tweeted out on Oscar Night that it works closely with its “partners” in Hollywood to ensure the military is presented in a positive light.

“Jack Ryan” star John Krasinski went further, explaining that he had an extremely close bond with the CIA. “I owe them everything,” he said. “The CIA is something that we should all not only cherish but be saying thank you for every single day. They’re always trying to do the right thing,” he said of the agency, claiming they “care about the country in a bigger, more idealistic way.”

Hollywood is also a keen supporter of America’s unofficial fifty-first state, and all its highly questionable activities in the Middle East. As Israel was carrying out a blockade of the Gaza Strip, commonly referred to as the world’s largest open-air prison, celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Gerard Butler, Andy Garcia and Pharrell Williams raised over $60 million for the Israeli Defense Forces at a fundraiser.

One celebrity who has spoken up against Israeli actions is the star of “The Vampire Diaries,” Michael Malarkey. As the Israeli government began bombing Gaza in the wake of its storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in May, the 38-year-old actor wrote on his Instagram account:

The obsessive lengths being used to delegitimize anyone taking a stand against Israel’s apartheid regime are deceitful, despicable, and undemocratic. Those who employ such techniques want us to ignore the multitude of human rights abuses, the usage of illegal weapons and warfare, the unending occupation, the illegal annexation of Palestinian territories, and the callous bloodshed of innocents.”

“Now is the time to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of Israel and to openly challenge those few other countries that have long sponsored the Occupation and vetoed UN resolutions condemning it,” he concluded.

Michael Malarkey joins “The Watchdog” host Lowkey today to discuss his career in show business, his political activism, and the difficulties of working in an industry so intertwined with the national security state. “It’s fear-based for a lot of people,” he told Lowkey, explaining why more people in Hollywood do not speak up about their political convictions. “I think we’re at this very interesting and important place in our human history, where we are awakening,” he added, expressing hope that there is now a possibility for building organizations that can fight for a better world.

Born in Lebanon in the wake of the Israeli attack on the country, Malarkey comes from a mixed family: his father is Irish American, his maternal grandfather was born in Nazareth in Palestine. He began his career in theater in London but is perhaps best known for his character, Enzo St. John, on “The Vampire Diaries.” He also plays Sam Foster in “The Oath” and Captain Michael Quinn in “Project Blue Book.”

An accomplished musician, he has also released two albums: “Mongrels” in 2017 and “Graveracer” last year.

Malarkey and Lowkey discuss his upbringing, how Hollywood is a major purveyor of racism, and the link between the weapons industry and the film industry, two of America’s biggest exports.

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