Mark Ruffalo apologizes for saying Israel was committing ‘genocide’ against Palestinians

A man with a scruffy beard in a tuxedo
Mark Ruffalo, “Avengers” star, is fielding both praise and heat over a tweet about Israel.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Mark Ruffalo apologized in a tweet Monday night for suggesting on social media that Israel was committing “genocide” during the 11 days of recent fighting between Israelis and Hamas.

The “Avengers” actor, whose social media are effectively a livestream of progressive causes with work-related notices sprinkled in, didn’t get specific as to which posts he was talking about. But he appeared to be concerned about rising rates of antisemitic attacks and vandalism.

“I have reflected & wanted to apologize for posts during the recent Israel/Hamas fighting that suggested Israel is committing ‘genocide,’” Ruffalo wrote.


“It’s not accurate, it’s inflammatory, disrespectful & is being used to justify antisemitism here & abroad,” he continued. “Now is the time to avoid hyperbole.”
Responses to his tweet ran the gamut, but included multiple posts from supporters of Israel and of the Palestinians either thanking him or expressing deep disappointment in his change of heart. “Who got to you?,” one Twitter user asked, questioning Ruffalo’s mention of Hamas rather than Palestinians in describing the two sides of the battle.

“As the violence between Israel and Hamas continues to escalate, we are witnessing a dangerous and drastic surge in anti-Jewish hate right here at home,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement issued last week, right before a cease-fire agreement was struck.

“We are tracking acts of harassment, vandalism and violence as well as a torrent of online abuse. It’s happening around the world — from London to Los Angeles, from France to Florida, in big cities like New York and in small towns, and across every social media platform.”

‘[Much] is complicated here. But some things are pretty simple,’ John Oliver said during a ‘Last Week Tonight’ segment on Israel and the Palestinians.

May 17, 2021

The recent fighting in Israel left more than 250 people dead, most of them Palestinian, according to the Associated Press.

Ruffalo retweeted a note from “Frozen” star Josh Gad on Sunday in which the latter actor said, “It never stops breaking my heart how easily antisemitism comes to so many. And how difficult it seemingly is for people to speak out a against it. I will stand up against bigotry of all kind from Islamiphobia to racism. Wish others would do the same when it comes to anti-Semitism.”

On Saturday, Ruffalo tagged a tweet to Jack Dorsey urging the Twitter founder to fight antisemitism and anti-Muslim propaganda on the social media platform, echoing a tweet sent to Dorsey by actor Sacha Baron Cohen, who wanted the hashtag #HitlerWasRight taken down.


But Ruffalo has also tweeted support in recent weeks for a petition that calls on Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to put sanctions in place against Israel, which the petition accused of committing apartheid against Palestinians.

Los Angeles public officials gathered Thursday outside City Hall to condemn recent attacks against members of the Jewish community.

May 20, 2021

“1500 Palestinians face expulsion in #Jerusalem. 200 protesters have been injured. 9 children have been killed. Sanctions on South Africa helped free its black people - it’s time for sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians. Join the call. #SheikhJarrah,” Ruffalo wrote May 11, tweeting a link to the petition.

He followed up four days later with a similar tweet, saying, “Over 30 children killed. Mothers dead. Hundreds injured. We are on the brink of a full-scale war. Sanctions on South Africa helped free its Black people - it’s time for sanctions on Israel to free Palestinians. Join the call. #GazaUnderAttack.”

Remi Franklin, a jujitsu practitioner and security volunteer, stood guard on La Brea Avenue on Saturday afternoon as the neighborhood’s highly visible Orthodox Jewish population made their way home from Shabbat services.

May 23, 2021

Both those tweets remained live as of Tuesday morning. And Ruffalo also tweeted last week, “‘Equality, human rights, and prosperity for all from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.’ The fight for equality happening here in the USA should be the guiding principle of our values in the Middle East and for our allies abroad.”

The phrase “from the river to the sea” is often used as a rallying cry by those who would establish a Palestinian state in place of Israel, according to Jewish advocacy organization the American Jewish Committee.