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Ben Stiller: Why I Can’t Stay Silent About the Suffering in Israel and Gaza

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由本·斯蒂勒 2024 年 6 月 20 日上午 7:00 EDT
Stiller is an actor, filmmaker, and humanitarian

What a time we are all living through. Like so many people, I have been watching the awful events happening in the Middle East over the last year and trying to determine how to react. I have been seeing the brazen antisemitic incidents in my own city and feeling a mix of anger, fear, and astonishment that we are at this place in our country. Saying nothing at this point feels like I am betraying my own conscience. But what do you say? How does one express the complicated and very real feelings in this scary world of social media, where it seems any sentiment opens you to online vitriol from one side or another? The issues we are dealing with are so nuanced and complicated that short statements cannot in any way express fully what I want to say from my heart. As a public advocate for refugees, I’ve been struggling to reconcile my silence with that work. Please bear with me as I explain. And to be clear, what I say here is my personal view, not that of any organization–it’s just how I feel.

I was given the opportunity in 2016 to work with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution. The agency was created to help the millions who fled the Second World War and leads international action to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless people, ensuring that everyone has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge from violence, persecution, or war at home.
2016 年,我获得了与联合国难民署(UNHCR)合作的机会,这是一个致力于拯救生命、保护权利并为因冲突和迫害而被迫逃离家园的人们建设更美好未来的全球组织。该机构成立是为了帮助数百万逃离第二次世界大战的人,并领导国际行动保护难民、被迫流离社区和无国籍人士,确保每个人都有权寻求庇护,远离暴力、迫害或战争的安全避难所。

With UNHCR I have visited refugees and those impacted by war and violence in Lebanon, Guatemala, Jordan, Poland, and Ukraine. I visited Lebanon just before the eighth anniversary of the Syrian conflict and met refugee families struggling to survive, among the millions living on the razor’s edge. I went to Kyiv after the full-scale Russian invasion and talked to people whose lives have been upended by this senseless war. I’ve advocated for refugees at the UN and in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, imploring the U.S. government not to look away from this global humanitarian crisis. I say this not to toot my own horn, but to explain that for me, if I am to speak out about these issues in these places, I can’t ignore the crisis that is front and center in the world right now.

I am Jewish. I’m also half Irish. My father’s mother came to the United States as a refugee from Poland. His father’s grandfather came from Ukraine, where over 100,000 Jewish people lost their lives in the ethnic pogroms that preceded the great horror of the Holocaust by just two decades. My mother’s grandparents came from Ireland seeking a better life. They arrived in New York with a surplus of hope and not much else.
我是犹太人。我也有一半爱尔兰血统。我父亲的母亲作为波兰难民来到美国。他父亲的祖父来自乌克兰,在大屠杀的前两十年,有超过 10 万犹太人在种族暴动中丧生。我母亲的祖父母来自爱尔兰,寻求更好的生活。他们带着满腹希望抵达纽约,却没有太多其他东西。

My dad served in the U.S. Army at the end of World War II. He met my mom and they got married–he was Jewish, she was Catholic. At the time that was an issue. They dealt with judgment from both sides of their families and the outside world. They turned that tension into humor and based their stand-up comedy act on their ethnic differences, which brought them together – and brought them success.
我爸爸在二战结束时在美国陆军服役。他遇到了我妈妈,他们结婚了 - 他是犹太人,她是天主教徒。那时候这是一个问题。他们在家人和外界的双重压力下应对。他们把这种紧张转化为幽默,并以他们的种族差异为基础,开展了他们的喜剧表演,这让他们走到了一起 - 也带来了成功。

My mom converted to Judaism when they married. Ours was not a religious household, but we learned the traditions of inclusion and tolerance. After my Bar Mitzvah, I didn’t really go back to synagogue too often. But I always felt connected to my heritage, both Irish and Jewish, and valued the bonds I saw formed by both sides of my family. Eventually they came together through my parents’ love for each other. It was a palpable and beautiful thing I experienced as a child. As a kid growing up surrounded by that love, in New York City in the ‘70s, I never really experienced antisemitism. Where we find ourselves now is a place I never thought I would be.

Like so many Jews I grieve for those who suffered in the barbaric Hamas attack on October 7 and for those who have suffered as a result of those atrocities. My heart aches for the families who lost loved ones to this heinous act of terrorism and for those anxiously waiting these long months for the return of the hostages still in captivity. It’s a nightmare. I also grieve for the innocent people in Gaza who have lost their lives in this conflict and those suffering through that awful reality now.
像许多犹太人一样,我为在 10 月 7 日野蛮的哈马斯袭击中受害的人们感到悲痛,也为那些因这些暴行而受苦的人们感到悲伤。我的心为那些失去亲人的家庭感到痛苦,因为这种恐怖主义行为,也为那些焦急等待这些长时间被囚禁的人质回归的人们感到痛苦。这是一场噩梦。我也为加沙的无辜民众感到悲伤,他们在这场冲突中失去了生命,现在正经历着那种可怕的现实。

I detest war, but what Hamas did was unconscionable and reprehensible. The hostages have to be freed. Terrorism must be named and fought by all people of conscience on the planet. There is no excuse for it under any circumstances.  

I stand with the Israeli people and their right to live in peace and safety. At the same time, I don’t agree with all of the Israeli government’s choices on how they are conducting the war. I want the violence to end, and the innocent Palestinian people affected by the humanitarian crisis that has resulted to receive the lifesaving aid they need. And I know that many in Israel share this sentiment.

I believe, as many people in Israel and around the world do, in the need for a two-state solution, one that ensures that the Israeli people can live in peace and safety alongside a homeland for the Palestinian people that provides them the same benefits.

I also see a troubling conflation in criticism of the actions of the Israeli government with denunciations of all Israelis and Jewish people. And as a result, we are seeing an undeniable rise in global antisemitism. I am seeing it myself, on the streets of the city I grew up in. It isn’t right and must be denounced.

Antisemitism must be condemned whenever it happens and wherever it exists. As should Islamophobia and bigotry of all kinds. There is a frightening amnesia for history in the air. We must remind ourselves that we can only manifest a more hopeful, just, and peaceful future by learning from the past.
反犹太主义必须在发生时和存在的任何地方受到谴责。 伊斯兰恐惧症和各种偏见也应该受到谴责。 空气中存在着令人恐惧的历史健忘症。 我们必须提醒自己,只有通过从过去学习,我们才能实现更有希望、更公正和更和平的未来。

Obviously I am no politician or diplomat. I have no solutions for these world conflicts and claim to offer none. I think I, like so many people, am struggling with how to process this all. But as an advocate for displaced people, I do believe this war must end. As I write this, there are about 120 million people all over the world who have been displaced by conflicts. In the Middle East, in Ukraine, Sudan, and many other countries. They all deserve to live in safety and peace. The human suffering must end. We must demand this of our leaders. Peace is the only path.
显然,我不是政治家或外交官。我对这些世界冲突没有解决方案,也不声称提供任何解决方案。我认为,像许多人一样,我正在努力处理这一切。但作为被迫流离失所人群的倡导者,我确信这场战争必须结束。当我写这篇文章时,全世界约有 1.2 亿人因冲突而流离失所。在中东、乌克兰、苏丹和许多其他国家。他们都应该生活在安全和和平中。人类的苦难必须结束。我们必须要求我们的领导人做到这一点。和平是唯一的道路。

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.
TIME Ideas 主持世界领先的声音,就新闻、社会和文化事件发表评论。我们欢迎外部贡献。所表达的观点不一定代表 TIME 编辑的观点。