Gere visited Jerusalem last month to promote his latest movie, “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer”. He’s been a regular visitor to Palestinian territories and Israel over the years, and says that despite no recent major surge in fighting there, “it’s gotten worse.”
“I certainly could feel the change. As we all knew, the occupation is destroying everyone. The Palestinians are becoming more depressed and desperate and with that desperation, most likely, there’s going to be more violence. Because they have no other way of expressing themselves,” Gere said.
“On the Israeli side, you see what’s happening to these young soldiers, and they’re doing things that they don’t want to do, they’re seeing things that they shouldn’t see. And the violence that’s coming from the Israeli side is something that’s destroying Jewish soul — which is by nature incredibly compassionate and forgiving and nurturing. So I see both sides, both cultures, being destroyed in this process. And I don’t see leaders on either side who are speaking the will and the needs of their people.”
Gere spoke is promoting “Norman”, written and directed by Joseph Cedar, who was born in New York and raised in Israel.
The 67-year-old actor said he can’t tell what U.S. President Donald Trump will do about Israel: “He’s winging it in a completely incompetent way from the beginning.”
“I mean, this is such a chaotic administration that we don’t know where they’re going. I mean, he talked about moving the embassy, the U.S. Embassy, to Jerusalem — which is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard of, in the middle of a conflict like this,” Gere said.
“He hired an ambassador, or who is now going to be the ambassador to Israel, who is one of the supporters of settlements. At the same time, he told Netanyahu to slow down on the settlements. I don’t think we know where this is going to settle in terms of a policy. This doesn’t seem to be an administration that starts from policy.”
Gere added that the Trump administration is failing on the use of “subtle behavior, nuanced behaviour, nuanced language.”
In “Norman”, Gere plays Norman Oppenheimer, a mysterious New York businessman who talks his way into increasingly powerful social and business circles before landing at the centre of a scandal involving the prime minister of Israel. The film was released in Israel last month and opens in the U.S. on 14 April and in Greece on 20 April.