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Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp addresses controversy over Israel-Gaza views after backlash

Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp addresses controversy over Israel-Gaza views after backlash

Noah Schnapp has given some insight into his stance on the current Middle East conflict in a video addressed to his fans.

The 19-year-old Stranger Things actor sparked significant backlash in November after a video featuring him showed those around him displaying stickers that read “Zionism is sexy” amid the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

Schnapp, who is Jewish, has been outspoken in his support for Israel since the Hamas attack on 7 October, and throughout the continued bombing of Gaza that has followed.

On Tuesday (16 January), Schnapp shared a new clip in which he discussed “everything that’s been going on” and expressed a more nuanced take on the situation.

“I feel like my thoughts and beliefs have been so far misconstrued beyond anything even close to what I believe, and I wanted to just state from my heart how I feel,” he said to the camera.

“I only want peace and safety and security for all innocent people affected by this conflict.”

The actor, who is known mostly for his portrayal of Will Byers in the Netflix sci-fi horror series, continued by expressing that he’d spoken with “friends of Palestinian background” and “learned a lot” from his interactions.

Noah Schnapp discusses Middle East conflict on TikTok (TikTok / Noah Schnapp)
Noah Schnapp discusses Middle East conflict on TikTok (TikTok / Noah Schnapp)

“One of the takeaways that I’ve had is that we all want the same things – for those innocent people still being held hostage in Gaza to be returned to their families, and equally hope to an end to the loss of innocent life in Palestine. So many of those people [are] women and children, and it’s horrible to see.

Schnapp continued: “I think anyone with any ounce of humanity would hope to an end to the hostility on both sides. I stand against any killing of any innocent people.”

Previously, Schnapp expressed his disagreement with any perspective that didn’t completely side with Israel. A post on Instagram read: “You either stand with Israel or you stand with terrorism. It shouldn’t be a difficult choice. Shame on you.”

Later in the video, the actor expressed his hope that Israelis and Palestinians will be able to “live harmoniously together in that region”, before appealing for more “understanding” in online discussions.

“I hope for 2024, online, to see people being a little more understanding and compassionate, and recognise that we’re all human, regardless of our race, our ethnicity, of our background, of our country of birth, even our sexuality, of anything,” Schnapp said.

“We are all human, and we’re all the same, and we should all love each other for that, and support each other, and stand together for humanity and peace.”

This article was amended on 30 January 2024. It previously inaccurately stated that Mr Schnapp had shared a video that showed him holding pro-Zionist stickers. However, Mr Schnapp featured in but did not share the video, and he did not personally handle the stickers.