At the parade, Jackson tweeted a picture of himself cutting a low profile in sunglasses and a hat with a crowd of school children in the background.
Celebrate Israel Parade in NY today pic.twitter.com/AIUVMRYou5— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) June 1, 2014
The response from Jackson's 3.74 million followers was predictably polarized.
@SamuelLJackson Uh. Why would you support something like this? Israel is an apartheid state.— Natalie Bussjaeger (@LittleJohnWrite) June 1, 2014
@SamuelLJackson wow, pretty sad to hear that you support an apartheid state. You of all people.— Margo_Channing (@Margo_Channing) June 1, 2014
@SamuelLJackson Wow, and I admired you :( Unfollow it is then....— Emir Selman (@EmirSelman16) June 1, 2014
@SamuelLJackson the wall in east Germany was less that 1/8 the size they are installing in east Jerusalem. What pride can they have?— Rich and Willing. (@RichAndWilling) June 1, 2014
Jackson knows a thing or two about real racism: he was educated in segregated schools in the South, marched for civil rights and was present at the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. Supporting the most open, free society in the Middle East must have come naturally for him.
While Jackson's critics were many, others tweeted their support and thanks at Jackson.
@SamuelLJackson Thanks for showing up. You. Dah. Bestest. :)— Rashi Rosenzweig (@Rashir) June 1, 2014
@SamuelLJackson thanks for the support!— nerdavid (@nerdavid) June 1, 2014
This is not the first time Jackson has expressed his political beliefs, which are liberal on most issues. He campaigned for then-Sen. Barack Obama before the 2008 Democratic primary and says he is Ready for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Nor is this the first time he has courted controversy: in the same breath that he endorsed Clinton, Jackson said, "those motherf***ers [Republicans] would rather see the country go down in flames than let the times change." Of his treacherous character Stephen in the gore-flecked film "Django Unchained," Jackson said, "he believes in slavery ... [he has] the same moral compass as [conservative Supreme Court Justice] Clarence Thomas.”
Like the mercurial roles he plays, however, at times Jackson goes off-script. Following the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., Jackson said, "I don't think [stopping gun violence] is about more gun control. I grew up in the South with guns everywhere, and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren't taught the value of life."
Jackson joins a growing list of celebrities who have expressed support for Israel lately. Earlier this year, Scarlet Johansson was pressured to resign from an Oxfam ambassadorship for appearing in an advertising campaign for the Israeli company SodaStream, which runs a plant in the West Bank. Last week, Justin Timberlake was pictured praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem; he drew fire from critics for including the hashtag "#Israel" in a tweet about the trip.