Demi Lovato is the latest celebrity to stir controversy over a trip to Israel.
According to local media, the American pop star and actress was spotted in the occupying state this past week, during a reportedly personal, rather than business-related, trip.
Footage of Lovato's visit has been circulating on social media, with supporters of the Palestinian cause expressing their disappointment in her and criticizing her for turning a blind eye to Israel's ongoing crimes.
The former Disney star has seemingly tried keeping her visit low-key and refrained from sharing social media posts about it, but, naturally, paparazzi still managed to capture a few shots. She was spotted at Jerusalem's Western Wall, a sacred site in Judaism that was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War, last Thursday evening.
In August, American actor, producer, and writer Will Ferrell announced that Lovato was to take part in his upcoming comedy film Eurovision, which is inspired by the Eurovision Song Contest. There has been some speculation that Lovato's visit to Israel could be related to her role in the film, as Eurovision 2019 was held in Tel Aviv earlier this year. However, such claims are yet to be confirmed.
Social media backlash
In light of Israel's oppression of Palestinians, Lovato's trip did not go down well with some social media users:
Fans are disappointed
Arab fans are particularly enraged
This is the Israel Lovato is touring
Palestine's supporters never fail to set the facts straight ... with humor
"Disappointed but not surprised"
Why is this a big deal?
Time and time again, celebrities have gone under fire for visiting or performing in Israel, or supporting the occupying power one way or another. Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement say such acts of direct or indirect endorsement feed into the pinkwashing marketing strategy adopted by Israel to promote positive coverage and stir attention away from its crimes against the Palestinians.
Pro-Israel groups are known to run massive PR campaigns touching every part of the American media landscape, all the while Israel continues to uphold draconian and apartheid policies.
In case we needed a reminder of Israel's constant atrocities, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) World Report 2019 stated the following:
"The Israeli government continued to enforce severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians' human rights; restrict the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip; and facilitate the unlawful transfer of Israeli citizens to settlements in the occupied West Bank."
Earlier this year, a United Nations inquiry confirmed that Israel committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by targeting unarmed children, journalists, and disabled individuals in response to the Great March of Return demonstrations in 2018. According to the report, Israeli forces killed 183 Palestinians at the time, including 35 children.