Last month, Demi Lovato cooked up a Twitter storm after she was spotted in Israel for a reportedly personal, rather than business-related, trip.
The American pop star and actress was criticized for turning a blind eye to Israel's ongoing crimes against children, journalists, and everyday Palestinian citizens. According to a UN report, Israeli forces killed 183 Palestinians including 35 children during the Great March of Return demonstrations in 2018. And if that's not enough, the illegal status of the state and the stolen land on which it sits on should just about do it.
Still, the former Disney star couldn't fathom where she went wrong. At first, she attempted to keep her visit low-key by avoiding sharing pictures on social media. That plan was tossed in the trash thanks to paparazzi. The criticism came rushing in after photos of her made the rounds online. Her response? Unashamedly declaring her love for the occupying state in a series of photos.
"I am an American singer. I was raised Christian and have Jewish ancestors. When I was offered an amazing opportunity to visit the places I’d read about in the Bible growing up, I said yes. There is something absolutely magical about Israel. I’ve never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God…something I’ve been missing for a few years now," she wrote in an Instagram caption on Wednesday.
"Spirituality is so important to me…to be baptized in the Jordan river – the same place Jesus was baptized – I’ve never felt more renewed in my life ... Thank you for having me, Israel," she added.
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Comments on Lovato's recent Instagram post were disabled, preventing fans and haters from giving their two cents on the matter. The "Sorry Not Sorry" singer has since apologized, explaining that she did not intend to offend anyone by sharing her love for the occupying state.
"I accepted a free trip to Israel in exchange for a few posts. No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone," Lovato wrote in an Instagram Story following the backlash.
"With that being said, I'm sorry if I've hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention."
She then went on to tell people that for her, the trip was meant to be "a spiritual experience" rather than a "political statement." But, visiting the country is a statement in and of itself, no? According to Lovato, she lacked the "education" to see the trip for what it really was.
"Sorry I'm not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience."
But, doesn't "free trip" scream propaganda?
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.
It doesn't take education to know what constitutes violations of human rights and crimes against humanity. The internet is not empathizing with Lovato, nor do they accept her apology it seems.