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Demi Lovato apologizes after accepting free trip to Israel in exchange for social media posts

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After backlash over a trip to Israel, singer and actress Demi Lovato apologized for offending anyone and implied that the visit was gifted to her in exchange for complimentary social media posts about the country. Lovato reportedly received $150,000 for the trip, with some of it coming from the Jerusalem Ministry. While it is unclear who organized the tour, Lovato recently hired a new pro-Israel manager who has been honored by an anti-BDS organization.

On October 1 the singer posted a series of photos from Israel, including one where she’s being baptized in the Jordan River. “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,” she wrote under the post, “I’ve never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God…something I’ve been missing for a few years now. 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.”

According to Ynet’s Ran Boker, Lovato was paid over $150,000 to visit the country. Some of that money apparently came from the Jerusalem Ministry with additional funds secured by private benefactors. While Lovato asserted that the trip was “free”, this means at least some of it was financed by Israeli taxpayers.

The posts prompted a deluge of pro-Palestine comments by social media users. After the backlash, Lovato deleted them all and turned off the comment option on the photos. She then shared an apology in the form of an Instagram Story, which was quickly deleted:

I’m extremely frustrated. 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. With that being said, I’m sorry if I hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention. Sometimes people present you with opportunities and no one tells you the potential backlash you could face in return. This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT and now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry. Sorry I’m not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience. Going against all advice right now and apologizing because it feels right to me and I’d rather get in trouble for being authentic to myself, than staying quiet to please other people. I love my fans, all of them, from all over.

“US pop star Demi Lovato has apologized after being recruited to whitewash Israel’s far-right apartheid regime,” tweeted the official account of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), “…Like apartheid South Africa, Israel and its lobby groups spend millions to art-wash oppression.”

It’s difficult to know who Lovato is referring to when she asserts that she went “against all advice” to apologize, but in May she hired Scooter Braun as her new manager. Just a couple months after the hire, Braun made headlines for being the subject of a scathing social media post by Taylor Swift who accused him of “incessant, manipulative bullying.”

Last year, Braun was honored as an “Ambassador of Peace” at the annual Creative Community for Peace (CCFP) gala. CCFP is an anti-BDS organization and a front for the right-wing pro-Israel group StandWithUs. The organization encourages musical acts to visit Israel against the protests of BDS activists who criticize such performances. “The best way to change the world is to have an open, honest dialogue for peace and understanding on all sides,” Braun told Variety at the time.

Braun has been vocal for the pro-Israel support in the past. After the United Nations adopted a Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity in December 2016, Braun tweeted, “Simple…I stand with peace and I stand with Israel.”

Michael Arria

Michael Arria is the U.S. correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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18 Responses

  1. eljay on October 3, 2019, 12:11 pm

    … Nations adopted a Security Council Resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity in December 2016, Braun tweeted, “Simple…I stand with peace and I stand with Israel.” …

    Like jon s and every other Zionist, Braun:
    – stands with Zionist “peace” and with Israel; but
    – does not stand with justice, accountability and equality in I-P even if, hypocritically, he might stand for it elsewhere.

    • jon s on October 3, 2019, 2:52 pm

      I confess that I’ve never heard of Demi Lovato or Scooter Braun.
      But it’s nice that eljay thinks of me even though I haven’t commented…

      • eljay on October 3, 2019, 3:35 pm

        || jon s: … But it’s nice that eljay thinks of me even though I haven’t commented… ||

        Braun reminded me of you. Not sure that you should flatter yourself over that.

    • Misterioso on October 4, 2019, 9:46 am

      Further evidence that a pro-Palestinian shift is occurring within the ranks of American and worldwide youth:

      https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/demi-lovato-apology-israel-trip-instagram_n_5d95f2d2e4b0f5bf79704cc5?ri18n=true

      “Demi Lovato Sorry About Taking Free Israel Trip For Instagram Posts After Backlash”

      “The singer said the vacation was a ‘spiritual experience for me not a political statement’ in a now-deleted post.

      “Demi Lovato is apologizing for accepting a free trip to Israel after facing backlash for posting about her ‘absolutely magical’ vacation on Instagram.

      “The ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ singer made no mention of the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict in a series of social media posts shared earlier this week, in which she detailed her experience of being baptized in the Jordan River and visiting various sites in the country.

      “Many on social media believed Lovato was giving support to the discriminatory oppressive policies of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people despite her recent plea that it was ‘spiritual experience for me NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT.’

      “After disabling the comments on her account, an ‘extremely frustrated’ Lovato explained her stance in a now-deleted message, in which the singer reveals she accepted the trip ‘in exchange for a few posts’ on social media.

      “’No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone,’ she wrote on Instagram Stories on Wednesday. ‘With that being said, I’m sorry if I hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention. Sometimes people present you with opportunities and no one tells you the potential backlash you could face in return.’

      “Fans of the singer aired their disappointment online, with many calling Lovato’s credibility as an activist into question.

      “’This really disappointed me,’ one fan wrote. ‘Demi really should educate herself better on the conflict between Israel and Palestine.’

      “’How does Demi call her self an ‘activist’ or whatever but not have a view point of Palestine and Israel,’ another added. ‘I understand not knowing the situation in detail since it’s very complex, but she’s like ‘oh, nobody told me about what’s probably the biggest geographical and political conflict in the world.’

      “Lovato went on to apologize in her post, while noting that many advised her not to speak out on the issue.

      “’Now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry,’ the Disney Channel alum continued. ‘Sorry I’m not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience.’

      “She concluded: ‘I’d rather get in trouble for being authentic to myself, than staying quiet to please other people. I love my fans, all of them, from all over.’

      “In her original posts, Lovato recounted her experience visiting the Western Wall, the country’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, and the disability organization Shalva.

      “But she appeared to be most moved by her baptism in the Jordan River, writing that she’s ‘never felt more renewed in my life.’

      “’This trip has been so important for my well-being, my heart and my soul,’ she wrote at the time. ‘I’m grateful for the memories made and the opportunity to be able to fill the God-sized hole in my heart. Thank you for having me Israel.’”

  2. ckg on October 3, 2019, 1:36 pm

    Demi Lovato: “This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT…”

    Desmond Tutu: ““If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

  3. just on October 3, 2019, 5:23 pm

    “…Sorry I’m not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience. …”

    Narcissistic moron. No mention of the amount of the lucre she’s already received or that she anticipated by supporting the apartheid state, either…

  4. spadepiccolo on October 3, 2019, 6:39 pm

    “While it is unclear who organized the tour, Lovato recently hired a new pro-Israel manager who has been honored by an anti-BDS organization.”

    Not unlike every senator’s chief of staff.

  5. JWalters on October 3, 2019, 8:28 pm

    It makes total sense than an anti-BDS organization would hire a “bully” as their “Ambassador of Peace”.

  6. RoHa on October 4, 2019, 2:01 am

    OT, but it might as well be here.

    Old MW lags will recall that I have frequently suggested that Israel uses blackmail to ensure support, so they will not be surprised by my giving a link to this article about the connections between Cap’ n Bob, Epstein, and Mossad.

    Charming picture of Bob and Sharon chatting.

    http://www.unz.com/article/former-israeli-intel-official-claims-jeffrey-epstein-ghislaine-maxwell-worked-for-israeli-intel/#respond

    • Mooser on October 4, 2019, 12:17 pm

      They made the desert go va-va-voom!

    • Citizen on October 4, 2019, 2:23 pm

      I notice, after a brief deluge on the subject, the mainstream cable tv news show channels have been silent on the Epstein case and that his female pimp, Maxwell, daughter of a highly influential Mossad agent (who “fell off his boat”), is roaming around the world scot free, instead of sitting in jail awaiting a grand jury hearing.

  7. RoHa on October 4, 2019, 2:03 am

    “No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone. ”

    Dim, ignorant, and oblivious are clearly no barrier to being a pop star.

    • John Douglas on October 5, 2019, 9:39 pm

      I am out of my depth here, nor having a clue who Demi Lovato is. But there is a good chance that she is dim and oblivious about Palestine/Israel and that, as a result, she was taken advantage of by less dim but unscrupulous people. My inclination is to give the babe in the woods a break, until further notice.

  8. hai_bar on October 4, 2019, 3:02 pm

    “I’ve never felt such a sense of spirituality or connection to God…something I’ve been missing for a few years now. 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.”

    I wonder if she passed by Betlahem to check how the connection is there, you know, where Jesus was born. I wonder if she – by coincidence – had to pass through the (300 checkpoint) or Qalandyia’s, connection to God is high as fuck in there.

  9. DaBakr on October 5, 2019, 2:41 am

    She evidently took back the apology and won’t discuss it anymore. Is she really that important a celebrity that warrants this attention or just another little skirmish soon to be forgotten? Obviously I am to old to name anything she does or sings but it’s possible I heard her without knowing. I’m sure if I did I wasnt that impressed

    • lonely rico on October 6, 2019, 6:57 pm

      > DaBakr

      just another little skirmish soon to be forgotten?

      That’s it DaB.
      Go back to your sweet dreams of Zionist dominance, cruelty, and destruction.
      With God and Uncle Sam on your side, everything should be all right.

      But, the latter is starting to wobble; the former doesn’t seem to be paying attention.

      One little skirmish, then another and another and another …
      Not to be forgotten. Oh no.

  10. Ellen on October 5, 2019, 11:37 pm

    Sorry I’m not more educated. At least she understands she (and I have never heard of her before) is utterly clueless.

    It is getting harder. There is now a need to to the low information set to decorate with.

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