Back in the summer, Demi Lovato decided to get real with all of us by Instagramming an unedited bikini picture of her cellulite. But apparently she didn’t love when people got a little too real with her after she posted a few pictures of a complimentary trip to Israel. Demi got called out, and she had to explain herself with a little more effort than simply posting: “To quote myself, Sorry Not Sorry!”
On Tuesday, Demi posted a few pictures to Instagram of a sponsored trip to Israel. She sounded like a travel agent who was trying desperately to move a couple flights to the Holy Land. Demi says she was raised Christian but has Jewish ancestors, and that Israel was “magical” and helped her reconnect with her spiritual self. Pictures included Demi’s baptism in the Jordan River, and visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem. At the end of her post, she thanked Israel for having her.
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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. 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. This trip has been so important for my well-being, my heart, and my soul. 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 💗
She also posted about visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial site.
Demi clearly had a very personal, meaningful trip, but some of her followers didn’t see it as such. E! News says that Demi’s comments started filling up with people who accused her of accepting a free trip to Israel without thinking of the consequences. Many people criticized her for unintentionally picking a side in the Israel-vs-Palestine issue, and implied that her sponsored posts kind of came across as pro-Israel propaganda. She heard the comments, and she responded by sort-of apologizing via an Instagram Story.
“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’ve hurt or offended anyone, that was no 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.
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.”
She also turned off the comments on both posts.
Accepting a free trip to Israel isn’t as big a PR nightmare as, let’s say, smiling in a selfie in Chernobyl. But it’s maybe a little tone-deaf considering the circumstances. The human rights group Human Rights Watch doesn’t exactly love all the tear-gassing and air strikes the Israeli government has been doing to Palestinian protesters. According to the UN, 295 Palestinians were killed and over 29,000 were injured by Israeli forces in 2018. To contrast, 14 Israelis were killed with 137 injured. So maybe she might have wanted to Google the place before the took a paid-for trip there. At the very least, she probably should have rented You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. Although I’ve got a feeling she’s really relieved she never took a selfie wearing a souvenir t-shirt that read: I’ll Falafel Leaving This Place!