Demi Lovato apologized for her trip to Israel, didn’t know it would be controversial

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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 💗

A post shared by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on

I do not follow any Abrahamic tradition when it comes to religion or spirituality, but I’d still love to go to Israel one day and see some of the religious and historical sites and experience the Tel Aviv nightlife and all of that. I would imagine that many people would love to make a trip to Israel for various religious and historical and social reasons. Demi Lovato was one of those people – she was offered a free trip to Israel in exchange for some social media posts, and since she didn’t have anything else to do and she fancied a free trip to Israel, she went and did the Instagrams and everything was fine. Except everything is political these days and of course an American pop star doing the work of the Israeli Tourism Board will be seen as a political act. And so Demi apologized.

The singer returned to the United States earlier this week after what she described as a “magical” journey traveling around Israel. Lovato opened up about a number of things she experienced, including being baptized in the Jordan river and her somber visit to Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, in Jerusalem. However, her posts also faced a lot of heated criticism from many who accused the singer of promoting or supporting Israel amid the country’s long-standing conflict with Palestine, and insinuated that the singer’s posts were meant to represent a political stance on the conflict.

Lovato explained in the lengthy post shared to her Instagram story that she feels “extremely frustrated” by the recent controversy, and that she feels bad for unwittingly upsetting or offending anyone.

“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. “With that being said, I’m sorry if I’ve hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention.” Lovato went on to claim that no one had told her about the “potential backlash” that her trip to the nation, and her subsequent posts sharing her photos from her travels, could generate.

“This was meant to be a spiritual experience for me, NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT,” Lovato stressed. “Now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry.” The singer also told her fans that she’s “sorry I’m not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience.”

[From Entertainment Tonight]

I’m including her statement (which was posted to her IG Stories so only her followers could read it) below, and some of her Instagrams from Israel are also included. My take is that… Demi absolutely should have known that everything is garbage and everything has political implications, especially in the Middle East? So it’s funny for her to argue “No one told me there would be anything wrong!” Like, pick up a book. Watch the news. That being said, there are many people who just want to visit Israel because there ARE so many things to do as a tourist. And trust me, if Demi didn’t know the trip would be “controversial” – lmao – then she clearly didn’t make the trip as some kind of political statement about Palestinians. She was a prop, absolutely. But I would say she was more of a prop for Israeli tourism than Israeli politics.

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33 Responses to “Demi Lovato apologized for her trip to Israel, didn’t know it would be controversial”

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  1. Ctgirl says:

    Demi needs to recognize that just because someone is offended by your actions it doesn’t mean that they are right or that you are wrong. Being offended has become the modern version of the Stasi. If you do something that someone doesn’t agree with then they will hound you on social media. It’s ridiculous.

    • stepup says:

      Not jumping down your back, but is “offended” really the right word?

      Depending on the context, it can be a loaded word that connotes a personal grievance.

      But when people point out downsides to something — or express their frustration with something, or elucidate biases or prejudices or human rights issues — they’re not always “offended.” Typically, they’re just shinning a light on something that they feel needs remedying.

      I’m not speaking for all. I’m not saying that being offended by her trip is bad. Some people may be. Just making a general comment about the word “offended” and our (collective) use of it in today’s society.

    • Fran says:

      @CTGIRL – just wondering about what you mean with “being offended has become the new version of the Stasi”. You do know what the Stasi was? I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      • Ctgirl says:

        I used the term Stasi in the context of people “reporting” each other on social media when someone does something offensive/disagreeable to another. Social media is the new secret/anonymous police. So yes, I know what the Stasi was.

  2. Michael says:

    I hope she brushes this off. There is always somebody who wants to piss in your Cheerios. She did nothing wrong and I would have loved to get a free trip to Israel too even though I loathe their current leader

  3. Erinn says:

    I really really want this girl to find a friend who will be honest with her, and not just a yes man, user or whatever. Someone who can give her a good balance of support, be a sounding board, but do honesty and tough love when it’s needed.

  4. Fiona says:

    It’s hard to imagine to that she’s so uninformed she didn’t know this would be controversial? Christian Palestinians can’t even be baptized in the Jordan River!!! She was used as propaganda and it clearly worked for Israel. For everyone saying it’s not a big deal, consider the side of Palestinians, they can’t even go on their own land, so for a foreigner to be invited to visit that land as propaganda, is going to be upsetting.

    It’s “funny” though, if she had just paid for the trip and hadn’t posted about it on social media, no one would’ve really known. Prior to her sponsored posts, there were about 5 images on Twitter that had 5 likes showing she was in Israel.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      +1000

    • Whitecat says:

      Not to mention her baptism took place at the Jordan river, at the site where it is in the Jordan valley aka West Bank, aka considered occupied Palestinian territory by international law and ALL countries (yes including the states). Calling it Israel and failing to mention that it is Palestinian is not only naive and wrong, but a political statement (because Netanyahu wants to illegally annex the Jordan valley – he said so himself 3 weeks ago). The fact that she is portraying the West Bank as Israel is sooo problematic on so many levels.

    • Dani says:

      Her being baptized in the Jordan river means nothing to Israel because Israel is Jewish state that practices Judaism. I’m not disputing the area in which she was baptized in being Palestine but this means literally nothing to the state of Israel.

    • Dee says:

      Thank you Fiona. I’m incapable of forming a polite comment at the moment in order not to offend anyone.
      But people pretending that this isn’t offensive are getting on my nerve.

      Whitecat, excellent point.

    • Almaz says:

      Thank you Fiona! I work with Doctors Without Borders and people don’t know the real
      Israel. It’s not just Muslim Palestinians that suffer, Christians do as well and Demi was absolutely propaganda.

  5. Spicecake38 says:

    Demi has just come through a terrible time in her life where she was drinking and using overdosed and nearly died.She says she is now sober.I don’t know her business but if she’s a Christian or religious at all she very likely focused on God/a higher power while getting sober/healthier and if she was offered a trip to the Holy Land I’m sure she was glad to accept .I know many christians(myself included)who would love a chance to be baptized in the Jordan.
    If Demi was used as a prop then that’s sad and it’s on the people who exploited her beliefs/spiritual needs.
    I really don’t think this young woman meant any offense to anyone and she should not have to apologize for doing something meaningful to her.

  6. Ann says:

    If I were Demi I would have made like De Niro. Why on earth would she feel the need to apologize? I don’t think it seems genuine. She admitted she is uneducated about why this offended people but she’s still apologizing. Feels more like groveling than a sincere apology, which would make sense because she really has nothing to apologize for.

    • Spicecake38 says:

      Yes,if you don’t know why you’re apologizing or what for then it comes off as insincere anyway which could actually seem patronizing to those who were offended to begin with.

  7. SKF says:

    Israel is a complicated place. Absolutely incredible, worth a visit (more than one!). If going though, I would suggest also visiting the West Bank. Also, head to Jordan too.

  8. JanetFerber says:

    This to me is sad and reminds me of her song with the lyrics, “You’re nothing if nobody loves you” (paraphrase) and begins with, “I’m sorry for what I said.” She’s a very insecure young woman who needs everyone’s approval. I hate that she apologized. Live your life, Demi. You did nothing wrong.

  9. Amy Too says:

    I find it slightly contradictory that she’s saying the trip was meant to be solely a spiritual journey for herself but that it was also a paid advertising gig.

    • Wilady says:

      It can be both, they aren’t mutually exclusive. She was offered a trip that she accepted, because she saw the opportunity in having a spiritual connection and finding meaning in it, and it meant a lot to her in the end.

  10. Cindy says:

    I’m not getting the connection between going for a touristic visit to Israel and supporting their government. Does that mean all the tourists in Las Vegas, NY and LA are Trump supporters?

    • Amy Too says:

      It’s because she’s being paid to advertise for Israel. She didn’t just go there of her own accord and post about it. She was invited to come, presumably by the current Israeli government’s tourism or PR department, and was paid to advertise her trip with the purpose of bringing more tourism (and thus money) into the country.

    • Whitecat says:

      Her pic is of her getting baptized in the Jordan river st the Jordan valley – aka West Bank aka occupied Palestinian territory. The fact that she got paid to do this trip by the government of Israel AND the fact that she portrayed the West Bank as Israel is a political statement.

    • lisa says:

      Totally agree, Cindy! I just returned from visiting Israel for the first time and learned so much about the people and the conflicts from BOTH sides. Yes, there are Palestinians living EVERYWHERE and they are happy to discuss the conflict in terms that are meaningful and not filtered by our American media. Everyone should go and experience The Holy Land – it will blow your mind. In Tel Aviv there was a mosque on every corner (and an Armenian church, Roman Catholic church, orthodox, synagogues…), it was a very spiritual experience for me and educational and I don’t mind giving Israel my tourist dollars, not one bit.

      • Dee says:

        Lisa there are no mosques in tel aviv, let alone in every corner. There are mosques in Yaffa. Which is connected to tel aviv and have mostly Palestinians. Whose number is been reduced due to gentrification.
        By the way did you hear about the law that was newly implemented that fines mosques if the call for prayer is too loud? You know, during your lovely trip.

  11. Cay says:

    Oh man. I have really strong feelings about Christians going to Israel to find their religion.

  12. Bunny says:

    I wish she hadn’t apologized.

    Intent matters. Going as a tourist or as a religious person isn’t the same as going for political reasons. She wasn’t there to make her own political point.

    She may have been used politically, but that isn’t her fault.

    She’s had a hard time of it, and I hate to think of her feeling guilty over this.

    Again, intent matters.

    • ff says:

      it isn’t her fault? she accepted a fully paid trip in exchange for positive instagram posts!
      they used her for propaganda and she is too dumb to see it

      • Lily says:

        It’s not propaganda. Many countries that depend on tourism offer free trips to celebrities and bloggers in exchange for exposure. They didn’t tell her what to write and they didn’t mandate her itinerary. But come on, she’s a grown woman. If she accepted a free trip, she should have done some research and behaved with more sensitivity. At least, she could have set aside a few hours to meet with various groups working to bridge the gap. The Palestinians have a political party in the Israeli parliament and no one restricts political speech in Israel, so it’s not like she would have been going underground.

  13. Lala11_7 says:

    I wish folks were more educated….

    Period….

    Then should would have known…that this is a horrifying subject that is VERY polarizing…and she could have did the free trip and also met with Palestinians…including some wonderful organizations in the Gaza area that do the necessary constant work to bridge the harrowing gap between Israel and Palestine ….

    But…that’s what I would have done anyway….

  14. Lily says:

    If she accepted a free trip, she should have gotten educated and then set aside some time in her trip to meet with Israeli and Palestinian groups who work to resolve the conflict. She didn’t have to meet with Hamas and other terrorists/extremists. There are MANY organizations on the ground, both Israeli and Palestinian, who work towards a two state solution and just want their two lands to live next to each other in peace. If she went as a tourist on her own accord, that’s a different story and she can do whatever she wants. Israel is an incredible place and I would go back in a heartbeat. It’s literally nothing like what our media likes to portray it as. But if you’re a celebrity and you accept a free trip (the Israeli government does that a lot to draw in tourists… so what, every country who depends on tourism does that), you need to educate yourself and behave responsibly and accordingly.

  15. Disappointed says:

    This post is really sad. The Palestinian people are literally refugees in their own country. They are forbidden to go anywhere without constant harassment at checkpoints, they are forbidden from their own holy sites, they have no medicine, water, food. When their children throw rocks, they are beaten, shot at, and bombed by the Israeli govt. Netanyahu is continuing to take more and more of whatever little land they have left. It is genocide. So there is no difference between ” Israeli tourism” and “Israeli politics.” The Palestinian people are forgotten, and that is so sad.